In what’s beginning to be a theme, the sixth seeded #22 Syracuse Orange men’s soccer team took care of business against the third seeded #9 Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC Tournament. For the second year in a row the Orange ousted the ‘Hoos and for the second year in a row it was on penalties. The match finished 1-1 at full time off a 51st minute Leo Afonso goal and a Mateo Leveque equalizer in the 85th minute off a pretty Lorenzo Boselli assist. After two ten minute halves of extra time, the Orange outlasted Virginia in the shootout 5-4 to move on to face UNC in the Semifinals of the ACC Tournament.
That Leveque goal was a long time coming. Syracuse finished the match with 14 shots on target. Virginia keeper Joey Batrouni was standing on his head all day with 13 saves. Were it not for him, the game may have been a bit different, with at least four fully extended diving saves as well as a double save in the second half that would have been the game winner. The Orange finished with 24 shots to the UVA 9. Only two of those nine were on target.
In what has become a 2023 postseason tradition, Daniel Diaz Bonilla came up big for the Orange, finishing off the shootout to send the Orange home victorious. Coming off his brace and two assists against NC State, Diaz Bonilla almost put home a rocket of a winner late in extra time. He then powered his penalty top corner for the Syracuse to move on.
The Orange seem to be finding a rhythm at the right time, with both these postseason wins coming in different but impressive fashion. Opening with a five goal onslaught and then continuing with 24 shots in this matchup there was a new offensive confidence in this one. While Batrouni kept it a little too interesting, it was a deserved result for the Orange. At this point they’re in survive and advance mode, much like last season, and seemingly finding themselves at the right time. This continues a ten game postseason unbeaten streak that dates back to last year’s ACC Tournament opener.
The Orange look to extend that streak as they host the seven seed #13 North Carolina Tar Heels, who knocked off two seed #6 Wake Forest to advance to semifinals. Syracuse will host the match at the SU Soccer Stadium on Wednesday, November 8th, time TBD. It will be televised on ACC Network.