Syracuse applies extra defensive pressure to shutout Boston College in Elite Eight

first_imgNoah Rhynhart and Liam Callahan flanked defenders Kamal Miller, Louis Cross and Miles Robinson as Syracuse’s wings dropped back.After pressuring for 78 minutes, the Orange was able to pack in its defense. A Ben Polk goal had put Syracuse up, 1-0, the first time it led against Boston College in the teams’ two meetings.The Orange’s typical 3-5-2 transformed more into a 5-3-2, stopping any last ditch efforts BC squeaked out.SU head coach Ian McIntyre was only able to pack his defense in because of Polk’s goal and the in-progress clean sheet. The few chances unseeded Boston College (11-8-2, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) earned, the No. 6 seed Orange (16-5-3, 3-4-1) shut down in a 1-0 Elite Eight win.Just three months ago, the defense was trying to replace its whole back line from last year. Over time, it’s been successful in doing so. The Orange has yet to allow more than one goal in any postseason game and tallied its fourth clean sheet in seven games. SU will face No. 2 seed Clemson (17-2-3, 6-1-1), who the Orange split two games with this season, on Friday in the Final Four at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“The three boys are just winning balls and being aggressive and tackling and concentrating on what’s going on,” BC head coach Ed Kelly said. “… No secrets, they’re just good athletes and good players.”The last time the two teams played, SU gave up seven first-half shots and two goals. This time it gave up no shots in the first half. That game was the last SU has lost this season. Simon Enstrom, who scored one of the goals by intercepting a pass from SU goalie Hendrik Hilpert and assisted on another to Trevor Davock in that game, was held in check on Saturday.A few times he motioned to the referee about a call, inciting one fan to yell and ask him why he “pranced” around the field. Kelly yanked them each from the game in favor of Isaac Normesinu and Dylan Pritchard at times.“I definitely have got two quick defenders by the side of me with Kamal and Miles,” Cross said of keeping up with BC’s pace. “Just being tight with assignments.”As Robinson turned away corner after corner, he evoked the tall, athletic defenders like Skylar Thomas, Tyler Hilliard and Jordan Murrell that allowed just seven goals all of last season. They, at times, were just feet away from Robinson, as they leaned up against the SU soccer barrier that separates the hill from the playing field.“You had a pretty special Syracuse defense sitting in the crowd,” McIntyre said before turning to Cross, “… This guy here was outstanding.”He then dipped into a list of players for Boston College, naming off some of their best offensive weapons. None of them were on the score sheet for anything other than a shot.Just a few months ago, the defense was inexperienced, having played a total of eight college soccer games. The goalie behind them, Austin Aviza, was also a freshman and filling in for Hilpert, who hurt his quadriceps in the preseason.Hilpert recalled starting a scrimmage against Georgetown in the preseason two weeks ago and only having less than half of a week to prepare with players he had never played with before.Against Boston College a month ago, while he was still getting used to his teammates, that resulted in an errant pass that Enstrom took advantage of.He vowed that it wouldn’t happen again before SU’s game against BC and it didn’t. This time, the unit stood strong.“If you can keep clean sheets like we did today,” McIntyre said. “There’s goals in this team.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Ben Polk header launches Syracuse to 1st Final Four in program historycenter_img Published on December 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonatilast_img

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