Alicia Hansen switches to shortstop, leads Syracuse in split against Notre Dame

first_imgIn the middle of a game against Niagara on Mar. 27, head coach Shannon Doepking approached senior Alicia Hansen with one question: “What are your thoughts about playing shortstop?” Hansen admitted that she was caught off guard at first, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity.“Put me there. I wanna play there,” Hansen said to Doepking then. “Can you put me there right now?” Even though she has not played the position since her time at Liverpool High School, Hansen was needed to fill in for injured shortstop Neli Casares-Maher against Notre Dame this weekend. In the doubleheader against the Fighting Irish, Hansen didn’t commit an error and led the team with six assists. Her performance in the field and with her bat fueled Syracuse (14-19, 4-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) in both games against Notre Dame (20-12, 4-5 ACC). “She’s literally probably our only option that could do it,” Doepking said. “She does it really well.”Entering the weekend series, Hansen hadn’t played in the infield all season long. While she experienced playing second base her first two seasons at SU, she was switched to outfield once sophomore Gabby Teran entered the program. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore the first game against Notre Dame on Mar. 29, Hansen went out to Skytop Stadium early to readjust herself to the infield bounces. She read how the ball bounce differently on each hop while also changing her arm angles with each throw to perfect the timing. “I would definitely say it is harder to go from outfield to infield than it was to go from infield to outfield,” Hansen said. “This was my first ground ball on dirt in a few years.”In the fourth inning of the first game of the doubleheader, Hansen’s fielding at the new position was tested for the first time. With two outs and a runner on third base, Notre Dame freshman Quinn Biggio hit a ground ball toward sophomore Lailoni Mayfield. The ball bounced off of Mayfield’s glove and deflected toward Hansen. Without panicking, Hansen fielded the ground ball perfectly and tossed it to first base for the inning ending out. “She has played almost every single position out there,” junior Alexa Romero said. “She’s just a very talented athlete.”With runners on first and second, Notre Dame senior Caitlyn Brooks swung at a pitch on the outside part of the strike zone. The ball bounced up the middle, toward the hole between Teran and Hansen. Hansen reacted before Teran and easily slided over into the gap. The odd bouncing ball fell into her glove as she turned toward second base. With Teran stepping on the bag, Hansen calmly tossed it to the second baseman for the first out of the game.When she wasn’t on the dirt waiting for ground balls, Hansen played a vital role in Syracuse’s first win over Notre Dame since 2016. After a five-run lead was narrowed to a 5-5 tie, a bases-clearing triple gave the Orange it never lost.Hansen may have to continue making plays like that going forward as Doepking was not willing to put a time estimate on Casares-Maher’s injury. But to the head coach, that may not be a disadvantage to her team.“She’s a gritty, scrappy kid who just wants to help this team and she’s really really good,” Doepking said. “It’s just impressive to see what that athlete is capable of doing.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 30, 2019 at 9:06 pm Contact Adam: [email protected] | @_adamhillmanlast_img

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