No. 16 Syracuse shutout for 1st time this season in 1-0 loss to No. 4 Clemson

first_img Published on October 17, 2015 at 11:47 pm Contact Connor: | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+ Ian McIntyre knew the biggest question surrounding his team before this season. After losing nearly 70 percent of its offensive production from last season, the Syracuse head coach wondered if his team could net enough goals to contend.But through 14 games the Orange has averaged over two goals per game — yet to be shutout before Saturday— outpacing last year’s team that averaged 1.76 goals each contest.Defenses haven’t been able to pinpoint an offensive ringleader with six players boasting three or more goals. Saturday night SU’s versatile offense finally met its match in Clemson — who’s defense has the second-fewest goals allowed in the Atlantic Coast Conference.“Sometimes it’s a bitter pill to swallow,” McIntyre said. “…I thought we had enough chances to kind of get something tonight.”So often this season Syracuse bullied teams in time of possession, but the No. 4 Tigers (11-1-2, 4-1-1 ACC) didn’t give in to No. 16 SU (9-4-1, 2-3-1) and dealt the Orange its first shutout loss of the season, 1-0, on Saturday night at SU Soccer Stadium.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe lone goal of the match came off the foot of Kyle Murphy, who darted across an open field after stealing the ball away from SU’s Oyvind Alseth at midfield.The Syracuse midfielder wasn’t made available to speak to the media after the conclusion of the game.Alseth was part of the Orange’s midfield unit that relentlessly tried slotting passes up the field to forwards Chris Nanco and Ben Polk, with Nanco coming away with no shots on goal compared to Polk’s three.“At the end of the day it hurts,” Polk said. “It’s a real kick in the teeth.”Syracuse tried ambushing the Clemson offense early, with Nanco seemingly daring the Tigers’ defense to beat him in a foot race on through balls down the sideline.Nanco got tangled with Clemson defender Patrick Bunk-Anderse down the sideline in one of his first attempts to corral a through ball. Midfielder Julian Buescher tried rescuing Nanco and took the ball further into the corner, but two Tigers defenders turned him away and regained possession.It was just the beginning of SU’s battle of attrition on offense.“(Clemson) did a good job trying to limit some of the things we did,” McIntyre said.In the opening 45 minutes Syracuse pressed Clemson consistently, setting up seven corner kicks but forcing goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell to make only one save in that span.Alseth and midfielder Liam Callahan teamed up to try and split Clemson’s counterattack, ultimately forcing another corner in their bid. The ensuing kick came acutely off Alseth’s foot and rolled along the back line before a Tigers defender inadvertently tapped it out to set up another SU attempt.Buescher was behind the set piece this time, and sent the ball into the mosh of players in front of the net. It ricocheted to the top of the box where Kamal Miller fired a shot high over the net, causing him to cover his face in disgust.“In games like this, the fine details like set pieces can be the difference,” Polk said. “Today we didn’t capitalize.”The Orange gradually was cornered into less advantageous spots as the game progressed, with Polk at one point encircled by five Tigers defenders as he held the ball in front of the box for a brief moment.In one of the final climactic moments for Syracuse, Buescher reached down to tie his shoes before taking a free kick. The crowd of 1,582 rumbled its feet on the bleachers for the duration of Buescher’s housekeeping, reaching a crescendo as the Syracuse midfielder’s foot finally struck the ball.The mob of forwards, midfielders and even defenders moved leftward across the box as the kick curved that direction. With too much finesse on it, the ball landed before the mob of players could reach it and it bounced once before resting in the hands of Tarbell.It was emblematic of an uncharacteristic night from SU’s offense. When it seemed just one goal would provide a sense of finality, SU’s kicks eluded the back of the net.Said Polk: “(The ball) just didn’t go in for us today.” Commentslast_img

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