Syracuse defense holds off late Seton Hall attack in 1-0 victory to win Big East opener

first_imgTed Cribley thought his team took the lead when Juuso Pasanen found the back of the net in the 23rd minute.Celebrations ensued on the field and in the stands.Ten seconds later, though, the goal was waived off as the referee called a handball on Pasanen.Despite the delayed and questionable call, the Orange stayed focus and scored less than three minutes later. Cribley delivered a corner kick into the box that grazed off Jordan Vale’s head and past the keeper. The goal ended up being the difference, as Syracuse (7-2, 1-0 Big East) fended off Seton Hall (4-5, 0-1 Big East) 1-0 in its Big East opener at the SU Soccer Stadium Saturday night in front of 1,200 fans.“I don’t know how he called a handball when it was a half a yard out,” Cribley said. “I didn’t see the handball. Even after that we didn’t stop and kept on pushing the tempo and finally got that goal that took us for the win.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCribley’s corner was bending toward the goal, but Vale swooped in and got his head on it, scoring his fourth goal of the season and his first in conference play.“I was told to sprint near the post and Ted’s corner was pinpoint,” Vale said. “I didn’t have to move an inch. I just tapped it in with my head and got the credit I guess.”After finishing conference play at 1-7-1 last season, the Orange is off to a 1-0 start in 2012. Head coach Ian McIntyre said that his team’s performance in the first half was the best he’s seen during his three-year tenure at SU.“The ball movement was good and our closing down was exceptional,” McIntyre said. “We really got after them and got a lot of balls in the box.”The Orange outshot the Pirates seven to one in the first half and finished the game with a 15-7 edge. The home team attempted 14 corner kicks compared to five for Seton Hall.Cribley had two shots in the game, and nearly scored on both of them.Cribley received a through ball from Tony Asante in the 8th minute. He generated space and delivered a well-struck ball toward the goal. The shot ricocheted off the right post and was cleared out of bounds.On a similar play in the second half, Asante found a streaking Cribley who one-timed the ball toward the net but the ball bounced off the post.“You’ve just got to smile at it sometimes,” Cribley said. “Other days they would have gone in. I’m a bit disappointed in myself, but the three points is the main thing.”Though Syracuse was unable to tack on an insurance goal, the defense ensured that a second goal wouldn’t be necessary.As Seton Hall’s pressure picked up in the second half, the Orange defense thwarted off shots from all angles in the final minutes. Despite Seton Hall’s efforts, Syracuse dominated the tempo the entire game.“I think we were very good tonight,” McIntyre said. “I think we deserved the result. We had a couple of hairy moments, but overall we were good value for the three points.”Syracuse was without starting goalie Alex Bono, who received a red card in SU’s 3-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton on Sep. 16. Redshirt freshman Andrew Coughlin stepped in for Bono, his high school, club and Syracuse teammate, and posted a shutout in his first career start.“First college start, Big East opener, it was storybook stuff really.” McIntyre said. “He was great when called upon.”After a quiet first half, Coughlin faced multiple shots in the final minutes that would have knotted the game.Cribley said that Coughlin was terrific in net and responded well despite being placed in a difficult situation.“It’s hard for a goalkeeper to sit on the sideline and wait that long,” Cribley said. “He worked really hard and was able to keep a clean sheet. I’m really proud of him.”McIntyre said winning the Big East opener gives his team great confidence going forward against Massachusetts and Cincinnati and beyond.“These games are always difficult,” McIntyre said. “It will go down until the final whistle blows. Ultimately there’s not a lot between all these teams. We were in every game last year. It will be the same this year. It’s nice to be on the right end of these results.“Sometimes it’s about character and mental toughness, and tonight I think we showed that in abundance.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 23, 2012 at 12:30 am Contact Trevor: tbhass@syr.edu | @TrevorHasslast_img

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