Men’s Soccer Falls to No. 22 Virginia
By Luke McGrath
CitrusTV Men’s Soccer Reporter
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Conference play has proven to be quite the challenge for Syracuse in early in the 2018 campaign. The Orange (3-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) fell to No. 22 Virginia (4-0-2, 1-0-1) 2-0 Friday night.
Because of Hurricane Florence, the Orange was unable to travel to take on Clemson last week, making Friday night’s slate the first game for SU in 11 days. Almost everyone agreed it was a good rest. Before the break, SU played two matches in three days. Friday night’s results just didn’t reflect it.
“It allowed us to get some rest and then to focus on Virginia,” senior midfielder Hugo Delhommelle said. “Obviously we expected better today, but we had a good 10 days to work on what we were supposed to do and we did it well, I feel like we played well, we respected the plan from the coach, it was just unlucky.”
Set pieces have been SU’s downfall all year long and they playgued the Orange again on Friday night. After allowing all three goals in a loss to Notre Dame off resets, SU gave up a goal in the 43rd minute off a free kick where UVA’s Joe Bell played a ball into the box to Kennedy Nwabia who headed it home for his first goal of the season in demoralizing fashion for SU
“We were resilient, I thought we were outstanding in the first half against this wind and to concede right before half time, that’s difficult to take,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “But that’s on us, we owned it,”
Once the second half began, Virginia wasted no time adding an insurance goal. Just six minutes into the second half, Irakoze Donasiyano played a ball into the box that found the foot of Nathaniel Crofts who beat Hilpert for his second goal of the season.
There was no scoring after that. SU generated plenty of chances down the stretch to try to at least equalize, but the Orange were unable to find the back of the net.
“One ball in the box they got their head on it and it crossed the line, we got our head on one and it hit the cross bar and that was probably the difference in the game today,” McIntyre said.
Going forward the schedule does not get easier for SU. The Orange’s next four games all come against teams that progressed deep into last year’s NCAA Tournament, including two Elite Eight squads in Akron and Wake Forest.
“This is what we’re playing week in and week out, there’s no magic words, there’s no secret formula other than we’ll go back to practice tomorrow,” McIntyre said. “That can even intimidate the poop out of you, or you can say game on.”
Kickoff Monday versus Colgate is set for 7 p.m. at the SU Soccer Stadium.
@L_McGrath14 | Lumcgrat@syr.edu