Men's soccer: Skylar Thomas lifts Orange to upset of Virginia

The senior's header-deflection goal sparked SU to a monumental ACC victory.

In front of one of the largest crowds of the season, No. 18 Syracuse (8-1-0, 2-1-0) defeated Atlantic Coast Conference opponent and second-ranked Virginia (4-3-1, 1-1-1) in a hard-fought 1-0 contest. 

The win was SU’s first against a top-five team since 2001, when it defeated then-No. 8 Rutgers. 

The decisive goal game in the 31st minute when senior defender Skylar Thomas took flight and headed a perfect corner pass from Julian Buescher into the upper left corner of the net. 

Photo: Bryan Cereijo
Syracuse celebrates its victory over the Cavaliers.

“We’ve been working on that all week and all year, just crossing and finishing,” Thomas said. 

Both teams had 13 shots, but Syracuse had eight corners compared to Virginia’s three.  

Orange goalkeeper Alex Bono had a relatively easy night but still made four saves en route to to his eighth shutout of the season.  

“There wasn’t much to do today, but those are the best days. When my defense has got my back and I’m only there when I am needed, those are the days that I work for,” Bono said. “We’ve had eight wins on the season and every single one of them has been a shutout, which has been massive for our defense.” 

The whole defensive unit composed of Thomas, Jordan Murrell, Buescher, and Stefanos Stamoulacatos had a very successful night. Intercepting passes and blocking out any attackers and shots that came near the box, they were extremely solid throughout the entire 90 minutes. 

The only real chance Virginia had to tie the game came in the 54th minute when forward Ryan Zinkhan was able to get a shot from inside the six-yard box. However, Bono saved it to preserve the lead. 

“We scored on a restart and they didn’t tonight. I know it sounds as simple as that, but Virginia is a quality team,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “Similar to Notre Dame, it was a fun, college, soccer match and thankfully tonight we came out on the right side.” 

The next game for the Orange is Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at SU Soccer Stadium against Colgate.

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