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Syracuse men’s soccer: It’s ‘survive and advance’ in the ACC Tournament

The Orange are now playing to keep playing

NCAA Men’s Divison I Soccer Championship - Round Two
Yes, I know it’s not current players, but it’s what we’ve got to work with... Miles is still playing in Atlanta!
Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

When the Syracuse Orange left Dorrance Field on Tuesday, elated for the second time this season. As the 10-seed, the Orange (7-5-5, 2-4-2) took on the 7-seed North Carolina Tar Heels (7-7-4, 3-5-0) in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The Orange were able to walk away the victors, 5-3 on penalties, after a 0-0 draw through regular time. Christian Miesch adjusted and made the save in the opening frame, giving Syracuse the advantage, and Matt Orr sealed the fifth penalty to advance to the second round where the Orange will meet the Virginia Cavaliers.

Through the match, the sides looked relatively even, though Syracuse was putting more shots on frame, forcing seven saves from the Tar Heel keeper. UNC did have an offside goal disallowed in the 85th minute, allowing the scoreless draw to continue through the two extra time periods and into the shootout. It’s the second time this year and the second time in two ACC Tournament meetings that the Orange have advanced past the Tar Heels on penalties, though UNC did beat the Syracuse the last time the two met in the NCAA Tournament, advancing by a goal in 2016 in the snow game played at Onondaga Community College.

The Orange move on to face the Virginia Cavaliers. UVA is ranked second in the country and is the 4-seed in the tournament. As they were in the top four, they received a bye last round and will be entering the tournament in the game against Syracuse. Through the season, the Cavaliers were the top in the country until their only loss of the season in mid October to a much improved Pittsburgh squad. The Hoos are an extremely balanced team, with only one player topping twenty points on the season.

On the season, the Orange are unranked in all polls, but sitting in the 28th spot in the RPI. With that, and a game ahead, that should boost their resume even with a loss, the Orange should be firmly in the NCAA Tournament. A win against a very good UVA side would guarantee it and remove any and all doubt. It would also show that a team that is coming off some injuries is putting it all together at the right time of the year.

Kickoff on Sunday from Klöckner Stadium in Charlottesville will be at 1:00pm, with the Orange again playing underdog and on the road. The match will be broadcast on the ACC Network and can of course be streamed on the ESPN app.