Orange splits pair of games at tournament in Las Vegas
The temperature was in the 90s on Sunday morning in Las Vegas, Nev.
A 10:30 a.m. start was scheduled months in advance in anticipation of the inevitable sweltering heat.
Cal State Fullerton (2-6) weathered the blistering conditions and defeated Syracuse (6-2) 3-1 in the UNLV Nike Invitational.
“I don’t have a thermometer here right now, but it’s funny to watch games where people have umbrellas out, but it’s not raining,” Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre said. “Not a cloud in the sky. We’re in the desert.”
CSF scored twice in four minutes in the first half and held on for the win despite a goal in the fourth minute from SU’s Ted Cribley.
The Orange left for Chicago on Thursday morning. After a layover in Chicago, the team traveled to Las Vegas later that evening.
Despite the trek across the country,Syracuse opened the tournament on Friday night with a 1-0 win over host UNLV on a goal in the 20th minute from Stefanos Stamoulacatos.
The game started at 7:30 p.m. and ended past 9 p.m. After a day off on Saturday, the players woke up bright and early Sunday morning to face CSF and came up a bit short.
“We’ve got a good team and a fit team, but there’s a difference between Vegas and Syracuse,” McIntyre said. “The kind of soccer we play, we like to press and we work very hard, so it was a real strain on our guys.”
McIntyre says that the time of day and the heat were factors, particularly toward the end of the game.
“There’s a reason why you have to play the games at this time of day,” he said. “There’s a difference between a 7 o’clock game and when it’s mid day. The locals understand. They’re all in the shade. Our guys worked hard, just perhaps ran out of a little bit of steam today.”
Despite the loss to CSF, McIntyre is pleased with the road trip and he encouraged his team to think about the big picture and not dwell on the loss.
McIntyre asked his players if they would have taken a 6-2 start back in August when the team was still coming together.
He said the response was a definitive “absolutely.”
“It’s a testament to how far we’ve come that we’re disappointed to only get a split on the road when we travel out to the West Coast,” he said.
After extending its winning streak to four with the win over UNLV, the Orange had a chance to win its second consecutive tournament by beating CSF.
McIntyre said the game could have gone either way, but the Titans came out and played physical and desperate soccer and earned the win.
“It was kind of a crazy game today,” McIntyre said. “You never like to lose games. It’s tough to go on the road and play against two good teams. I know their records may not reflect that, but both Fullerton and UNLV are two very solid programs.”
The Orange will square off against Seton Hall in the team’s Big East opener at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at SU Soccer Stadium. After a grueling nine-day, four-game road trip with a break in the middle, the Orange will return home to open Big East play.
McIntyre says that conference games will be a measuring stick for the Orange and that the past two tournaments have been good preparation for what’s to come.
“Ultimately, that’s how we’ll be measured,” he said. “Can we put points on the board this year to get us into the Big East tournament?”
Contact Trevor: email@example.com
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
THEY'RE BACK: Syracuse pulls off furious comeback win against Yale to return to final four after longest absence since 1979
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Brian Megill sprinted over to Dominic Lamolinara and catapulted into his arms. The game was over. The unthinkable was no longer… Read more »