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Syracuse men’s soccer drops 1-0 heartbreaker to North Carolina

The Orange capped off another impressive season with a rough finish.

Steve Haller

On what could only be described as a miserable, wintry mix of an afternoon, the Syracuse Orange looked to keep on moving forward in the NCAA tournament against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Unfortunately that vision came up short, 1-0, due to a Jeremy Kelly goal against the run of play in the 32nd minute. The Orange finish the season with a 12-4-4 record, reaching their fourth NCAA Tournament in the last five years and eclipsing the ten-win mark for the fifth straight season.

The game began on the Onondaga Community College pitch in a bit of a drizzle, further changing conditions from the originally intended SU Soccer Stadium pitch. I can only imagine that neither team had played much on rain soaked artificial pitches. You could tell the teams were getting used to the pitch and conditions when they came out, resulting in a back and forth first few minutes.

North Carolina had a solid few looks before Syracuse almost broke through on a nice through ball by Sergio Camargo to Johannes Pieles in the fourteenth minute. The balled played Pieles in on James Pyle for a one on one. The chance was decent, though a very solid save by the UNC keeper kept the threat neutralized.

Again, a few back and forth minutes resulted in nothing other than a Syracuse inability to stay onside against a disciplined UNC back four and a few beautiful Hendrik Hilpert saves. The attack/counter continued into the 31st minute with Syracuse controlling some play and a nice bit of buildup. An unfortunate turnover and quick counter by Jeremy Kelly resulted in the only goal of the match.

After the goal and quite noticeably in the second half, North Carolina hunkered down in their stingy defensive set. Numerous times the Orange would probe, Chris Nanco had a few decent looks and some other long range shots were put a bit wide. Though the Orange controlled the ball, there was no way to pierce the UNC bus that was parked in front of net and Syracuse was forced to walk away with a bitter end to the season.

This was the last match for a senior class that will go out along with last years seniors as probably the most successful in program history. They have the second-most wins of any senior class, only to last years total, they have been part of the program’s first number one ranking, an ACC Championship, a trip to the College Cup (program first) and some of the best soccer that’s been played at Syracuse over the years.

Overall a career that Oyvind Alseth, Oskar Sewerin, Liam Callahan, Louis Cross, and Chris Nanco as well as Sergio Camargo who came in this year as a grad transfer and Miles Robinson who most likely will be leaving this year, can be proud of.