Syracuse men’s soccer ends extraordinary regular season in 1-1 draw to Boston College

Syracuse soccer ends extraordinary regular season in 1-1 draw to BC

The Orange secures number one spot in the ACC.
Published: October 29, 2022
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Syracuse midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski kicks the ball during a game against Iona College on August 25, 2022.

Syracuse men’s soccer concluded its regular season on Friday with a draw against Boston College. The Orange secured its number one spot in the ACC standings after last year’s subpar performance with a number five ranking.

After falling 0-1 in the first half, No. 3 Syracuse came out in the second half looking to get that one goal to even the score.

Their chance approached in the 65th minute, after Orange forward Nathan Opoku drew a penalty kick just outside the 5-yard box. The penalty was taken by midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski, who buried the ball into the bottom left corner of the net as Boston College goalkeeper Brennan Klein dived right.

Syracuse had finally got their tying goal, and the game stayed 1-1 until the final whistle of the hard fought match.

“I thought Jeorgio did a very good job,” head coach Ian McIntyre said. “I’m very pleased with his performance tonight.”

The Eagles opened up the first half with the ball, but possession went back and forth between the two teams for the next few minutes. A chance for Boston College came in the 6th minute of play when midfielder Augustine Boadi sent a cross into a box packed with his teammates. Eagles forward Stefan Sigurdarson leaped up to head the cross, but his shot missed right of the net.

Just six minutes later, Boston College found themselves with another good chance to get a goal on the board. A good tackle by Syracuse defender Noah Singelmann sent the ball out of harm’s way, but at the cost of a corner.

Eagles freshman midfielder Ted Cargill took the corner kick and launched the ball into the box right to fellow midfielder Walker Davey. Davey promptly headed the ball into the net, placing it perfectly in the top right corner. Syracuse goalkeeper Russel Shealy could only watch helplessly as the ball went by him to give Boston College a 1-0 lead.

“[Boston College’s] shape caused us problems initially, but we adjusted pretty well and I’m pleased with the players,” McIntyre said.

Syracuse’s offense finally seemed to kick into gear towards the end of the first half. In the 36th minute, midfielder Giona Leibold raced down the left side of the pitch in control of the ball, crossing it into the box as he beat his marker. Opoku was primed to slot it into the net, but the Eagles goalkeeper Brennan Klein snatched the ball just before it got to him.

The final opportunity for the Orange to even up the first half scoreline came with two minutes left to play. After Coach McIntyre substituted forward Julius Rauch for Levonte Johnson, the Orange were awarded a free kick in the Boston’s side of the pitch.

Syracuse midfielder Curt Calov launched the set piece into the box where the ball found the fresh substitute Rauch. Unfortunately for the Orange, Rauch’s header shot just outside of the posts, and the first half came to a close soon after with Syracuse trailing by a goal.

The Eagles carried over their good first half performance to start the second. Four minutes in, forward Stefan Sigurdarson found himself with the ball in the open field with just Shealy between him and the net.

Just before he reached the box, Syracuse defender Olu Oyegunle raced up from behind and made a tackle that sent the ball away and put Sigurdarson on the ground. The play was clean as a whistle.

The Orange defense’s stellar performance evidently gave the offense some much needed motivation. In the 62nd minute, Leibold weaved past defenders down the left side of the pitch, leaving his marker in the dust with a rapid series of moves.

Leibold then crossed the ball into the box, finding Opoku who proceeded to bounce the ball off of his chest to forward Lorenzo Boselli. He rifled a shot at the bottom left corner of the net, forcing the keeper to make a diving save in front of the post.

“We’re one family fighting for each other,” Leibold said. “We’re always there for one another.”

Three minutes later, the Orange evened up the score with Kocevski’s penalty kick. The game was quiet until the 88th minute, when the Orange found themselves with a chance to end the season with a win.

Opoku passed the ball to Boselli just inside the box, who sent the ball screaming to the keeper’s near post. Klein made a fantastic one handed save, swiping up to deflect the ball away from his net. It would be the last good scoring chance for either team, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

“I’m very proud of this group,” McIntyre said. “They can say they have the best regular season ACC record and in this league, that’s quite the accomplishment.”

Due to Syracuse’s impressive regular season performance, the Orange earned a first round bye in the upcoming playoffs. The Orange will be looking to keep up their incredible run during their first postseason game (against a TBD team) on November 6 at the SU Soccer Stadium.

“What I like about this team is that there is a maturity to them. This is a team that is built to navigate the postseason,” McIntyre said. “They’ve got the appetite to embrace this challenge.”