Costantino returns from injury to excel as part of goalkeeper platoon

first_imgThe question wasn’t directed at any particular player sitting at the podium, but all four chimed in to praise Alyssa Costantino.“Just thankful that she’s OK, that she’s been able to bounce back this fast. It’s only been like 10 days since the accident,” junior attack Alyssa Murray said in the press conference following Syracuse’s win over Louisville last Friday. “She’s been just so positive through the whole experience.”The junior goalkeeper made her return to the playing field a week ago after being involved in a two-car accident on March 31. Costantino suffered a facial injury in the accident, and missed the Orange’s next three games. Last Friday, she recorded five saves in almost 22 minutes of playing time against the Cardinals in her first game back.Costantino’s recovery has allowed No. 5 Syracuse (10-3, 5-0 Big East) to resume its two-goalie system, a platoon the Orange might turn to when it hosts No. 7 Notre Dame (11-1, 5-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.The Fighting Irish rank fourth in the Big East with 13.6 goals per game, and will be the fifth Top-10 team SU has faced this year, but the first in three weeks. ND has netted as many as 22 goals in one game this season, and Costantino could be thrown into the game if sophomore Kelsey Richardson struggles early.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCostantino is nearing 100-percent health, she said, and is working on regaining her hand speed. While she is still getting herself back in the shape she was before the accident, Costantino was overwhelmed by the response she received in her first game back.“Just the support from the team alone was awesome,” Costantino said, “but then from the fans, running onto the field and watching everyone stand up and clap for you was really just heartwarming and just made me thankful that I was able to come back on the field and play.”Costantino also received playing time in Sunday’s thrashing of Cincinnati and Tuesday’s blowout of Cornell, making three saves altogether.Head coach Gary Gait has been satisfied with his goalies’ performances of late. The team hopes for its goalies to save 50 percent of the shots they see, he said, and Costantino and Kelsey Richardson have each reached that clip twice in the last three games.“We want both of our goalies playing well,” Gait said. “We know that we need both of them. It’s nice when they reach their goal, being above 50 percent, so we’re happy about that.”Defender Becca Block said the defense loves playing in front of Costantino and with the netminder’s level of play lately, “it’s like she never left.”But for the rest of the Orange, Costantino’s return is as much a relief off the field than it is on the field.Costantino is “definitely the heart” of the team, midfielder Bridget Daley said, and it was satisfying for Daley to see her teammate play well in her first game back. The Orange is a “family,” Daley said, and comes together when a player faces adversity.For Murray, seeing the goalie back in the cage was reassuring above all else. Murray is thankful the car accident wasn’t as dangerous as it could’ve been, and she’s thrilled with how her teammate has responded.“Someone else could’ve been a lot more rattled than how she took it,” Murray said, “and she’s just bounced back really well and just is taking it day-by-day and she’s doing great.“It was just really nice to see her bounce back, just get right in the net and start playing really well. I think she’s playing the best she has all season right now and with the most confidence.” Comments Published on April 19, 2013 at 11:35 am Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more