MEN'S SOCCER: BC Holds Off Aggressive Syracuse Offense For Conference Win
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 23:10
Just eight minutes in, the Eagles had already scored two goals looked on their way to a dominant victory.
“We got off to such a great start and then we went bananas. We must have thought we were going to kill them or something,” Boston College head coach Ed Kelly said after his team’s 3-2 victory over Syracuse.
BC got off to a flying start on Tuesday night with scores from junior Matt Wendelken and sophomore Diego Medina-Mendez before conceding a goal to a feisty Syracuse side in the 15th minute. The Orange leveled the proceedings after halftime, but a winner from Nick Butler sealed a third point for BC, giving the team its third win in ACC play.
The Eagles were bereft of goalkeeper Keady Segel, who had a broken finger, and full back Amit Shumowitz, who was dealing with a hamstring injury. This forced Kelly to pair Butler at center back with Nick Corliss. Chris Ager played at left back, and Wendelken took the right side of the defense
Atrobra Ampadu and Giuliano Frano were the team’s center midfield pairing.
BC’s wingers got off to an excellent start, dominating the flanks early in the match. Derrick Boateng showed off his silky touch, while Medina-Mendez’s direct play got the Eagles closer to goal.
Coach Kelly went with a 4-4-2 formation against the Orange, which used a 4-4-1-1.
The Eagles’ freshman strike duo of Zeiko Lewis and Isaac Normesinu was at the top of its game. They linked up extraordinarily well to create the opener after six minutes of play. A combination between the two helped the ball find Medina-Mendez on the left. The junior midfielder whipped the ball into the box, and found Wendelken’s head. Coming all the way from right back to pound the ball past the keeper, the header was textbook, as Wendelken leaped above his mark to nod the ball off the ground and by Syracuse keeper Alex Bono.
The tandem helped double the team’s lead two minutes later. A few short passes between Lewis and Normesinu got them inside the 18-yard box. Lewis’ ball across to his fellow striker trickled around, before Medina-Mendez struck it by Bono from 15 yards.
“They were electric in the first half,” Kelly said, who rued that his team had so many other opportunities to score during the match.- “There were so many chances that we broke that we didn’t get the last pass in. There were so many times we couldn’t connect that last pass.”
Syracuse started to get a foot into the match though, and its efforts came to fruition when they halved the BC lead. A cross from the right side by Oyvind Alseth found Chris Nanco on the far post. The midfielder then knocked the ball across to forward Emil Ekblom, who raised his leg to direct the ball past Alex Kapp.
After the goal, Syracuse gained more possession of the ball, and for the next quarter of an hour, the Orange brought the BC offense to a standstill.
A long ball from Wendelken found Normesinu’s diagonal run after a half hour of play, but the skilled winger could not create enough space to finish.
The Orange had multiple chances to level just before the break, but a long throw-in and pair of corners were batted away by a shaky Eagles defense.
Syracuse’s siege continued after the intermission. A knuckling volley from Grant Chong whisked by Kapp’s post, and the diagonal runs of Emil Ekblom were difficult for the Eagles to track.
Ekblom, who was dangerous throughout the evening, found his way by Kapp again on 53 minutes. A ball from behind the halfway mark by Syracuse left back Jordan Murrell sought out Ekblom. The Norwegian’s sublime control allowed him to blast his effort into the far post’s upper triangle, leveling the match at 2-2.
“It was a great goal, but they fell asleep,” Kelly said of the defense.
Seeing his team begin to lose its shape, Kelly shifted his formation immediately after his team conceded. Cole DeNormandie replaced Boateng—who had featured as a right midfielder—and played as a forward. Lewis dropped into “the hole” and Normesinu moved out to the right due to the substitution.