first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ The lights at SU Soccer stadium shined down on Syracuse for just the second time in conference play. With its season on the line, the Orange was in the spotlight for its most important game of the season. SU fought, but the clock ran it short.“You are competing against the clock, aren’t you?” Orange head coach Phil Wheddon said. “Anytime you’re chasing the game against a team like Virginia, it’s very, very difficult.”Syracuse (7-7-2, 2-5-1 Atlantic Coast) suffered a deflating loss to No. 13 Virginia (9-3-4, 4-1-3), 3-1, putting SU’s season in jeopardy. The Orange challenged, but ultimately fell short as Virginia pushed ahead and bled time, “taking valuable seconds off the clock,” Wheddon said.With the loss, the Orange is one game closer to likely elimination from ACC tournament contention. Before the game, it sat at just four points, third-worst in the conference. With only eight teams qualifying for the conference tournament, the Orange remain six points out of the final spot.SU needed to win each of its last three games to solidify a spot in the top eight. In just the first game of that quest, like it has done so many times in conference play, it fell short.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We know where we stand,” Wheddon said. “There are nine teams in the same spot that we are. Everyones checking twitter and checking the scores.”The Orange played five ranked opponents before Thursday night. It hadn’t beaten any of them. This game, which players called a “must win” just a day earlier, proved to be much of the same.Early on, Virginia pressured the ball far up into the Syracuse box. In the 15th minute, Hana Kerner fired a cross that made it into the interior of the Syracuse defense. Alex Lamontagne put a head on it, but it was right to Betsy Brandon who paused, fired and silenced the Orange crowd with a goal.All hope for SU was not lost, though.In the 27th minute, Virginia, again, provided heavy pressure up into the Syracuse third. The ball got away from the Cavaliers and Taylor Bennett controlled the ball and looked downfield. The sophomore launched a cross to the speedy Sydney Brackett who flew in the open field, fought off Virginia defender and crossed the ball to a wide open Georgia Allen. Allen nosedived at the ball and knocked it into the right corner of the goal. Suddenly, Syracuse had life, but the clock continued to run.“We deserved the goal as a team,” Allen said. “You always have to believe you have a chance.”The game was filled with Orange successes. Two potentially season-preserving saves highlighted the final 10 minutes of the first half. The crowd continued to cheer as Syracuse inched closer to the Cavaliers goal out of the halftime break. It silenced and tensed up as Brackett sailed another cross in the direction of Allen right around the Cavaliers goal, which was grabbed by Virginia keeper Laurel Ivory.“For at least 75 minutes of the game,” Wheddon said, “we were on equal terms with them.”In the 60th minute, the Orange suffered its second lapse of the night, as Virginia played the ball deep into the Orange third and headed the ball above the outstretched arms of Brosnan. The discouraged SU keeper sluggishly slid on her knees to the right corner of the net to retrieve the ball. The Orange had just 30 minutes to find an equalizer.As Syracuse scrambled to tie, it was charged a penalty in its own box. Brosnan and the crowd lamented the call. Virginia was awarded a penalty kick that Brianna Westrup put out of reach of Brosnan’s left glove. She didn’t even wait for the ball to hit the net before she charged towards the referee and gave a few choice words. She knew, just like everyone else, that the goal moved the Cavaliers further out of reach.“Until the penalty kick,” Wheddon said, “we thought we were going to counter them and find another opportunity.“It changed the game.”With just 12:49 left on the game clock, the Orange had to do something it hadn’t done in over 50 minutes, twice. As the clock struck zero, with Brosnan at midfield, the Orange found itself out of luck and out of time.“It was devastating…” Bennett said. “It’s always disappointing when you don’t get the result you deserve.” Comments Published on October 19, 2017 at 11:34 pm Contact Michael: mmcclear@syr.edu | @MikeJMcClearylast_img