Young Syracuse attackers hardened by freshman inconsistencies, set to carry Orange in 2014

first_imgIn 2013, Syracuse stood on the fringe of Atlantic Coast Conference contention. It boasted a young and talented attack — the kind that could beat a team one night, and come up empty the next.It was the kind of team that would get just one shot on goal against Notre Dame, but also the kind that would defeat Connecticut, a nationally ranked power, just four days later.Its entire offense was in its first season. The options were plentiful, though hardly refined.“We’ve got guys with full college seasons under their belt,” junior goalkeeper Alex Bono said. “It’s going to be important that we keep working on the system, working on the way we’re going to play. We’ll improve that way.”What was a group defined by its youth returns for another go-round in the ACC — this time with more experience. Though the young offense was far from prolific last season, finishing third-to-last in goals during conference games, it does return 96.6 percent of its goal-scoring roster from last season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd 20 of the 30 goals scored came from the 2013 freshman crop of Emil Ekblom, Chris Nanco and Alex Halis.“I think as a coaching staff, we’ve got some headaches,” McIntyre said, “because I think we’ve got some options this year.”The Orange had suffered eight losing seasons in the last nine years before its run to the round of 16 in 2012. Now just one year removed from its first season as a member of the ACC, Syracuse has begun to develop a stable core to its offense.Moving to the premier men’s soccer conference bolstered its recruiting for last year, but because of that, nearly all of SU’s top offensive players were getting their first taste of college soccer.And while the returners bring valuable experience, so does one of its newer players. Julian Buescher, a midfielder, is making his first appearance for the Orange but already has proven capability.He comes in as a 21 year-old freshman from Germany. In his first exhibition game he scored Syracuse’s first goal. McIntyre said he’s going to be a fan favorite.Buescher said that he’s trying to work himself into the offense.“We have to (get) the balance right,” Buescher said. “We (have) a lot of points that we have to work on.”As an offense, Syracuse’s 30 goals ranked fifth in the ACC, but only 12 of those came in its 11 conference games.Syracuse proved that it could win. It was victorious in all seven of its nonconference games, and eventually defeated two nationally ranked programs at SU Soccer Stadium.But the bright flashes of 2013 were more of an indication than anything else — a stepping-stone for an attack that is in transition.This season, though, is about showing that last season truly was a prelude.“We’re up for the challenge, we know every game during the season has postseason ramifications,” McIntyre said “…We can show (consistency) and find a way to kind of roll our sleeves up and get some points at the stadium, as well as on the road.” Comments Published on August 26, 2014 at 1:32 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img