Freshman scoring leads the way for No. 7 Syracuse
Paul Schlesinger | Asst. Photo Editor
At the beginning of each of the last three seasons, Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre has faced a similar issue: a scoring loss.
In 2015, the program lost 70 percent of the prior year’s production. The following year, it entered the season without 57 percent of the scoring from the season before. This season, Syracuse replaces 67 percent of its scoring from the team last year which ended in the NCAA quarterfinals against North Carolina. To start the year, Syracuse brought in 16 new players while only retaining 12.
“We knew going into the season that we would need to be a little bit patient and we would evolve,” McIntyre said on Aug. 30, following his team’s first two matches of the season.
Now four matches into the season, that evolution has begun.
Freshman forwards Tajon Buchanan and Petter Stangeland provided match-winning goals to seal victories for the Orange on its opening weekend. In No. 7 Syracuse’s most recent game against Northwestern, Buchanan added another goal to make the freshman forward’s goal contribution worth nearly 25 percent of the team’s scoring output. Syracuse (3-0-1) enters Atlantic Coast Conference play against No. 11 Virginia (3-0) Friday in Charlottesville having scored eight goals, four of which involved the freshman forwards.
“They both add that kind of new aspect that we need,” sophomore defender John-Austin Ricks said. “We need that attacking mentality kind of player.”
Andy Mendes | Digital Design Editor
From the first match the freshman have done just that. In overtime of Syracuse’s first match this season, junior transfer Hugo Delhommelle lobbed a pass from the right side of the field toward the back left post for a streaking Buchanan. In stride, the Colorado native smashed the ball past Sascha Otte, the Saint Louis goalkeeper.
In similar fashion, Stangeland’s first career goal also decided a match. Stangeland replaced Buchanan in the 76th minute and it only took him 14 minutes to find the back of the net. Following a red card on Sondre Norheim in the 90th minute, Stangeland finished on an opportunity in front of the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville net to give the Orange the lead with less than 30 seconds remaining.
“We had more creativity this year than we did last year,” junior goalkeeper Hendrik Hilpert said.
The creativity Hilpert discusses challenges the junior goalkeeper because he can’t predict what the new-look offense is doing in practice, he said. For Stangeland, practice has been a main source of the play while he’s working back from a preseason injury. He’s yet to start a match but has tallied a shot on goal in each of Syracuse’s last three games.
Andy Mendes | Digital Design Editor
Meanwhile, Buchanan has started in all four matches for SU, compiling two shots on goal, both finding the back of the net. This past Sunday against Northwestern, Buchanan capped Syracuse’s 18-minute, three-goal flurry. As Johannes Pieles crossed the ball, the 6-foot forward launched his body far above Northwestern goalkeeper Miha Miskovic. Buchanan swung his head and guided the ball into the back right corner of the net.
Earlier in the game, Buchanan threaded a pass across the crease to a streaking Jonathan Hagman who tapped home his second goal of the season, tying him with Buchanan for the team lead. The junior forward is the only returning member of the top four goal scorers from last season, when he scored five goals.
The freshmen may not replicate the production of program stars like Chris Nanco, a current member of the United Soccer League, and Sergio Camargo, who plays for Toronto FC, immediately. But they are chipping away.
“We lost some good players last year,” Hagman said. “But the new guys, from what I’ve seen so far, they’re ready for this.”
Published on September 6, 2017 at 8:20 pm