SU Overcomes History, Physicality to Beat Virginia
By Danny Tow, Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter
Syracuse Men’s Soccer had never won at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Orange hadn’t even beaten the Cavaliers since 2014. That all changed Friday night, as Syracuse won their ACC opener 3-1 over host Virginia.
The Cavaliers took a while to settle in, and ‘Cuse made them pay for it early. F Deandre Kerr stole possession from a careless Virginia defender in the fifth minute. In alone with GK Holden Brown, Kerr curled it over Brown’s right shoulder to put the Orange on the board first. This marked Kerr’s second consecutive game with a goal, but the sophomore wasn’t done.
Syracuse continued to press high up the pitch, and while Virginia had the occasional opportunity in the first 20 minutes, the ball mainly sat in the Cavaliers’ end. Eventually, that consistent pressure paid off for the Orange. Colin Biros played a corner kick beautifully to the front post, where it met Max Kent’s head and flew into the bottom right corner of the net. Eighteen minutes in, and Syracuse equaled their biggest lead of the season.
Kent’s goal seemed to wake up the Wahoos, as they answered back just four minutes later. D Paul Wiese dribbled his way to the edge of the box before crossing it low to F Leo Afonso. The Brazilian managed to get just enough of his foot on the ball to put it past GK Lucas Daunhauer and cut the Orange lead in half.
From there, the teams settled in, and the physicality picked up. Virginia came into the game having received seven yellow cards in their three matches this season and added two more to that total on the night. Syracuse picked up two cautions as well, as the teams combined to commit 34 fouls on the evening.
The second half was a much more back-and-forth affair, with the physicality carrying over from the first half but not the goal-scoring, despite both teams having more opportunities. Virginia came close to scoring again several times, most notably in the 65th minute, where a Cavaliers cross into the six-yard box left Daunhauer frozen, but the resulting touch was put wide of the net. Daunhauer recovered to make a diving stop a few minutes later at his near post on a long-range effort from F Kevin Ogudugu.
‘Cuse couldn’t get much of anything going until the 74th minute when Colin Biros dispossessed a Virginia defender deep in the Cavaliers half. The ball found its way to Kerr, who dribbled around the last defender before slotting it home to seal the win. Fifteen minutes later, and Syracuse picked up its first ACC road win since October 2019.
Syracuse (3-2) returns home to welcome Central New York rival Binghamton (3-1) to the SU Soccer Stadium Tuesday. Kickoff is set for 7 PM.
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