Orange fall to No. 4 Fighting Irish

Syracuse lost 3-0 thanks to a pair of set-piece goals by Notre Dame.

On a cold and wet Friday night, No. 4 Notre Dame shut out a helpless Syracuse squad, 3-0.

The Orange came into the game against Notre Dame with possibly the best of preparations, after having routed Manhattan 4-1 earlier in the week. But Friday’s match was a humbling experience, as Syracuse was outplayed and outmuscled throughout the contest.

In the opening minutes of the game, Syracuse’s performance looked promising. Notre Dame took some time to settle into the game, and despite knocking on the door a few times, the defensively sound duo of Skylar Thomas and Chris Makowski held things together at the back.

It was in the 15th minute that Syracuse lost its concentration. Notre Dame’s Harrison Ship whipped in a cross from a corner-kick as Evan Panken found himself in space to nod in the opening goal. It was a disappointing goal to give up, and one that already put Syracuse on the back-foot. “It was really unfortunate to give up a goal from a set-piece,” Makowski said, “it gave them momentum and unfortunately we couldn’t come back from it.”

Soon after, the game went from bad to worse for Syracuse, as Thomas hobbled off four minutes after conceding the opening goal. The details of the defender’s injury are unclear as of now, and Syracuse hopes it is not too serious. “It’s not my foot [injury] again, I don’t think. It’s a bit too early to tell,” Thomas said. “My hamstring was tight and couldn’t allow me to play.”

#8 Nick Perea fights for a lose ball against Notre Dame in Friday night's game. (Photo: Ziniu Chen)

The second goal came for Notre Dame at the 22nd minute, with Syracuse once again undone by a set-piece. This time, it was Andrew O’Malley who headed in the corner-kick and doubled Notre Dame’s advantage. The goal came as a real sucker punch, given that Emil Ekblom’s header had been chalked off for offside just three minutes before.

The second half resumed with Notre Dame assuming more territorial advantage. Syracuse failed to cope with Notre Dame’s slick passing style, which, despite the weather conditions, cut right through the Orange’s teetering defense. In fact, it was only five minutes after the restart that Syracuse succumbed to another one of Notre Dame’s attacking move, as Patrick Hodan grabbed the goal to make it 3-0 on the night.

“They’re an elite team,” Syracuse coach Ian McIntyre said about his opponents. “They were the better team tonight.”

The referee added insult to injury with ten minutes left in the game, sending off Mike Koegel for a second yellow card offense on what seemed a fairly innocuous contact.

The Fighting Irish were a class above in terms of their ranking, and it showed on the pitch.

“I think you saw the difference,” McIntyre said, “they’ve got a team full of juniors and seniors and it showed; I think our older guys could’ve been a little bit better and our freshmen are very, very talented, but they looked like freshmen tonight.”

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