Ryan Raposo leads Syracuse to victory in game it should win, 3-0 over Ohio State

first_imgAs Ryan Raposo settled on the left wing in front of an Ohio State defender Monday, fresh in his mind was the reason for why he would make his next move. Three games earlier, SU piled the bus home from Virginia Tech with sorrowed looks. Raposo, who suffered an injury late in the game, remembered sitting on the bench in the final moments of the game as the final goal crossed the Syracuse line, giving the Hokies the overtime win. He looked around. His teammates’ faces left him distraught. SU head coach Ian McIntyre had been pleading to his team for weeks that the Orange had a good group, but the evidence wasn’t there then. “That’s just not a good feeling,” Raposo said. “Personally, I don’t want to ever feel that feeling again.”So on Monday, the freshman stalled. He noticed the Buckeyes player back off him a little. So Raposo thought, “Why not?” Already up a goal, the Syracuse freshman lifted his right foot and drove a line-drive into the right corner of the net. Raposo turned around and allowed SU players to converge as he side-stepped down the far sideline. By then, he had imposed his will.“He’s a live wire,” McIntyre said. “He’s a handful.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRaposo accounted for nearly half of the Orange’s (6-4-1, 1-3-0 Atlantic Coast) shots in a 3-0 rout of Ohio State (1-9-2, 0-3-1 Big Ten). He scored a goal and added an assist, imposing his will on the Buckeyes defenders and never letting up his play, even as the game was decided.With the victory, Syracuse’s win-streak extended to three games, its longest since 2016. For the first time all season, the Orange are in a position of power. Seventh in rating percentage index coming into Monday, SU proved it can stick with top-ranked teams all season long. Friday, in a win over then-No. 1 Wake Forest, the Orange proved it can beat them. A three-goal win over the Buckeyes proved SU is comfortable among them. Ohio State, ranked 198th in RPI, has only played one team near a top-50 ranking in RPI (Michigan — 54th) and it resulted in a tie for its worst loss of the season (two goals). OSU’s lone win is a 1-0 victory over Hofstra on Aug. 26, a team the Orange put four goals on in its first home game of the season. “Every game we come into we expect to win,” Massimo Ferrin said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a top-ranked team or RPI … not the highest.”Raposo ensured last Wednesday that SU’s upcoming matchup with Wake Forest would just be another game. Best team in the country or worst team in the country, SU prepares for all teams the same. McIntyre will hype SU’s opponent. Practice won’t change. The team’s mindset won’t, either.Then came the roars from the crowd. The open arms to the sky. The tossing of water bottles. The shuffling down the sideline. Kamal Miller assured, after SU’s 2-0 win, it was anything but a normal game. It was a moment he had been waiting for the past four years. Monday’s game was different. McIntyre said after the win over WFU that SU always knew it had a good group, but its performance Friday proved it had a good team.“Good teams win these games,” he said.Monday, the Orange took another step. Good teams come back when they’re behind, McIntyre said. Syracuse has done that. Good teams show resilience, McIntyre continued. Syracuse has done that, too. But McIntyre said what the Orange had yet to prove was the midweek games sandwiched between two ACC matchups, which — after winning its first conference match in 721 days Friday — dominate the mindset of SU’s team.The unraveling of the Buckeyes began with Raposo. He toyed with OSU all game. The forward’s soft volleys off his chest and quick taps of the ball evaded Ohio State defenders and kept them waiting for the next time he would strike. Every time he touched the ball, he lulled defenders with his moves only to turn the corner and fire some of SU’s strongest challenges. When he stops to stall the defender, it’s intentional. Ferrin said he’s so quick with his feet, there are few defenders in the country that can keep with him on his first two or three steps from a standstill.Raposo showed his skills on numerous plays: on backward passes with his heels, on chipped passes over the top of defenders and on goal dives where he skipped over the ball, evading any nearby defenders.On one play, he stopped the ball with his foot and spun with the ball, freeing himself and firing a ball that curled just outside the post. He turned and jumped as if he squandered SU’s biggest chance. He expects himself to contribute somehow in every game, he said, and doesn’t want to waste the chances he gets.“I’m kind of … a perfectionist,” Raposo said. “With that chance there, I’d love to score.”On the Orange’s opening goal, Raposo faked left, then right and fired a left-footed line drive right past the Ohio State goalkeeper. Massimo Ferrin, who was lined up all alone behind the downed Buckeyes keeper, “didn’t have to do anything,” he said, as the ball knocked off his chest and into the goal. Raposo smiled when asked if he was trying to shoot.“Yeah I was,” Raposo said, as if he was embarrassed to admit it. “But I mean, an assist’s an assist.”Raposo stopped in his tracks, turned around and waited for his teammates to jog over as he offered his hand. Far removed from the Hilli Goldhar look to the sky. From Kamal Miller’s side-stepping and fist pumping.For SU, Monday became just another game. A game it should win, and did. But, afterward, Raposo held a sheet of paper displaying the ACC standings. He placed his finger on the team at the top, Louisville, who the Orange play Friday. There’s a lot of positives, and a few negatives — 2-0 or 10-0, he’s still going to beat himself up about that missed chance on his last shot — to take from the game. Syracuse will go to the locker room as it does after every win, dance to the “Shala lala” song, Ferrin said, and listen to music on Hugo Delhommelle’s phone. But, Tuesday, the win’s in the past.“We got Louisville,” Raposo said. “Start again tomorrow.” Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 8, 2018 at 9:08 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcClearycenter_img Commentslast_img

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