Men's Soccer

Syracuse dominates Colgate out wide in 3-0 win

Nick Fiorelli | Staff Photographer

Syracuse picked up its fifth win of the season, defeating winless Colgate 3-0.

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Luke Biasi left Monday’s practice relieved. Despite allowing three set-piece goals against Pittsburgh, Syracuse didn’t have to do a routine walk-through of its set-piece plays. Instead, SU walked through its possessions in the final third, reinforcing wide play — an area Biasi said he and the rest of the Orange squad knew they could exploit against Colgate.

“We can really exploit them down the flanks and get crosses into the box,” Biasi said Monday. “We just have to keep a lot of pressure on them with us being more athletic than them.”

And on Tuesday night, that’s exactly how the Orange handled Colgate. Biasi took advantage of an unusual amount of space he was given out wide and used his speed and crossing ability to his advantage.

Whether Biasi received a bouncing ball or one on the ground, he had time and space to plan out his next move, either dribbling to the end line to whip in a cross or even getting creative and chipping the ball over the undersized defenders in his way. Biasi launched numerous crosses into the box — some of which his defenders couldn’t get onto — but he executed a game plan that propelled Syracuse to another important midweek, nonconference victory.


Having the edge out wide led Syracuse (6-5-1, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) to a 3-0 win over Colgate (0-11, 0-4 Patriot). The Orange stuck to their game plan and dominated the Raiders out wide, leading to three goals coming from either a cross or set-piece.

Syracuse managed to break through at the end of the first half, with its wide play finally coming to fruition. Giona Leibold and Jeorgio Kocevski regrouped the ball out wide, and Leibold laid the ball off for Kocevski to lob another one in.

His cross found the head of Francesco Pagano, who beat his defender to the aerial cross and nodded the ball into the bottom left corner for his fourth goal of the season. It was a goal preceded by several quality services from Biasi and Leibold, and it took the pressure off the Orange three minutes before halftime.

“The goal was really a big moment for Cicci to score right before halftime,” head coach Ian McIntyre said. “It took a little bit of air out of them, and it just kind of calmed us down for the second half.”

Leibold started Tuesday night’s game on the bench for the first time this season, with senior Hilli Goldhar taking his spot at the left wingback role. It was Goldhar’s first start of the season after missing the first three weeks due to injury.

McIntyre substituted the two for each other 25 minutes into the game, and Syracuse’s wide play became more balanced. While Goldhar was still receiving the ball wide left, he was more effective in finding Syracuse’s central targets, including a dangerous give-and-go combination that saw Colin Biros send a curling cross to Deandre Kerr’s head, which he sent just wide of the right post.

With Leibold — arguably the faster of the two — the Orange were able to add an entirely new dimension to their attack, one that Colgate could not handle.

McIntyre believed Colgate was effective in its tactical game plan to sit back with a compact defensive shape to cope with Syracuse’s speed. But with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, they sat too far back on Leibold, and he had enough space to set up a low cross into traffic in the box, which rolled between a wide gap that Biasi ran onto. He fired a first-time, curling left-footed shot directed at the bottom left corner, but Colgate’s Adam Fam stood strong in the goal box and got a foot on the ball to direct it out of danger.

“For Giona (Leibold), he’s faster than me. He’s the kind of player that will put his head down and get down to the end line, rip it across,” Biasi said.

In the second half, McIntyre experimented with both Leibold and Goldhar in the midfield, giving them the flexibility to move across the left wing. It gave Goldhar more freedom to carry the ball inside and find Leibold overlapping along around him, or vice versa.

Late in the second half, Goldhar received the ball out wide with a lot of space to work with, but instead of taking it down wide, he cut inside and worked it back through the center-mids. It cleared the lane along the left flank for Leibold, who received the ball into space for a cross. He found Kerr with a grounded pass, as Kerr got the edge on a Colgate defender who had slipped beforehand. He used the advantage to generate a shot on the net right at Raiders’ keeper Andrew Cooke.


Colgate’s strategy of sitting back allowed it to be in a comfortable position to generate a counterattack and outnumber Syracuse going forward. It happened twice to SU in a five-minute span, with both coming along the right wing after a failed connection on a pass into the final third.

Biasi was already high up the right flank, comfortably in Colgate’s half, when he sent the ball in the direction of Kerr. A Colgate defender stepped in to clear it back up the Raiders’ left wing. With Biasi pushed up the field, Max Edelstein dribbled against Buster Sjoberg’s pressure. Edelstein then centered the ball for Timmy Donovan, who took on Max Kent while Edelstein overlapped to his left. Donovan played a backheel pass into space for Edelstein, but his shot hit the outside of the net.

Then, Biasi was out of position once again, allowing Donovan to receive the ball along the left wing. He took it all the way down near the end line before sending in a cross that Aidan Davock got a left toe on, redirecting it inches wide of the right post. It would’ve given Colgate a 1-0 lead, but instead, kept the game scoreless.

Tuesday’s win comes after a 3-2 double-overtime road loss against No. 16 Pittsburgh where the Orange gave up all three goals on set pieces. With another nonconference win, McIntyre said Syracuse can build off of two mixed results and turn things around come the remainder of its ACC schedule, starting with NC State on Friday.

“They left everything on the field in Pittsburgh and unfortunately came away with no points against a good team,” McIntyre said. “I knew we would have a reaction, and it was good to get a home win and set ourselves up for another big one on Friday.”

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