Jonathan Hagman steps up as leading scorer in junior year

first_img Published on October 4, 2017 at 9:22 pm Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Entering the season, Syracuse needed to replace 64 percent of its offensive production after losing three of its top four scorers. Kenny Lassiter, a forward expected to expand his role, transferred to La Salle.The Orange looked toward midfielder Jonathan Hagman. In a season filled with slow offensive starts and just one clean sheet defensively, Hagman has been a bright spot for a Syracuse (5-5-2, 0-3-1 Atlantic Coast) team that looks to win its first ACC game on Friday night against North Carolina State. The junior has already tied his goal total from a season ago with five, and in eight fewer games. Hagman’s often found offensive success with his ability to find open space in the penalty area and finish near the net.“We always know he’s going to be at the right place at the right moment,” midfielder Hugo Delhommelle said. “… He’s not a creative player and people won’t talk about him a lot. He does a lot of work behind the scene.”Unlike most players, Hagman’s goals have not come shooting off the dribble. He “outsmarts” opposing defenders, junior defender Kamal Miller said, finding open space and wriggling away from defenders with his off-ball. That intelligence off-ball is the main reason for his increase in productivity, Miller added.Down a goal against Virginia, Delhommelle took possession and pushed upfield. He passed to Johannes Pieles, who after a few touches fired a through ball that split two UVA defenders and found Hagman in stride inside the penalty area. With a defender draped over his back, Hagman one-touched and fired past the goalkeeper. Hagman’s 83rd-minute goal gave SU a tie, its only point in conference play to date.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJosh Shub-Seltzer | Staff PhotographerHagman’s knack for finding open space provides his teammates with extra time to settle the ball and look toward the penalty area. When players try to cross the ball in front of the net, normally a forward is the lone player in the box, sophomore defender John Austin-Ricks said. But the team can count on Hagman to push upfield, find a spot and be on the receiving end on those crosses. All five of Hagman’s goals have been assisted.“You know (Hagman’s) going to be around no matter what,” junior forward Adnan Bakalovic said. “It’s just his ability to read the game and get into those areas to get easy tap ins.“His awareness of the game is world class.”Hagman’s goals often come in big-time moments for Syracuse. In the team’s season opener, he tied the game in the 80th minute before a Tajon Buchanan game winner. He added the second and third goals against Northwestern in what became a 3-1 win. He’s the only player with more than three goals and is tied for the team lead with 10 points.“From a productivity perspective,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said, “he’s scored some important goals for us. … It becomes a natural habit of finding your way into the box at the right time.”In Hagman’s freshman season, he went scoreless in 11 games. The following year he scored four games in, but after back-to-back goals midway through the year, he was held scoreless in 11 of Syracuse’s last 12. This year, his longest goal-scoring drought has been three games.Syracuse’s offensive productivity is 0.15 goals per game less than the year prior. That’s without three of the top goal scorers from last season. A large factor in SU maintaining a similar mark comes from Hagman’s offensive prowess and ability to find the ball in front of the goal.“If you’re not fast,” Hagman said, “you have to figure out something else to do well on the pitch.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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