Syracuse Outlasts Virginia, Wins on Penalty Kicks

Sunday, Nov 05, 2023 at 7:41 pm by Sports Editor

By: Adam Gotkin | @adam_gotkin

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — In a win-or-go-home game on the road, Syracuse men’s soccer had one of its best offensive performances of the season. While the Orange only found the back of the net once, they set season-highs in both shots and shots on goal.

The first half was dominated by SU who outshot UVA 8-3. From the jump, the ‘Cuse showed a sense of aggression that hasn’t been seen much this year. In the 5th minute, Jeorgio Kocevski received a pass inside the box and sent it towards cage. It was saved, but the shot was the first on net for Kocevski in close to a month.

The Orange had a couple of other decent chances in the first half but couldn’t break through. The start of the second half was disastrous for Syracuse. In the 51st minute, Leo Afonso was in the right place at the right time and poked a loose ball past Jahiem Wickham and into the net. The goal was the 4th in as many matches against Syracuse for Afonso.

Syracuse continued to pressure throughout the second half but couldn’t seem to find the ball of the next, an issue that is all too familiar for the ‘Cuse. Even though more shots were on net, UVA goalkeeper Joey Batrouni had the match of his life. The junior set a season high in saves with 13, which was more than double his previous high this season.

SU continued to attack though and create chances. As time wound down, the Orange got more aggressive. Eventually, Mateo Leveque received a ball at the top of the box, made a run toward the middle of the field, and got his shot past Batrouni to even the score in the 84th minute.

That sent the match to overtime, which didn’t see much action in the 20 minutes. UVA had the best chance as Leo Afonso had a one-on-one with Jahiem Wickham with less than a minute but skied his shot. That sent the match to penalty kicks.

The first round of penalties couldn’t have gone worse for the Orange. Afonso slotted home his opportunity, then Lorenzo Boselli missed his first chance putting the ‘Cuse down. Both teams made their second-round shots, then to start the third, Aidan O’Connor missed his penalty to give the Orange a chance. Jeorgio Kocveski and Noah Singlemann both made their shots while Daniel Mangarov made his for the Cavaliers.

That evened things up going into the 5th round, meaning it was time for sudden death. Mouhameth Thiam who has been one of the top scorers all year for UVA missed his penalty. Daniel Diaz Bonilla, the hero last time out against NC State stepped up again and converted on his shot to give Syracuse the victory.

Syracuse will host North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday. A kickoff time has not yet been announced but it will be either 6 p.m. or 8 p.m.