Men's soccer: Orange rebounds to blank Cornell

Syracuse dominates Big Red for its fifth shutout of the season.

Cornell entered its matchup against No. 20 Syracuse with consecutive 1-0 wins over Binghamton and Lafayette, thanks in large part to a defense that had allowed only one goal all season. 

However, Tuesday night was a different story. Syracuse had no trouble exploiting the back line of the Big Red and cruised to a 3-0 victory at SU Soccer Stadium.

“In sports, that next game after like an emotional ACC opener, national champion (Notre Dame),” SU head coach Ian McIntyre told SU Athletics, “and then to turn around in such a short period of time to play a team like Cornell that’s very hard-working, very disciplined, we realized it was going to be a test tonight.

“Thankfully, we scored goals at the right time.”

The game started with each team generating offensive opportunities. Syracuse (5-1-0) had a scoring chance foiled in the eighth minute when a shot from attackman Emil Ekblom sailed over the net. Almost four minutes later, Cornell’s Peter Chodas was denied by SU goaltender Alex Bono.

But in the 18th minute, a clever ball from Stefanos Stamoulacatos found the foot of Juuso Pasanen, who hammered it into the left side of the net from just outside the top of the box to give the Orange an early 1-0 lead.           

Just under four minutes later, Chris Nanco pushed the ball into the box from the right corner of the Cornell zone and delivered a perfectly-placed pass at the feet of Ekblom. The sophomore lifted the ball past Cornell goalkeeper Zach Zagorski, doubling the Orange lead.

The goal was Ekblom’s third this season.

“We have a lot of goals in us,” SU defender Jordan Murrell said. “Every time we get on the pitch, we think we’re going to score at least four or five.”

The Big Red (2-2-1) had multiple scoring chances late in the half, the most notable coming in the 23rd minute. Bono made an initial save on Cornell’s Conor Goepel, but was unable to corral the ball into his body. Goepel charged after the rebound and fired a shot that soared left of the net and was eventually cleared.

The Orange dominated the second half with good touch passing and outshot Cornell 11-4. SU finally put the game on ice in the 88th minute with a counter-attack goal by Noah Rhynhart.

Bono was once again terrific in the Orange net, as the junior notched his 23rd career shutout.

Nanco also played well, displaying great speed on the attacking wings and showcasing superb ball control to keep the Cornell back line on its heels.

But SU still has room to improve before hitting the meat of conference play.

“We got those three goals, so it looks like we rolled over the team,” SU senior Nick Perea said. “But I know there’s a few things missing. There’s a few things we need to fix.”

Syracuse hits the road for another ACC matchup against Clemson this Saturday at 5 p.m.

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