Syracuse Dominated by Demon Deacons in 2-0 Defeat
By Danny Tow
CitrusTV Men’s Soccer Beat Reporter
Coming off their biggest win of the year over #6 Clemson, Syracuse Men’s Soccer looked to ride the momentum into Winston-Salem and defeat Wake Forest. Unfortunately for the Orange, the Demon Deacons had other ideas. Two brilliant individual goals and outstanding goalkeeping saw Wake Forest take down ‘Cuse 2-0 at Spry Stadium Friday night.
It was all Wake Forest early, as the Demon Deacons held possession for most of the first 20 minutes. Mainly attacking down the right wing, they had multiple chances in front of net, with the best coming in the 13th minute. Omar Hernandez collected a rebound near the top of the Syracuse box and played a sinking effort towards the keeper’s right. GK Russell Shealy couldn’t get there, but was saved by the post, as the ball deflected out of play.
The Orange picked up their intensity as the first half went on, despite numerous instances of players seeming out of position or crowding the ball. Their only clean chance of the period came in the 35th minute, when Deandre Kerr left a ball for Colin Biros to have a clean look from 16 yards out. His effort sailed over the bar, however, and the score remained 0-0.
Almost immediately after, Wake’s Babacar Niang scored his first career goal in stunning fashion. Collecting a pass just inside the midfield line from Garrison Tubbs, Niang dribbled through multiple defenders before lacing a shot bar-down from 20 yards out. Shealy was frozen as the ball landed over the line, and Wake Forest took a 1-0 lead that they would carry into the halftime break.
The momentum stayed with the Demon Deacons out of the locker room, as Kyle Holcomb outworked Buster Sjoberg for the ball near midfield in the 50th minute. Holcomb had nothing but green ahead of him at that point, and all he had to do was maneuver around a recovering Sjoberg once more before slotting it past Shealy to double the Wake Forest advantage.
Syracuse sensed the urgency at that point, and started throwing more men forward in hopes of cutting into the lead. They would have succeeded too, if not for the outstanding play of Wake Forest GK Trace Alphin. Curt Calov played Deandre Kerr clean through on net in the 67th minute, but Alphin denied Kerr with a beautiful kick save to his right in the 1-vs-1 scenario. A few minutes later, both Manel Busquets and Hilli Goldhar had quality efforts on net, only to be denied by the freshman netminder.
The Orange continued to attack through the final minutes, but couldn’t create any more quality chances before the final whistle. While they had their moments, Syracuse ultimately didn’t play well enough for the full 90 minutes to win this one, and will have to deal with the consequences: a road trip to start the ACC Tournament next Wednesday.
Syracuse earns the 10 seed (out of 12) in the ACC Tournament. They’ll travel to Chapel Hill Wednesday to take on 7-seed North Carolina in the opening round.
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