Sports, Fall

Season Over: A Timeline Of Men’s Soccer’s Halloween

It’s Friday night, and the Boston College men’s soccer team is about to play No. 3 Syracuse. The Eagles need a win to have the chance to qualify for the ACC Tournament on the last day of regular season.

Only the top-10 teams of the 12 in the conference get into the tournament. BC sits in 11th, just behind NC State to start the evening.

In Clemson, South Carolina, the Tigers are set to play the Wolfpack. BC needs a Clemson win to supplement a possible victory over the Orange.

7:00 p.m.
10. NC State 6 pts.

  1. BC 4 pts.

7:15 p.m.
Diego Medina-Mendez has the ball on the left flank. He’s the most direct player on the team. He’s ruthless and just wants to get forward. His crosses might not look pretty, but they get the job done. He drives the ball into the box. It slips through traffic and has Syracuse goalkeeper Alex Bono beat. BC has a 1-0 lead.

  1. NC State 7 pts.

  1. BC 7 pts.

7:25 p.m.
Clemson presses high up the pitch to lock NC State into its own half. The Wolfpack is trying to possess out of the back, but the Tigers win the ball, and it gets to Austin Burnikel at the top of the box. He looks for a pass, but then looks up and sees that the keeper is off his line.

The sophomore drags the ball into space and launches a tremendous curler into the back of the net to give his the team the lead.

If results hold, the Eagles go through to the ACC Tournament, but there are still 65 minutes of soccer to play.

  1. BC 7 pts.

  1. NC State 6 pts.

7:30 p.m.
If men’s soccer’s season was to be put in further jeopardy, it’s appropriate that it would come as the result of an individual mistake. Conference points were dropped against Louisville and Duke because player’s minds switched-off for a second. When the player can’t think, skill and tactics don’t matter anymore.

Diego Medina-Mendez is defending Syracuse’s Oyvind Alseth between the edge of the 18-yard box and the touchline. The BC senior traps Alseth, but when the Orangeman cuts the ball back with the inside of his right foot, Medina-Mendez is beat. Caught out by the move, Medina-Mendez has to recover from behind, but has just one option–slide.

The play is in the penalty area though, so to play another game in college, Medina-Mendez has to get it right–but he gets it wrong. His challenge takes out the legs of the attacker, and Alseth goes to the ground. One moment later, Nick Perea steps up to the spot.

Perea tallies his third penalty of the season and it isn’t a challenge. He stutters on his run up, opens up his body, and slots his penalty to the right, as Alex Kapp dives in the opposite direction. Clemson leads, and the Eagles are tied with Syracuse.

  1. NC State 6 pts.

  1. BC 5 pts.

8:15 p.m.
Clemson has run all over the Wolfpack, and Burnikel strikes again to make it 2-0. In Upstate New York, all the Eagles need is a goal.

9:00 p.m.
In South Carolina, three whistles blow, and Clemson is victorious, while BC clings to life.

The Eagles’ struggle to get their chances, as the Orange forced Kapp to make four saves in the second half. Three additional efforts from Syracuse go off target in the period, but overtime gives the Eagles new life, because in sudden-death soccer, one chance and one conversion can put a team over the edge.

9:30 p.m.
BC holds on in the first overtime, as Syracuse bullies its way towards its opposition’s goal in search of a winner in extra time.

It nearly comes when Juuso Pasanen’s header forces Kapp to make his sixth save of the night. A second period of overtime ensues.

Dylan Pritchard’s shot wide is BC’s only chance, because three minutes after the restart, there’s a scramble in front of the Eagles’ goal. Alex Halis’ shot is blocked, but Skylar Thomas follows it up.

He blasts it into the net from point-blank range to secure the winner that puts the Eagles out of ACC Tournament contention, and ends their season.

  1. NC State 6 pts.

  1. BC 4 pts.

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Staff

November 3, 2014