MSOC : Veteran Brode returns from injury for SU

first_img Published on October 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Rachel: [email protected] Comments Mark Brode’s name was announced a little bit louder than most substitutes as he entered against Cincinnati midway through the second half on Saturday.Brode, the Syracuse midfielder whose season was in doubt after he suffered a severely sprained ankle Oct. 1, made a surprising return to the pitch.‘I’ve been waiting for this moment for the past five games,’ Brode said, ‘so to finally get back out there is awesome. Unbelievable.’Brode, a junior midfielder, injured his ankle against Pittsburgh in Syracuse’s (3-10-1, 1-5-1 Big East) second Big East match. When he went down for four full games, he took with him not just his strong, physical presence in the midfield, but his experience, too. And that experience is needed on such a young SU team that features 19 new players.So to have him back for the stretch run of the season is an advantage that SU head coach Ian McIntyre is grateful for.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘To have a player who’s played, in his third year in the Big East, he’s probably played more games than the rest of the team put together,’ McIntyre said. ‘So it’s good to have someone with a little bit of experience.’When he entered the game against the Bearcats in the 68th minute, SU and UC were tied 1-1. With Brode in the game, Syracuse pulled ahead by three goals en route to its first Big East win of the season.And although Brode insists that he’s not the kind of player to bring a spark into the game, he did hope that his presence made some sort of difference for the Orange. Especially after it looked like Brode was finished for the year.In the game against Pitt, Brode ran across the field trying to mark his brother Ryan, a senior midfielder for the Panthers. Brode tripped and rolled his ankle, resulting in what he called a ‘real bad sprained ankle.’But Brode went to rehab consistently, sometimes twice a day, working with SU’s trainers to overcome the injury and keep the swelling down. To finally be able to play for the first time in weeks was gratifying.‘At first when it happened, I thought I was out for the season,’ Brode said. ‘But I just pulled it off, so now I’m back.’Brode’s height and physicality allow him to elevate the performances of both the offense and the defense. His play on the field doesn’t necessarily translate in the box score — he’s scored just one goal on the year — but his presence in the midfield helps support a young defense while controlling the flow of the offense.And against Cincinnati, he again displayed his control of the ball and helped the defense out with a few clears to keep the ball away from the SU goal en route to the team’s first conference win under McIntyre.‘He’s got some size, a physical presence and allowed us to kind of solidify things a little bit,’ McIntyre said.He has been a consistent starter for the three years he’s been on the team, something few others can say. And to SU midfielder Nick Roydhouse, having one of his fellow starters back in the middle is key for a team trying to secure a spot in the upcoming Big East tournament.‘It’s great to have him back,’ Roydhouse said. ‘It was a big loss when he went out. He looked good out there. He’s ready to go.’Brode said his ankle is still not 100 percent, but it’s improving. And if Saturday’s game is any indication of the play SU will see from Brode in its final two regular-season games, then he’s happy with the direction the Orange is headed with him back.Brode reconsidered his original thought that he didn’t provide a spark for SU.‘Maybe I did bring a spark in the game,’ Brode said. ‘It was great coming in at 1-1, and before I knew it, it was 4-1. It was such a great feeling to get out there.’[email protected]center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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