Syracuse’s late second-half push not enough in 2-1 loss to Duke

first_imgKamal Miller and Hendrik Hilpert were 10-feet apart near the center circle when their legs gave out. Both fell to the grass at SU Soccer Stadium, hung their heads low and stared at the ground. By Syracuse’s penalty box, Johannes Pieles lifted his jersey over his head and screamed into it. Over the game’s final 34 minutes, Syracuse didn’t allow a shot, created eight chances of its own and halved its deficit. Yet the trio sauntered over to the SU bench Friday night to join their teammates after a third loss in as many games. “We dug ourselves a hole,” head coach Ian McIntyre said. “and we almost dug ourselves out of it.”Despite a late second-half push, No. 11 Syracuse (4-3-2, 0-2-1 Atlantic Coast) came up short against unranked Duke (6-1-1, 2-1-0), 2-1 at SU Soccer Stadium. The Orange failed to take advantage of more possession and shots (13-4) for the second consecutive game, previously being upset by Cornell, 1-0, in overtime, on Tuesday. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJosh Shub-Seltzer | Contributing PhotographerIn the second half, players in orange and blue jerseys pushed the ball forward at a frantic pace, sending crosses through the night sky but losing 50-50 balls. In the 53rd minute, Duke’s Markus Fjørtoft rose in the air and knocked a header past Hilpert to make it 2-0. The defensive lapse sparked the Orange offense and midfielders entered the attacking-third frequently, trading defensive stability for more opportunities. The Blue Devils created a wall near their penalty box, inviting in the oncoming rush. After the game, midfielder John-Austin Ricks called it the best offensive effort of the season.  “When you’re two-nil down at home against a team playing 11-men behind the ball,” sophomore captain Mo Adams said. “you got nothing to lose, man. It’s better to lose 3-1 than not getting a goal.”In the 78th minute, the offense broke through. A cross by Pieles curved in from the right-wing of SU’s attack. It was gathered by Jan Breitenmoser and with a back-heel flick and a tap-in by Jonathan Hagman, SU was one goal closer. After scoring, Hagman rushed to the ball in an attempt to bring it to the midline to save time. Using the adrenaline of a goal, the offense pressed even more men forward, using all but the backline and Hilpert as attacking pieces. Whenever a Duke player stole the ball, groups of SU players swarmed him to get it back.  “We were able to play around them,” Ricks said. “switch the ball a couple times around, penetrate the midfield line, we were able to pressure them.”Josh Shub-Seltzer | Contributing PhotographerMcIntyre sensed time running out. In the 80th minute, Pieles’ desperation turned into a yellow card as he tripped up a Blue Devil midfielder. On the sideline, McIntyre threw his arms in the air. Moments later, an errant Blue Devil pass went out of bounds a few feet from SU’s bench. McIntyre hurried over, grabbed it and flicked it to one of his players and told them to push the offense. With eight minutes left, Tajon Buchanan found space in front of Pulisic, shot and watched the ball get deflected away. On the ensuing corner, Buchanan was unmarked in the penalty box but Hugo Delhommelle’s cross was too high.SU had one last chance with 21 seconds remaining. In front of the SU bench, Delhommelle dropped to the ground as he attempted a cross. The ball hit off of a defender’s shin and traveled high in the air over Miller and Hilpert — SU’s last line of defense. “We had energy,’ Hagman said. “we created chances. We had everything today except goals.” Comments Published on September 22, 2017 at 11:24 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nick_a_alvarez Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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