SU men’s soccer advances in NCAA tourney with win over Boston
SU advances in NCAA tourney with win over Boston
The Orange responded after allowing an early goal to earn a comfortable 3-1 win over the Terriers.
Syracuse University began its defense of the NCAA National Championship with a 3-1 win over Boston University at the SU Soccer Stadium on Thursday night.
The defending champions had to rely on an at-large berth to the 2023 NCAA Division I Tournament after a draw-filled ACC campaign. The visitors grabbed an early goal to put the home crowd on edge, but three goals in quick succession — two from sophomore forward Nicholas Kaloukian and one from graduate midfielder Josh Belluz — saw the Orange advance to the next round of the tournament.
Head Coach Ian McIntyre heaped praise on his men, applauding them for their resilience and calmness in a period when things could’ve been different.
“I think the guys’ response was terrific,” McIntyre said. “They didn’t panic. There wasn’t a frustration, and to score that goal; To score a couple of goals on restarts is important. The overall big picture is that it was a good performance, and to start our run in the tournament, I was very pleased with that response.”
The game began in a cagey and untidy affair, which saw multiple fouls given in the opening proceedings of the match. Questionable calls by the referee made the game even more on the edge, with disgruntled players and coaches unsatisfied with the state of officiating.
Boston University opened the scoring after a string of neat passes, leading to a precise finish from Eitan Rosen following a cross from the right-hand side. The Terriers looked to sit on their one-goal advantage, with a defensive shape that Syracuse couldn’t unlock.
The Orange dominated possession, with Boston University looking to hit them on the counter with balls over the top to see their attacking players through on goal. Syracuse continued to use the channels as an avenue for something productive but their performance in the final third was disappointing.
Nevertheless, Boston University’s defense couldn’t sustain its low block for much longer, as a header from Kaloukian off a free kick from junior midfielder Mateo Leveque gave SU its equalizer in the 23rd minute.
Syracuse’s high-pressing style forced turnovers and mistakes from Boston University which led to the corner that put Ian McIntyre’s men 2-1 up in the 33rd minute thanks to a goal from Josh Belluz.
SU’s crosses from open play and dead balls threatened Boston University’s defense throughout the first half, and not even a minute later, it was a swinging cross from senior midfielder Nate Edwards that met the head of Kaloukian, bagging his brace and a two-goal cushion for the men from Upstate New York.
The final five minutes of the first half saw Boston University attack Syracuse’s goal and sustain possession to change the course of the match before the break. The Orange were able to withstand any threat they were faced with and went into the interval with a two-goal lead.
The second half began as a summation of the first. Syracuse dominated possession and had a few shots which were of little threat to the Boston University goalkeeper. The Terriers slowly grew into the game and created a few nervy moments for Syracuse. They threw men forward to try to swing the pendulum of the match but to no avail.
Ultimately, Syracuse University hung on to their two-goal cushion to ease through to the next round of the NCAA Division I tournament.
Kaloukian said the home crowd being the team’s twelfth man lifted their spirits after facing adversity in the opening few minutes of the game.
“I would say the crowd kept us in it. When we went down in those first five minutes, the crowd kept us in it. They kept going and kept cheering. And then really the momentum started going for us. And we just scored those three goals in 10 minutes. So I think the crowd was a big part of tonight,” he mentioned.
He also went on to say the more experienced players deserved praise for their role in the turnaround, saying the team relied on their leadership and grit to get the win.
SU dominated statistically, firing 21 shots (10 on goal) and allowing just two shots on its own net. At times in the season, the team had struggled to get results despite having more possession and shots than its opponent.
The Orange have won all 11 NCAA Tournament games they’ve played on their home field.
Next up is an away match against the eighth-seeded New Hampshire Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament second round at 2 p.m. Sunday. The match can be watched live on ESPN+.