Martina Loncarica was one of four Syracuse seniors who stood in a line on the J.S. Coyne Stadium field as part of the Sunday’s senior day pregame ceremony.The other three invited their parents onto the field. But with Loncarica’s family living in Argentina, the team captain asked teammate Liz McInerney to accompany her.Tears streaming down her face, McInerney walked alongside Loncarica through an aisle created by two rows of cheering teammates.‘She’s just a great friend and a great teammate, and she’s always there supporting me,’ Loncarica said. ‘So I picked her because she deserves it.’Cohesive teammates on the field, good friends off it, Loncarica and McInerney share a profound relationship that is critical on a Syracuse (16-3, 5-1) team hoping to make a push for a national championship. Their will to win is exemplified during games, practice and even in their offseason training regimen. But that all started just two seasons ago when McInerney joined SU after spending 2008 and 2009 playing in her native Ireland.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCoaching at a camp in Pennsylvania a few summers ago, the two formed a bond. After coaching during the daytime, Loncarica and McInerney would return at night to practice.Eventually, Loncarica urged McInerney to try to play for the Orange and head coach Ange Bradley. And she did, making the move to America before last season.‘(Martina’s) the reason I’m here,’ McInerney said. ‘She basically recruited me to come here and brought me over, so I owe her everything.’Officially listed as a junior in 2010, McInerney started all 21 of SU’s games. However, she recorded only one goal and three assists. She knew there was room for improvement.Heading into the offseason this past summer, McInerney wanted to become a faster, sharper player. Rather than returning to Ireland, she stayed at SU and trained with Loncarica.‘We were here for the three weeks or a month after everyone left and we just ran and ran. Just everywhere,’ McInerney said. ‘… We’d just run all around Syracuse.’By the tail end of some runs, McInerney said she was so exhausted that she couldn’t see where the two were even going.In addition to those more than hourlong — sometimes marathon-esque — runs, the two worked extensively with the team’s strength and conditioning coach. They added quickness, running sprints and built strength by working vigorously in the weight room.That month of painstaking training has paid off for both her and Loncarica. The two veterans have utilized a rare breed of toughness, helping lead SU to a 16-3 record heading into the Big East tournament.Loncarica rewrote the program’s record books, setting new marks for career points and career assists. McInerney has already tallied five goals and has two more assists (10) than Loncarica (8).And defensively, McInerney is reading passing angles exceptionally well, thus preventing opposing offenses from building attacks.‘That’s just something I like to do in my game,’ McInerney said. ‘I like to disrupt the play of the other team.’But whether McInerney will be wreaking havoc on opposing offenses again next season is unclear. Officially listed as a senior, she has filed paperwork with the Big East conference to earn another year of collegiate eligibility.McInerney expects to receive an answer soon, and Loncarica is hoping her teammate is allotted another season.‘That’s something nobody can control,’ Loncarica said. ‘We just have to wait, and hopefully she gets it. If she doesn’t she’ll move forward, but I have my confidence that she will get it.’But regardless of whether McInerney returns to the Orange in 2012, she will remain close withLoncarica. The emotional moment they shared walking side by side past their applauding teammates will live with them forever.And it may very well be followed by countless others.‘That’s what’s great about sport — you make friends for life,’ Bradley said. ‘These kids are blessed to be in a position to have teammates from all over the world that, when you leave here 15 to 20 years down the road, you’re going to look back, and you’re going to remember those things.’email@example.com Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on October 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Stephen_Bailey1
Clonmel Town battle it out with Nenagh AFC in Cooke Park.Clonmel were comfortable 4-0 winners over Fairview Rangers of Limerick in the semi-final while Nenagh needed penalties to overcome Cork outfit Kilreen Celtic in the last four.