Unfortunately the Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team is heading home from the ACC Tournament early this season. The Orange were bested last night by the Virginia Tech Hokies, 3-1, in an open and flowing match at Thompson Field in Blacksburg, Virginia. The Orange now sit awaiting a potential at-large selection to the NCAA tournament.
The Orange trotted out what has become the default starting lineup, Massimo Ferrin, Tajon Buchanan and Ryan Raposo up top, with Hugo Delhommelle and Jonathan Hagman underneath them. Djimon Johnson started in the holding role and the backline and keeper of course remained unchanged.
In the 15th minute, Hendrick Hilpert made another solid save, forcing a Hokies corner. Viriginia Tech served the ball in, without a solid clearance for Syracuse . Midfielder David Sanz put a boot to the missed clearance hard enough that Hilpert had no shot at it. The shot from the top of the box opened the scoring for the Hokies.
Syracuse was unable to mount much in the first half, only two shots to their name. The Virginia Tech defense held stout against a ‘Cuse attack that normally can put some points on the board. There were a few missed crosses that could have ended up shots, there were a few takeaways, but no matter what, only two shots in a half can be rough.
The Orange came out the gates attacking, earning a corner in the first minute. They kept the pressure on the entire half, mounting almost 20 shots. In the 50th minute, Delhommelle sent in a great free kick that was spilled by Tech keeper Mathijs Swaneveld. The ball dropped to Tajon Buchanan who couldn’t convert the sliding finish and put it off the crossbar.
With 34 minutes to play, the Hokies ended up sniping a second goal, when Sondre Norheim attempted to head a ball back to Hilpert, which Kristo Strickler headed into the back of the net through some hard contact from Hilpert trying to clear. This put SU back on the attack, but Swaneveld was standing on his head for most of the night, on any attempt on frame.
Ryan Raposo pulled one back late in the match, shrinking the lead to one, off a Jan Breitenmoser cross. The hard strike went off the keeper’s shin and into the back of the net. Syracuse continued to keep the tempo up to try and snag one in the late stage to equalize. However soon after, with the Orange pressing on, the Hokies hit the counter hard, ending up with a clear one on one with the keeper. Nico Quashie effectively sealed the deal for the Hokies, extending the scoreline to 3-1.
The Orange fall to 7-6-4 on the year and 1-4-3 in conference. They now await their fate and see if the RPI is enough to vault them into the NCAA tournament. The selection show is November 12. In the meantime, SU will get some much needed rest, and if selected, will be quite fresh for the tournament.