Syracuse wins possession battle, squelches counterattacks in victory over Dartmouth

first_imgHendrik Hilpert stood up against the back netting of the goal and just a few defenders were placed on the goal line. Dartmouth forward Justin Donawa boomed his first shot from the left side of the net off of Syracuse defender Miles Robinson.Louis Cross stepped up next to the post and Amadu Kunateh’s shot struck him in the face. Kunateh dropped on his knees and pounded his fist into the ground after another Dartmouth chance sailed wide of the net.“It all happened a bit too fast,” Cross said. “I saw Miles get a block off. I thought I just need to get on the line. I saw him shaping his shot and he smacked me right in the face. I was just happy to see it go out.”“We make fun of Louis taking one in the face,” SU head coach McIntyre joked later in the press conference, “He’s a good-looking kid.”The three-shot set was one of several scoring chances SU surrendered that left Dartmouth players laid out on the SU Soccer Stadium grass when the game finished. The Orange (14-5-3, 3-4-1 Atlantic Coast) narrowly slipped past a Dartmouth (12-6-1, 6-1 Ivy) counterattack that pressured SU throughout the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe 2-1 win pushes SU to its third Sweet 16 in four years, and the Orange will play the winner of UCLA and No. 11 seed Seattle on Sunday Nov. 29 at 1 p.m.“We pride ourselves on this, we have one speed, and that’s full speed,” McIntyre said. “Sometimes that means if you are going for that third goal, you can open yourself up a little bit and I thought when the ball turned over … it caused problems.”Syracuse limited Dartmouth’s chances by simply holding possession. Even as the ball rotated back out to the midfield line, SU’s 3-5-2 formation, with five midfielders, capped the field of play to the Big Green’s side of the field.Dartmouth pushed the pace when it did get the ball back against SU’s back three of Robinson, Cross and Kamal Miller. Dartmouth blasted 13 shots to the Orange’s 14, the closest an unranked team has come to outshooting Syracuse all season.“They commit a lot of players forward and once you break their initial pressure, I think you kind of make the effort to get forward, we did a good job of that,” Dartmouth head coach Chad Riley said. “It’s hard, though. Their pressure’s very good.”In the last 20 minutes of play, Dartmouth racked up four sequences of chances that could have dissolved SU’s lead.On the first, a cross bounded into the middle of the box, unstopped by a few defenders just a few feet within the side of the 18-yard box. Kunateh battled several SU defenders in the center of the box and nicked the ball out of the air. It curved wide of the defenders and of Hilpert’s hand.The shot clanged off the post and Kunateh threw himself on the ground after the miss.Less than two minutes later, Hilpert dove from his line in front of the net to catch a cross with a Dartmouth player making a run to the ball.For about 12 minutes, the Big Green’s onslaught ceased. Dartmouth hardly held the ball long enough to push into Syracuse’s end of the field.“Jesus, get the ball back,” a Big Green coached yelled out to his team as SU held onto the ball.Eventually Syracuse did give up possession after a Kenny Lassiter shot was saved. Soon after came the series of shots that required SU’s defenders to step in for Hilpert.Kunateh then corralled a long pass as time was about to expire and blazed toward Hilpert. The offside flag had gone up, but Kunateh was taken down in the 18-yard box. His teammates thought he was fouled, appealing to the referee for a call.When the referees signaled for the end of the game, several Dartmouth players dropped to the grass.“We feel,” McIntyre said, pausing while he racked his brain, “maybe it’s not fortunate, but happy.”After all of Dartmouth’s chances, fortunate would have been apt, too. Comments Related Stories Julian Buescher assists on both Syracuse goals in NCAA tournament win Published on November 22, 2015 at 7:31 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @ChrisLibonaticenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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