The last few weeks have been an up-and-down roller coaster for Boston College men’s soccer, as the Eagles beat No. 3 Wake Forest and tied No. 1 Virginia but then lost back-to-back conference games. On Friday night, BC had a chance to close out the regular season on a high note, and in a game against Syracuse that had playoff seeding implications, the Eagles did just that.
In the 78th minute, freshman forward Mike Suski buried a shot past Orange goalkeeper Christian Miesch, rifling it in from 12 yards out off a feed from Stefan Sigurdarson, which proved to be the game-winner in a 2-1 victory.
Suski didn’t earn a start against Syracuse (7-5-4, 2-4-2 Atlantic Coast) but came on in the 33rd minute after the visitors took an early 1-0 lead. He ended up turning in 55 minutes for the Eagles (8-4-3, 2-4-2), who overcame the deficit despite playing a chunk of the game down a man after Joe Kellett was sent off with a red card.
With the win, BC locked up the No. 9 seed in the ACC and will travel to face No. 8 Notre Dame on Tuesday in the first round of the conference tournament. A victory over the Irish—who the Eagles last played in 2018 and lost, 1-0—would advance BC to the quarterfinals, where they’d play top-seeded Clemson.
The Orange took the lead in the 33rd minute after a particularly hard foul from Eagles defender David Longo. It merited a yellow card, and Syracuse capitalized on the ensuing free kick. Ryan Raposo stepped up from 22 yards out and buried it inside the near post, beating BC goaltender Christian Garner. Garner, who has started the last three games, was impressive overall and finished with four saves.
Kellett was tossed in the 41st minute after a hard foul, but BC had an impressive answer. In the 42nd minute, Sigurdarson sent a through ball on a counterattack to Amos Shapiro-Thompson, who made no mistake from 16 yards out and tucked it past Miesch. It was a strong finish from the freshman, who had scored three goals in his first four career games but had gone quiet since then and missed some time with injury.
The Eagles closed out the half strong but were reeling out of intermission. Syracuse had a man advantage and created the balance of shots, with Julio Fulcar and Sondre Norheim both getting good looks on net. The physicality was increasing, and Nyal Higgins earned a yellow card in the 49th minute for the visitors. Higgins would be back at it again in the 71st minute, this time earning a red card, and the rest of the match was played 10-on-10.
That worked to BC’s benefit, as it struck for the go-ahead goal shortly after Higgins’ card. Suski, who had a shot saved by Miesch in the 67th minute, scored just six minutes after the playing field was leveled. That sparked a surge from the hosts, with the Eagles rattling off four more shots in the next three minutes, but they couldn’t find an insurance goal.
That didn’t matter in the end, though, as Syracuse didn’t get a shot off in the final 10 minutes of action. It was a gritty win for BC, as the Orange entered the day ahead of the Eagles in the conference standings. Instead of having to travel to face North Carolina—a team that also blanked BC last season—the Eagles face a slightly easier opponent in Notre Dame.
Behind Longo, Victor Souza, and Tyshawn Rose, BC’s defense rose to the occasion after surrendering the free kick goal and slowing the Orange’s pace of play. Then, Sigurdarson—who has six goals and four assists this year—stepped up twice to power the offense. The Eagles have the pieces to make a run in the ACC Tournament, but it’ll be a matter of being more consistent and turning in a similar effort to the one they did against the Orange.
Featured Image by Nicholas Newbold / For The Heights