“No Quit” Mentality Remains a Big Part of Syracuse Culture
By Noah Cierzan
CitrusTV’s Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter
As the temperature dipped into the 50’s Tuesday night, the buzzer sounded, and Syracuse found itself in an all too familiar situation: overtime. The Orange were clearly fatigued, as the two weeks spent in quarantine instead of practicing started to show. Still, SU took the field for the first overtime determined as ever.
“We’re not losing this game,” said an SU player as the team huddled up before overtime.
Ian McIntyre’s squad went into extra time six times last season and posted an undefeated record of 2-0-4 in those contests. Although that trend did not continue in Tuesday’s loss to Pitt, the team’s resilience and effort were not lost on McIntyre.
“The guys made me really proud to be their coach,” said McIntyre. “We’re going to be very tired tomorrow.”
It’s something that McIntyre has built into the program in his ten plus years as head coach of the Orange, and it shows on the pitch. Nick Kuzma covered the team CitrusTV during its run to the NCAA tournament last season. He said it’s this same mentality that made them so special a year ago.
“It’s a culture all about not giving up,” said Kuzma. “The amount of overtime games they had to play last year was incredible. To stick with any opponent, let alone some who were probably more talented, for 110 minutes is a testament to the kind of Coach Ian McIntyre is.”
Senior Midfielder Hilli Goldhar eluded to this after Tuesday’s loss.
“I’m proud of the way we fought,” said Goldhar. “We have a really resilient group here as you guys saw, and we’re going to bring that work ethic to every game.”
The biggest question going into the Pitt game was how Syracuse would come out of the gate after a completely abnormal offseason. While it would be easy for the Orange to make excuses for themselves, instead, they buckled down and came out aggressive. McIntyre did not employ his preferred 3-5-2 formation, but he did maintain his aggressive press in a 4-3-3.
This aggression led to early opportunities for Senior Forward Luther Archimede at the beginning of the game. Archimede also had an early yellow card after sliding into Pitt Goalie Nico Campuzano, but that didn’t stop the senior from keeping up the aggressive play.
This would be a theme for Syracuse throughout the game.
Late in the second half, Defender Abdi Salim went soaring through the air to connect on a header and accidentally collided with a Pitt player in the process. The Panthers then bench erupted, pleading that a foul. While pandemonium ensued on one sideline, McIntyre calmly relayed a message to Salim.
“Don’t worry about it [Abdi],” said McIntyre. “That was a great header.”
These are only a few of what seems like countless examples that show what McIntyre has built in the Salt City. Where Syracuse may lack in other facets of the game, it makes up in effort. It’s for this exact reason that, despite a complete roster turnover from a year ago, Coach Mac believes his team can go places this year.
“We’re going to get better,” said McIntyre. “We really caused a good Pitt team some headaches.”
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