Syracuse boosts postseason chances with 2-1 win over N.C. State

first_img Published on October 23, 2015 at 11:42 pm Contact Chris: cjlibona@syr.edu | @ChrisLibonati At the railing of SU Soccer Stadium, as some fans cleared out, a few stuck around to serenade Louis Cross.“We love you Louis, yes we do!” they chanted.In addition to the kids waiting for autographs, there were three fans, each holding a cardboard cutout head — one with Juuso Pasanen on it, another with Julian Buescher and the last with Ben Polk.After a 2-1 win against North Carolina State, Cross’ parents stood at the railing. Players, alumni and the fans with the signs posed for pictures. “It’s weird,” Cross said of being serenaded. “It’s great to have my parents out here as well for their last game to get a goal.”Cross’ front-post header with less than five minutes left in No. 15 SU’s (10-4-2, 3-3-1 Atlantic Coast) game against North Carolina State (8-4-3, 1-3-3) saved the Orange’s postseason hopes. Head coach Ian McIntyre and SU won 10 games for the fourth straight season after combining for just eight in the three seasons prior.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite two devastating losses to then-No. 2 North Carolina and then-No. 4 Clemson and a tie against Hartford, SU regained its footing against the Wolfpack after nearly 75 minutes of futility.“I’m sure as soon as I leave you guys, people will start telling me results,” McIntyre said. “It was important to get to 10 points. It keeps us in front of some very good teams.”SU was losing for seven minutes against N.C. State. Wolfpack players fumbled the ball around the 18-yard box with about 23 minutes left in the game. The ball finally landed on the feet of midfielder Julius Duchscherer, who kicked a slow-rolling shot into the bottom right corner.A group of five SU defenders and midfielders all looked in different directions after the goal. Cross had his hands on his knees. The 1-0 Wolfpack lead gave the game a familiar feel to both the UNC and Clemson games. Goals in the last 30 minutes during each of those contests downed SU, 2-1 and 1-0, respectively.“Come on, put it back,” McIntyre shouted about the ball to his players as they ran back to restart play.“To go down,” Polk said, “It was like, ‘Oh, uh oh, we need sort this out.’”Minutes later, Polk played the ball with his back to defenders. Not having seen a shred of space between the closing defenders behind him, Polk swung around and booted the ball. The defenders snipped any gap the ball could have rolled through.But only after the shot snuck into the bottom right corner of the net and past the shielded goalie.Polk’s goal warmed the frozen fans, who cheered a little bit louder.“It was one of them where I just took the touch and on a swivel just as fast as I could,” Polk said. “Lucky, I think it went through the kid’s legs.”Ten minutes later, the fans stomped the metal bleachers louder than they had all game as midfielder Liam Callahan crossed in a corner kick. The service found Cross, who headed in the last goal SU would need.Cross skirted all 10 players chasing him, running all the way across the field into a circle of teammates at the end of the bench.“A bit surreal, isn’t it?” Cross said. “The clock was running down and I saw space on the front post.”The goal allowed SU to leap Boston College in the ACC standings after the Eagles’ loss on Friday. After losing six starters, about 30 percent of its offense and its whole back line, two newcomers to SU’s starting lineup — Polk and Cross — teamed up to kick the Orange into the postseason again.A graveyard of popcorn boxes, rosters and other papers remained in the bleachers in the aftermath of Syracuse blowing two leads to tie Hartford 2-2 in double overtime.This time, fans filled the bleachers until the end and made their way to the railing to celebrate what could be SU’s last home game this season.“We’re a good team and there’s a chance we wouldn’t make the ACC tournament. We needed enough points,” McIntyre said. “It’s brutal. It’s great. It’s exciting. There’s still a lot to be played.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more