Syracuse tests depth in win over Wolfpack

first_imgKorab Syla, Juuso Pasanen and Noah Rhynhart held framed photos of themselves on the field in Syracuse’s pregame Senior Day ceremonies, knowing the picture of their team on the field was going to look much different than it had all season.Pasanen stood with a boot protecting his left foot. Syla had no visible remnants of an injury, but was escorted off the field by trainers in Tuesday’s game.The duo, starters in every game up to Friday, gave way to Rhynhart and freshman midfielder Andreas Jenssen — neither had started since August — in the lineup.Syracuse’s depth was about to be tested more than it had been all season.“There’s an argument for that,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said of not using reserve players as much as he’d like. “Some of the guys have been playing at a high level.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“There is a maturity that comes, and that comes with experience.”McIntyre rolled out a lineup featuring three freshmen and two second-time starters, and No. 15 Syracuse (10-4-2, 3-3-1 Atlantic Coast) escaped with a 2-1 win over NC State (8-4-3, 1-3-3) on Friday at SU Soccer Stadium. The lineup was compromised not only by injuries to Syla and Pasanen, but a bum left ankle for forward Ben Polk and an “illness” with midfielder Oyvind Alseth has SU treading lightly ahead of ACC tournament play.The SU head coach was hopeful Syla and Pasanen could return at some point this season, but no exact return date is in sight.Underclassmen Kenny Lassiter and Jonathan Hagman made cameos in the first half as SU struggled to gain traction on the Wolfpack’s defense, but it was Jenssen and Rhynhart who represented the usual reserves on the field the longest.The role reversal was tricky, Jenssen said, and Syracuse’s slow start was indicative of the time it took for the starters to get acclimated.“It’s tough,” Jenssen said of starting. “It takes a couple of minutes to get into it. Coming off the bench you’re not really fighting.”The freshman midfielder is most comfortable playing in the center of the field in space, and often distributed the ball up and away to forwards Ben Polk and Chris Nanco. With pressure on him in one of his first chances, he barely got a pass away.“Forward is good,” McIntyre shouted in jest at his freshman midfielder from the sideline.He was filling the void of Pasanen, SU’s supreme ball handler at center midfield largely credited for verbally sorting the Orange’s schemes out during games.“It’s a huge loss,” Polk said of Pasanen’s injury. “Juuso’s our quarterback. He gets on the ball, moves the ball side to side and plays it easy.”Filling the shoes of Syla was Rhynhart — typically a forward — and he was displaced to the wing on the midfield line. He often sought Nanco with his passes up the sideline but the duo never produced anything of substance.Rhynhart was accompanied on the midfield line with Alseth, who came out in favor of Hagman after coming up short on a leaping header and falling hard on the ground.Polk came out in the final five minutes of the first half, and came up limping after short bursts of sprints on the ball. But after the game, Polk smiled while looking down at his left foot he used to tie the game with 15 minutes remaining, knowing he has a week to heal a rolled ankle injury over summer he hasn’t had time to rest.“It would’ve been easy for the guys to limp out of this one tonight,” McIntyre said, “but they didn’t and found a way to win.” Comments Published on October 24, 2015 at 12:04 am Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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