Syracuse reaches Elite Eight for 1st time in program history with 3-1 win over Seattle

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Liam Callahan links Syracuse’s defense and attack in 3-1 win over Seattle Julian Buescher asked for a box score and scanned the page. He let out a prolonged, “Yeah,” while he wagged his right pointer finger.“I needed that one,” Buescher said as he gathered up his cleats and drawstring bag and left the foyer of Ensley Athletic Center.He was referring to his assist on Kamal Miller’s goal, the one that buried Seattle and propelled Syracuse to its first Elite Eight ever. Buescher had set up the free kick and booted it through the 18-yard box. Redhawks goalie Shane Haworth saw the ball bound through the box, expecting someone to poke it toward the net.Instead it bounced in front of Haworth, who dropped to his knees and tried to knock it away. The ball caromed to Miller, who smashed the shot into the back of the net.“It popped in front of me and my eyes kind of lit up,” Miller said, “saying ‘Do I really have this chance right now?’ I knew I had to put it away to secure the game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe free kick yielded Syracuse’s second goal via a set piece, the first coming just one minute, 30 seconds into the game. The two set pieces allowed No. 6 seed SU (15-5-3, 3-4-1 Atlantic Coast) to stun, then finish No. 11 seed Seattle (18-4-1, 9-1 Western Athletic).In the Sweet 16 last season against Georgetown, the Orange saw its 1-0 lead evaporate on two set pieces. After flipping the script this season, SU will play unseeded Boston College at SU Soccer Stadium at 2 p.m. on Dec. 5.“Set pieces can change matches,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “It’s about quality service.”Seattle stumbled out of the gate slowly. It took 15 minutes for the Redhawks to gain possession inside of the Orange’s 18-yard box. In those 15 minutes, Seattle’s one foul was its only mark in the box score.One minute, 30 seconds into the game, SU midfielder Liam Callahan blasted a corner kick into the box. Defender Miles Robinson separated from his defender and made a run through the 6-yard box, knocking the ball to the left of Haworth, who couldn’t punch it away.“Miles will tell you it was a thundering header from about 6 inches,” McIntyre joked after the game.Although it wouldn’t stand as the game-winning goal, the corner kick allowed SU to land a decisive blow on an already wobbly Redhawks squad.SU used the goal to bear down on Seattle, pushing its three defenders forward and holding lengthy possessions. In the first half of the first 45 minutes, McIntyre yelled several times, “Keep dropping Kamal, keep dropping Kamal,” as the defender ran back from an offensive possession.Fewer than 20 minutes after the first goal, Syracuse got another when Seattle cracked under the Orange’s pressure. Callahan tapped a cross into the box and Noah Rhynhart blasted a shot off of a Seattle defender and into the net.“We couldn’t get ourselves going and that’s because of their tough pressure,” Seattle head coach Pete Fewing said. “We had a hard time getting a rhythm because it closed down so quick.”Four minutes after Seattle forward David Olsen scored from the ground by poking the ball through SU goalie Hendrik Hilpert’s knees, Miller scored his free-kick goal.Miller ran from the far side of the field to the Syracuse bench, but slowed down with his last few steps and danced into his teammates’ embrace after the goal that put Syracuse up, 3-1.“They had us on the ropes,” McIntyre said. “So to score that third goal as quickly as we did after Olsen scores … it gave us that breathing room to kind of get over the line today.”Against Georgetown in the Sweet 16 last season, SU held the Hoyas scoreless until the 80th minute. First a back-post cross and then a front-post cross, both on corners, ended SU’s season in overtime. Georgetown closed Syracuse’s season for the second time in three years.After that game last year, some players stayed on the field. Jordan Murrell sat on the field alone, Nick Perea stayed motionless. Then-backup goalie Matt Stith sobbed.This time, however, Stith, who is still at Syracuse but not as a player, walked onto the field on Sunday with an ear-to-ear grin. The celebration was subdued as players consoled Seattle players.But Stith, who watched the game with SU players who were hurt or not playing, dapped up teammates in a white sweatshirt with an orange 13 emblazoned on the back.This Sweet 16 was different. Commentscenter_img Published on November 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonatilast_img

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