The Syracuse men’s soccer team posted yet another win Tuesday and it gave them a place in the program’s record book.
Jordan Murrell and Alex Halis each scored a goal and Syracuse outlasted Albany in a 2-1 victory. The Orange improved to 10-1 with the victory and set a new standard for the best start in the team’s history.
The previous best for an 11-game start was 9-1-1 set by both the 1982 and 1984 clubs. Halis netted the game-winner in the 82nd minute and the Orange made it stand up as they won their third straight over the Great Danes and extended their winning streak against non-conferecne opponents to 18 games.
Credit to a group of guys who have worked extremely hard. Certainly we’ll reflect back on it at the end of the season. Now we’ll take a breath for about 15 minutes and then get ready for Wake Forest.
“I’m sure there delighted to come out of this one with a win,” Syracuse coach Ian McIntyre said. “Credit to a group of guys who have worked extremely hard. Certainly we’ll reflect back on it at the end of the season. Now we’ll take a breath for about 15 minutes and then get ready for Wake Forest.”
As McIntyre alluded to, the team is aware of their fast start but not ready to pat itself on the back. The Orange have been trending upward since McIntyre took over the program in 2010 and this year’s team looks like it has the potential to match the 2012 squad (Sweet 16) and go beyond.
For the most part Syracuse has been winning with timely goal scoring and stout defense. The Orange lead the country in goals against average at .18 (two goals in 11 games) and junior goalkeeper Alex Bono leads the nation in save percentage at .952.
Since conceding a goal in the second half of the match against Notre Dame on Sept. 13, Bono went a school-record stretch of 537:34 before allowing a goal against Albany. It’s the longest individual shutout streak ever for an Orange goalie, surpassing the previous record of 461:59 set by Chris Whitcomb in 1986. The Orange blanked five straight opponents, one short of the team record for consecutive clean sheets established in 1980.
After the win over Albany, Bono echoed his coach in recognizing the fast start as a nice accomplishment but not a final goal.
“To see it in the books that the 2014 team is off to the best start it good, but we are after a lot more,” Bono said. “We are after the best season, the best record we want all the bests the program has ever seen. This is a start but we are going to keep going. This isn’t the end for us.”
Offensively, eight different players have scored for the Orange this season but only one has tallied more than twice, sophomore forward Emil Ekblom, who has six goals this season. It’s quantity and quality with Ekblom’s strikes too with five of his six goals being game-winners. Last season the Bekkestuc, Norway native led the team with 10 goals but he did not have one game winner.
Ekblom’s latest quality strike came Saturday at Virginia Tech. His header into the top right corner of the net in overtime off a cross from Oyvind Alseth gave the Orange a 1-0 win over Virginia Tech.
“It would have been terrible if we came all the way (to Virginia Tech) and didn’t get a result,” Ekblom said. “We had to work very hard, but I thought we were the better team.”
Syracuse goes for win number 11 when it welcomes Wake Forest to the SU Soccer Stadium for an ACC Atlantic Division match Friday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.