Victory over Vermont sends SU men’s soccer to College Cup

SU men's soccer wins to reach College Cup

The Orange's 2-1 win takes program to Coach Ian McIntyre's second semi-final.
Published: December 3, 2022 | Updated: December 7th, 2022 at 12:13 am
Vemont v Syracuse
Syracuse's Curt Calov (#7) and Lorenzo Boselli (#11) celebrate after a goal is scored Saturday against Vermont.

Syracuse and Vermont had already proven themselves formidable foes playing to a 1-1 draw earlier this season.

But with a trip to the NCAA College Cup on the line Saturday, the teams’ Elite 8 round rematch tilted in Syracuse’s favor with a 2-1 win before a home crowd at SU Soccer Stadium.

Like the earlier match on Sept. 2, the Orange got out front first before Vermont answered with a goal of its own. This time, the No. 3 Syracuse, which hasn’t lost a game in almost two months, pressed for and got a hard-fought second goal.

“I think both teams have grown and got [gotten] better,” Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre said. “We knew when the bracket dropped that we had some tough teams to play, and Vermont was one of them.”

After dominating possession of the ball early on, Syracuse opened up the scoring in the 13th minute of the game. The Orange received a free kick following a reckless challenge by Vermont’s Garrett Lillie on Syracuse midfielder Lorenzo Boselli.

The set piece was taken by Curt Calov, who curled the ball around the wall, but straight to Vermont goalkeeper Nate Silveira. Unfortunately for Silveira, the rain-soaked ball made picking it up cleanly a difficult task, and it deflected out for a Syracuse corner.

Vemont v Syracuse
SU's Christian Curti (#2) competes for a header with Vermont's Jacob Vitale.

Calov took the corner and curled it into the net beyond the keeper’s reach. The skillful kick gave the Orange an early one-goal lead.

“Going up early is a big plus,” Calov said. “We’re a very confident team, and we never lose faith in each other.”

This goal sparked a series of scoring chances from Vermont. One nearly resulted in a goal in the 15th minute, but Alex Nagy’s shot right in front of Syracuse goalkeeper Russell Shealy went across the net and out of harm’s way.

The Catamounts continued to pressure Syracuse’s back line and finally got their goal in the 23rd minute. The ball rolled to midfielder Daniel Pacella about five feet from the Syracuse box, and he blasted it into the back of the net before Shealy could even react.

The score remained even until the 42nd minute when Syracuse’s attacking duo Nathan Opoku and Levonte Johnson connected yet again for the team’s second goal. Opoku whipped a cross into the box from the left side, and Johnson tipped the ball into the net to give the Orange a 2-1 lead heading into the second half.

Vemont v Syracuse

Vermont's Alex Nagy (#13) passes the ball against the Orange.

Vemont v Syracuse

SU goalie Russell Shealy recovers the ball against the Catamounts.

The following 45 minutes were a defensive clinic from the Syracuse backline as the Catamounts tried time after time to even up the score, but to no avail. In the 75th minute, a crucial tackle from Syracuse defender Olu Oyegunle put an end to Vermont forward Yaniv Bazini’s breakaway opportunity.

Vermont had another chance to get a goal seven minutes later, but Alex Nagy launched the ball too far and out of play on a crucial set-piece opportunity.

The game soon ended, marking another victory for the electric Syracuse team. Syracuse will advance to the College Cup to take on Creighton in the NCAA Semifinals match. The game is set for 6 p.m. Friday in Cary, N.C.

“Now it’s going to be us or one of the other three teams. We’re going to go down there and look to return with a National Championship,” Coach McIntyre said.

Vemont v Syracuse