Photo courtesy of BC Men's Soccer / Twitter

Eagles Tie No. 4 Syracuse 1-1

History didn’t repeat itself exactly in BC’s last regular season match, but there were some striking similarities to the NC State game from last year, right down to a penalty kick awarded in the second half. Unlike last year though, the new NCAA overtime rules meant that at the end of 90 minutes, the Eagles tied No. 4 Syracuse 1-1 on Friday.  

Walker Davey was the hero for the Eagles, scoring his first career goal in the 12th minute, off a corner kick. Tyshawn Rose earned the corner and Ted Cargill stepped up to take it, launching the ball into the box, curling towards the back post. Davey, crashing in from near the penalty spot, managed to get his head on the ball, redirecting it to the far-post upper-corner netting to put the Eagles ahead 1-0.

The Eagles would hold the 1-0 lead until the 65th minute, when Jonathan Murphy crashed into a Syracuse player in the box. His tackle got enough leg to prompt the referee to whistle for a penalty kick, despite the BC defense arguing strenuously against the call. Jeorgio Kocenski stepped up to the spot to take the kick, facing down BC keeper Brennan Klein, who looked like he wanted to get the whole ordeal over with. On the whistle, Kocenski took a long run up, faking that he was going right, before snapping off a shot across his body to the left, tucking the ball just inside the post to make the score 1-1.

From the start, the Eagles came ready to play. They pushed the pace in the first twenty minutes of the first half. Sensing that Syracuse had no answer to Rose, BC would send in a diagonal ball or find Rose with a short pass and send him flying down the touchline to send a cross into the box. In the first half, the Eagles registered five shots, scoring on one and forcing Syracuse goalkeeper Russell Shealy to make a save on another.

The early goal helped to boost the Eagles’ confidence, though Syracuse managed to shift momentum in the second, running at the Eagles backline and trying to find space. Luckily for the Eagles, Victor Souza, in his first game back since the matchup against Duke, looked solid. He helped organize the defense and provided several diving clears in the box for BC. As the amount of possession switched to favor Syracuse, BC had to rely on chances generated by a counter-attack in transition, though no one had much luck finding Stefan Sigurdarson.

In the second half, Syracuse dominated the game, pushing forward and forcing the BC defense to make several desperation clears, unable to build a steady possession game under the pressure. Leading up to the Syracuse goal, Souza blocked a shot that had all the makings of a goal and the ensuing corner kick had a chance sail just over the crossbar. Then, as frustration mounted, Sam White and Amos Shapiro-Thompson were booked, putting the Eagles on notice that the referee was calling a strict game. Both of those cards preceded the penalty kick.

As the minutes ticked down, it was once again Klein who helped keep the Eagles in the game by making a save. After drawing three BC players to him, a Syracuse player fed the ball through the defense into the box, finding Lorenzo Boselli in alone on goalkeeper Klein. At the right corner of the six-yard box, Boselli sent a left-footed shot towards the near-post top corner. Klein, prepared to have to dive across the mouth of the goal, instead managed to knock the ball away with his right hand, deflecting the ball out for a corner kick.

All told, despite this being the one game where possession would have helped the Eagles, the way the team played bodes well heading into ACC tournament play. Finally gelling, the team is finding consistency and chemistry when it matters, with players more comfortable slotting in and out of positions as injuries require. The best fifteen minutes of play came in the opening of the first half, where the Eagles managed to combine pressure and possession to create chances.

The Eagles (4-6-5) begin ACC tournament play on Wednesday, November 2nd, at 6:00pm against UNC. The last time the two teams met it was a 1-1 tie, with both goals coming off of set pieces. BC played well without Cargill and Victor Souza, who will both be eligible for the Wednesday night match up, as well as Diego Ochoa, who has missed the past two games due to card accumulation.

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