Pieles Header Gives Syracuse 1-0 Win over Hofstra for 6th Straight Victory
By Christian De Guzman
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Johannes Pieles raised his hands into the air triumphantly.
Syracuse players began to surround. First, Louis Cross and Miles Robinson embraced the freshman from Germany. Then, Jonathan Hagman jumped to the top of the group while captains Liam Callahan and Oyvind Alseth joined the embrace.
When the celebration ended, Syracuse was ready to get the match going again, with the score 1-0 over Hofstra in the 88th minute. The Orange would win by that score, moving to a perfect 6-0-0.
Pieles continued to impress, as he has started all six games in the 2016 season for Syracuse. In those games, the freshman has three goals, including his game-winner on Tuesday, and has two assists. He has continued to perform well filling the shoes of Ben Polk, the star striker from the 2015 season who totaled 12 goals and 4 assists.
The lone goal for Syracuse also came off a set piece, an area of soccer in which Syracuse has excelled in throughout the 2016 season. Of the 14 goals that SU has scored this season, six of them have come via a set piece.
“When we get set pieces, our team is very dangerous in the box,” said Liam Callahan, who delivered the game-winning corner to Pieles. “We try and capitalize on them, and kudos to Johannes for getting his head on that.”
“They’ve been crucial in our game,” said Louis Cross on set pieces. “Without them, obviously we wouldn’t have won tonight and maybe we wouldn’t have won other games.”
For head coach Ian McIntyre, Syracuse’s success on set pieces comes down to two men – his captains, Callahan and Oyvind Alseth.
“It comes down to quality of serve,” said McIntyre. “With Liam and Oyvind, I think we’ve got two good strikers of the ball. And when balls are put into those dangerous areas, it becomes difficult for teams.”
The defense of Syracuse continued to shine on Tuesday. Goalie Hendrik Hilpert has been particularly impressive in 2016 as he shut out a Hofstra team that fired 5 shots at SU. With Tuesday’s performance, Hilpert now has four clean sheets in six games, tying him with four other keeps for the ACC lead.
“I thought that Hendrik and our back group dug deep tonight,” said McIntyre.
Given SU’s number five ranking in the NSCAA polls, some people may say that Syracuse should have dominated Hofstra more. However, this is still a team that has scary potential. 14 goals and 3 goals conceded in 6 games are numbers that cannot be taken lightly by many teams in the nation. And even though Tuesday’s game posed a challenge to Syracuse, coach McIntyre summed up the event in a way only he can.
“This was a fun college game.”