Syracuse smashes Dartmouth, 3-0, advances to 3rd round of the NCAA tournament
Tony D. Curtis | Staff Photographer
Sergio Camargo slid forward, flicked his foot and tapped the ball toward the Dartmouth net. In the process, his cleat hit Dartmouth goalie James Hickok in the torso as Hickok lay on the ground with his knees tucked into his chest.
The ball hovered over the goal line and Camargo celebrated with Johannes Pieles, who he combined with for four straight passes to set up the score.
Syracuse’s two-goal lead just 24 minutes into the game was more than enough as the No. 8 seed Orange (12-3-4, 3-2-3 Atlantic Coast) rolled in the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 3-0 victory over Dartmouth (9-5-5, 5-1-1 Ivy) on Sunday at SU Soccer Stadium. The game was moved up two hours due to the potential storm and snowfall picked up as the game progressed. Syracuse struck early and never allowed the Big Green back into the game.
Camargo led the way for SU with two goals and an assist while Chris Nanco had the other score. The victory extended the Orange’s season at least until Syracuse faces No. 9 seed North Carolina Nov. 27 at SU Soccer Stadium in the Round of 16.
“You often gauge your team if you’re still having a chance to eat Thanksgiving dinner together as a team, as a family,” Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre said.
“It means you’ve got a good group.”
For the third straight year, the Orange’s season will still be alive on the fourth Thursday of November. Earlier this season, that appeared to be a near lock as Syracuse reeled off eight straight wins — the best start in program history — and set expectations at an all-time high.
But a mid-season funk diverted the Orange as SU went winless in four consecutive games. Syracuse climbed back, though, by avoiding a loss in six games before its ACC tournament tie and subsequent penalty-kick loss to Clemson. As each game from here on out will hold more significance than the last, the Orange began its NCAA tournament run with its most emphatic win of the season.
And it was Camargo and Nanco who powered SU.
Tony D. Curtis | Staff Photographer
“We were just moving. We were moving faster than they were,” Camargo said. “They’re a big team so we knew we had to move away from their big players and get open.”
Dartmouth entered the game without having allowed a goal since Oct. 29. Three-hundred eighty-five minutes and twenty-six seconds of shutout soccer. But it took just 6 minutes, 45 seconds for the Orange to crack through.
Camargo unloaded a shot from the top of the penalty box that Hickok blocked. The goalie couldn’t corral it fully, and it bounced in front of the net. Nanco rushed forward from the right side and kicked the ball in. Syracuse has won all 17 games Nanco has scored in during the senior’s career.
Less than 20 minutes later, Camargo combined with Pieles for the nifty goal. The score gave SU a cushion that it leaned on the rest of the way.
“When you try to chase the game in those conditions, it makes it very difficult,” Big Green head coach Chad Riley said.
Dartmouth’s game plan was to keep the ball away from Syracuse’s playmakers in the middle of the field. The snowy surface gave an advantage to attackers, Riley said, since defenders’ reaction times were slower.
After halftime, Nanco delivered a no-look pass to Camargo off the back of his heel and Camargo dribbled through two defenders. When Hickok rushed out at him, Camargo pushed the ball to his left and then into an empty net. All Hickok and the Dartmouth defense could do was watch.
“The third goal was going to be an important one as conditions deteriorated,” McIntyre said. “Dartmouth scores and it’s a new game.”
But the Big Green never broke through Syracuse’s defense. By the end of the game, around the same time it was originally scheduled to start, a layer of snow had dusted over SU Soccer Stadium’s field. And when the final whistle blew, players on the Orange didn’t swarm to each other. They walked slowly across grass and calmly high-fived.
Playing this deep into the season has become the expectation. It showed against Dartmouth.
Published on November 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm