NCAA Round 2: SU vs. Dartmouth

2-1 win over Dartmouth jolts Orange to NCAA 3rd round

Orange to face Seattle Sunday at the SU Soccer Stadium.

Syracuse men's soccer head coach Ian McIntyre is thrilled to spend and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with his team, while awaiting this Sunday's third round matchup against Seattle. The Redhawks are tied for the most wins in the NCAA with 18. 


"They're a very very good college soccer team," McIntyre said. "It's not just that they have three guys up front that have contributed over 30 goals, their ball retention is excellent, they've got technical players that keep the ball, and they're coming off arguably the biggest win in the history of their program against UCLA." 

Orange senior forward Noah Rhynhart chases after the ball.


That being said, McIntyre feels that his team has all the confidence heading into Sunday. 


"We're going to have to be at our very best," McIntyre said, "I think both teams will go after it, but in order for us to win, it's not just about shutting down one guy, they've got a bunch of guys that we need to be aware of."


At the front line, the Redhawks will trot out David Olsen, Hamza Haddadi, and Michael Roberts. The trio has continued to perform at a high level, most recently in the 1-0 victory over UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Touranment.


Haddadi scored the lone goal due to miscommunication from the Bruins defense, when he booted a slow-trickling ball through the goalie's legs. The talented front line will pose a challenge for SU's defense.


"Our back three will really be tested," McIntyre said. 


Syracuse made it to the 3rd round last year as well, but lost to Georgetown 2-1. With half of the roster remaining intact from last season, the team will be more equipped to handle pressure situations in these crucial games. 


"We've got some older guys that have had a chance to experience this caliber of game, but for a lot of our guys, I mean, we've played some big matches this year, but what is different is this will be played at home," McIntyre said. "It's nice to be enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and not packing up and going somewhere right after. It's nice that we get to play here in front of our own family, friends and supporters."


A look back at Sunday's game vs. Dartmouth


The Syracuse men's soccer team defeated Dartmouth, 2-1. While the Orange was in control for most of the first half, there was trouble on the offensive end due to the stingy defense of the Big Green. Dartmouth was able to capitalize on the sloppy Syracuse defense by scoring the first goal,and jumping out to a 1-0 lead in front of a silenced crowd at SU Soccer Stadium.


But the Orange immediately responded to the one-goal deficit when junior Ben Polk scored. The forward gathered a pass from teammate Julian Beuscher. With his back to the net, he turned and fired the kick which skimmed the crossbar and landed in the back net. Polk's defender lied on the ground, disappointed at the result as the Orange celebrated.


Syracuse continued the pressure as the second half started. With 35 minutes remaining, stemming from a free kick just outside the box, junior Louis Cross scored the eventual game-winning goal. After passes from Polk and Beuscher, the ball was sent directly to Cross in front of the net.


Cross then chipped the ball straight ahead, which tapped a defender's leg and ultimately couldn't be stopped. What followed was an eruption from his teammates and the crowd at SU Soccer Stadium.


"I kind of scuffed it, and got a bit of a lucky deflection and I was just happy to see it go in," Cross said. 


 With 17 minutes remaining in regulation,  Dartmouth missed a wide open opportunity at the net. After a string of miskicks in front of the goal, Big Green midfielder Amadu Kunateh collected the ball with the left side of the net wide open. But Kunatah yanked the ball far left as it bounced out of bounds. 


With under three minutes to play, Dartmouth had another opportunity to tie and capitalize on an open net. But the shot was blocked by a diving Syracuse defender, and ended the hope of a possible late-game rally.


"At this point of the year you're either playing conference champions or elite team," McIntyre said. "We're happy to be playing at home and a Syracuse/Seattle game will be fantastic for our program."


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