Elite 8: SU vs. BC

Syracuse men’s soccer punches ticket to the Final Four

SU gets revenge over conference foe Boston College in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, 1-0

The last time No. 6 Syracuse lost a game was on October 30th in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. It was the regular season finale for the Orange against the Boston College Eagles. BC scored two first-half goals and Syracuse couldn’t overcome the deficit, falling 2-1. This time around things would be different.

“We were disappointed the last time we played Boston College that we started slowly…[today] we started very well,” SU Head Coach Ian McIntyre said. The Orange dictated the pace of play right from the opening whistle and consistently had the Eagles on their heels.

Photo: Russ Scalf

It took 78 minutes but the Orange finally broke through. After Julian Buescher kicked the ball off a BC defender for a corner kick, Junior midfielder Liam Callahan lofted the ball over the crowded box toward the back post. Waiting on the six-yard line to head the ball into the back of the net was Ben Polk. Buescher and/or Polk seem to have been involved in just about every Syracuse goal this season.

Up until the goal, Syracuse had firmly controlled the game, but nobody could finish for the Orange. The lack of scoring had a lot to do with the outstanding play of Boston College goalkeeper Alex Kapp. The Senior stood tall multiple times for the Eagles. He had two impressive diving saves in the first half. Both shots were low and hard and Kapp managed to not only save but also hold both attempts, not allowing any rebounds for SU to pounce on.

Kapp did a good job defending the many corners that the Orange had as well. He continually came off of his line and grabbed or deflected away the crosses that were lifted into the middle of the box. The goalie did everything he could to keep BC in the game, but eventually Syracuse got one past him. The goal came on SU’s 12th shot and 13th corner kick of the game. That lone goal was all Syracuse needed to get past Boston College.

The Syracuse defense played a major role in the outcome of the game. Central defender Louis Cross won countless headers in the middle of the field. He was physical and kept the Eagles in front of him the entire game. Freshmen outside backs Kamal Miller and Miles Robinson played like veterans. The back line didn’t let the ball get behind them and only gave up two shots on goal and six shots in total. This was the fourth shutout in the last seven games for the Orange.

“They’re no longer freshmen I think, Miles and Kamal, they’ve played a lot of soccer. They have been battle-tested this year…[today] I thought our defense was magnificent,” Coach McIntyre said. “If you can keep clean sheets, you win matches. And if you are winning matches this time of year, special things happen.”

And special things have happened. Syracuse has made it to its first Final Four in program history. The Orange will take on ACC opponent No. 2 Clemson in Kansas City on Friday, Dec. 11. The teams already played twice this year and each team won once.

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