SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Junior Ben Polk scored three goals to spark the rv/-- Syracuse men’s soccer squad’s offense in its 5-0 victory against Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 25 at the SU Soccer Stadium. Polk finished the match with seven points to lead the Orange to its first ACC win of the season.
”It’s great to finally score but the most important thing is to get our first three points in the ACC,” Polk said of his first career goals since joining the Orange this season after playing the last two years at Herkimer College. “We needed that. But it was great to score, especially at home in front of all the fans.”
Polk finished one goal shy of the school’s single-game school record of four. He is the 33rd player in school history to post a hat trick and the first since Emil Ekblom accomplished the feat against North Carolina State on Oct. 4, 2013. In addition, his seven points tie him for sixth place on the Orange’s single-game record list.
“That’s what we know he can do,” said Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre. “He can bring goals to our team. Service was very good for him. There were some good finishes. It will help take a weight off his shoulders.”
While Polk was strong on the finishes, junior Oyvind Alseth (Trondheim, Norway) was also key to the Orange offense as he assisted on three of Syracuse’s season-high five goals. That total ties him for third place on Syracuse’s single-game record list as he becomes the first player since 2001 with three assists in a game.
Syracuse (5-2-1, 1-1-1) dominated throughout the match, outshooting the Panthers, 19-2, and recording 16 corner kicks to just one for Pitt (4-3-1, 0-3). Pinpoint passing led to Syracuse’s first goal in the 37th minute. Alseth served the ball into the box to Polk, who one-timed it to senior Noah Rhynhart (Albany, N.Y.). Rhynhart put his shot in the back of the net for his career-high third goal of the season. Alseth and Polk connected again in the 45th minute when Alseth crossed the ball to Polk, who put his shot in the right corner of the net for his first goal as a member of the Orange with just 29 seconds remaining before intermission to give Syracuse a 2-0 lead.
The second half featured more Syracuse offense. Polk extended Syracuse’s lead in the 55th minute. Redshirt junior Liam Callahan (Narbeth, Pa.) served the ball into the box where Polk took the ball in the air and redirected it into the top right corner of the net. It didn’t take long for the Orange to strike again as sophomore Julien Buescher (Duelmen, Germany) scored on Alseth’s third assist of the match in the 56th minute to put the Orange up 4-0.
Polk capped the scoring in the 58th minute when he dribbled the ball up the right side and into the box and put his shot off the left foot past Pitt goalkeeper Dan Lynd for the hat trick and the 5-0 final.
“The goal right before the half meant they had to come and change the way they played,” McIntyre said. “They had to chase the game and when they chased the game – three goals in three minutes – that was really the game.”
The Orange goes for its third straight win when it travels to Hamilton, N.Y. on Tuesday, Sept. 29 to face Colgate at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Syracuse recorded five goals in a match for the first time since it defeated North Carolina State, 5-0, on Oct. 4, 2013 … Freshman goalkeeper Austin Aviza (Medway, Mass.) recorded his second career shutout in the victory … The crowd of 2,011 that watched Syracuse defeat Pittsburgh was the sixth-largest crowd in SU Soccer Stadium history. It also marked the third time this season the Orange has drawn a crowd of more than 2,000 fans.
1st 2nd Final
Pittsburgh 0 0 0
Syracuse 2 3 5
36:01 SU Noah Rhynhart (Ben Polk, Oyvind Alseth)
44:31 SU Ben Polk (Oyvind Alseth)
54:37 SU Ben Polk (Liam Callahan)
55:48 SU Julien Buescher (Oyvind Alseth)
57:14 SU Ben Polk
Shots: Syracuse 19, Pittsburgh 2
Corner Kicks: Syracuse 16, Pittsburgh 1
Saves: Syracuse 0 (Austin Aviza), Pittsburgh 6 (Dan Lynd)
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