Men’s Soccer comes up short against No. 22 Virginia
Men's soccer struggles against Virginia
Syracuse fell to #22 Virginia 2-0 at SU Soccer Stadium on Friday night. The Orange failed to capitalize on the few opportunities Virginia’s defense allowed.
Syracuse Head Coach Ian McIntyre said his team was one shot away from getting back into the game, but missed assignments in the box prevented the Orange from making a comeback.
“We need to be a little more clinical in front of the goal,” Coach McIntyre said.
Due to imminent thunderstorms, the start of the game was moved forward two hours, from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. Gusts of up to 20 mph made it nearly impossible for either team to control the ball for extended periods.
“When the wind is swirling it makes it more difficult to get that shot off,” Coach McIntyre said.
In a physical match, neither team was able to put the ball in the net until the 42nd minute. Virginia forward Kennedy Nwabia gave the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead with a header that snuck behind the outstretched arms of Syracuse goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert. Nwabia’s first career goal proved to be the turning point in the match.
“We were resilient, I thought we were outstanding first half against the wind,” Coach McIntyre said. “To concede right before halftime, that’s difficult to take.”
After starting the second half down 1-0, the Orange faced a very difficult situation. Not only was Virginia undefeated coming into Friday night’s match, but their goalkeeper Colin Shutler had also allowed only one goal all season. The Orange found it difficult to break down the stingy Cavalier defense.
Virginia added to their lead in the 50th minute, when sophomore forward Nathaniel Crofts scored his second goal of the season, putting the Orange down 2-0 and the game out of reach.
Syracuse forward Massimo Ferrin wasn’t happy with the result, but he was proud of the way his team competed.
“We’re so close to having a game where we score three, four goals and we’re shutting the other team out,” Ferrin said. “It’s just you know, minor changes that we’ll get right soon.”
Ferrin played a physical game at a high tempo, placing a lot of pressure on Virginia’s defense.
“We didn’t let them bully us around, we held our ground”, Ferrin said.
Coach McIntyre said this loss can help his team develop into a serious contender in the near future.
“I think we’ve got a talented group of players, and as I’ve said to our guys, we are now working towards becoming a good, and then a great team,” Coach McIntyre said. “There’s a difference between being a talented and a good team.”
With 10 games left, there are plenty of opportunities for the Orange to turn their young season round after dropping to 3-3. The next test for the Orange will be at home against the Colgate Raiders on September 24 at 7 p.m.