SU men’s soccer faces must-win game at Cincinnati

first_imgFor the Syracuse men’s soccer team, the playoffs start five days early. The Big East tournament doesn’t begin until next Wednesday, but for the Orange to even have a chance at that, it needs to win game No. 1 of its own postseason first. Losing Saturday to Cincinnati (6-4-6, 4-1-3 Big East) in its regular-season finale would eliminate SU (2-9-5, 0-5-3 Big East) from the tournament completely. The Orange’s second season starts now. And if there were ever a game to step up to a big opponent, this is it. ‘I don’t care who we’re playing,’ SU goalie Jeremy Vuolo said. ‘I don’t care if it’s Manchester United, Cincinnati, or St. Joe’s. We’re going to come out all cylinders firing.’ With a lot riding on the game for the Orange, it is no surprise Vuolo said he is fired up for Saturday. The matchup with Cincinnati presents a chance to either make SU a contender or to end its year with only two wins. The challenge will be translating this excitement to the field. Forward Federico Agreda said the team has been equally excited for all its games. Yet it has stepped up against some unlikely opponents, and fallen apart to some unimpressive teams.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Vuolo echoed Agreda’s sentiments, saying Syracuse needs to carry the same mentality through to every game. ‘As a young team, the guys will grow into taking every game the same and putting the same weight each game,’ Vuolo said. There have been instances this season in which Syracuse does not bring enough to the field against opponents with poor records. Perhaps it was overconfidence. Perhaps it was a misconception of the other team. Going into the Sept. 28 Canisius game, for example, Canisius was 0-5-0. Syracuse was supposed to come away with an easy win. Instead the team struggled to a 1-1 tie, which Agreda said was the team’s worst game of the season. More recently against Rutgers on Oct. 23, Syracuse suffered a 3-0 loss to a team that was 0-6-0 in the Big East. Head coach Ian McIntyre said it was the team’s most disappointing loss. More than being just an embarrassing loss, the game ended up putting Rutgers ahead of Syracuse in the conference and could be the reason the Orange does not make the playoffs. ‘We’ll see how important the disappointing result against Rutgers was,’ McIntyre said. ‘We’ll see at the end of the week.’ But losing to weak opponents is just half of the tale. Syracuse also has the uncanny ability to raise its level of play to match ranked opponents. The team’s second win came against then-No. 24 Colgate. Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Louisville was also a step in the right direction against the No. 2 team in the nation. The Orange showed a persistence that was nowhere to be found against Rutgers. Defender Robbie Hughes said it was the team’s approach that drove them. ‘A lot of the time it’s mentality,’ Hughes said. ‘I think tonight we went into the game believing we could get something out of the game.’ With such varied play against opponents of markedly different skill levels, there is no way to predict which Syracuse team will come out against Cincinnati. The Bearcats are not one of the best teams SU has played this year. But at second place in the Big East’s Red Division, the Bearcats will be a formidable opponent. The significance of this game is an untested variable. It is compounded by the fact that it is senior night for the Bearcats in addition to the school’s Homecoming. The excitement surrounding Saturday should push Syracuse to keep its level of play high. And as the team looks to move past Round 1 of its playoffs, it will need to look like it did against its more challenging opponents. ‘It isn’t going to be a cakewalk,’ defender Nick Bibbs said. ‘We have to come out like its Louisville.’ alguggen@syr.edu Published on October 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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