It’s relatively safe to say that the 6-seed #22 Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team backed into the 2023 ACC Tournament and postseason in general. That changed Wednesday night. The Orange offense exploded in the rematch with the 11-seed NC State Wolfpack, finishing as a 5-0 rout to open their postseason with a statement. Daniel Diaz Bonilla was easily man of the match with two goals and two assists on the night, and Jaheim Wickham kept his fifth clean sheet of the season to move the Orange on to the second round.
Heading down the stretch the squad was 1-1-3 in the last five, with the loss coming against a Temple Owls team that finished 3-8-4 with their only road win on the year at Syracuse. That stretch included a draw against NC State, which was only a draw because of a late NC State own goal. That said, during this stretch, the Orange outshot their opponents 66-27 (19-11) and had 27 more corners than their opposition. They weren’t playing bad soccer, the ball just couldn’t find it’s way to the back of the net.
It found the netting in abundance during this match. The scoring opened with Gabby Mikina putting one home from outside the box in the 25th minute, assisted by former NC State defender Pablo Pedregosa. Diaz Bonilla scored his first right before the half to send the Orange into the locker room with a comfortable two goal lead. The second half was all Syracuse, as Felipe D’Agostini, Jackson Glenn and Diaz Bonilla all put one away in quick succession.
The brace mentioned before by Diaz Bonilla were his first goals on the year, despite playing in 14 matches. Jackson Glenn also opened his Orange career slate with his header. The Syracuse offense was ticking on all cylinders, and fueled by mostly substitutes. Mikina was the only starter to net one on the evening. Jeorgio Kocevski did get his league leading 11th assist on the day, helping set up D’Agonstini’s goal.
Of note for depth in future matches, junior Julius Rauch went down in the 39th minute and looked unable to put pressure on his foot after a rough challenge by NC State, right before Diaz Bonilla’s first. Syracuse was able to use eight subs during the contest and get some depth some postseason experience as well.
Syracuse will continue the path to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, November 5th at 2pm when they travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to face the 3-seed #9 Virginia Cavaliers. The broadcast will be shown on ACC Network.