Rivalry game with St. John’s anticipated by Orange for entire season

first_imgManny Sevillano circled this date on the schedule. Before the season began, before the Syracuse men’s soccer team had even stepped out onto the field in 2010, he targeted Wednesday’s matchup with St. John’s as one he desperately wanted to win. ‘St. John’s is one of those teams,’ Sevillano, the SU senior midfielder, said. ‘When we step back and look at our schedule, this is one of those teams that we really, really want to beat.’ No one on the current Orange roster has experienced what it feels like to beat the Red Storm. In fact, no Syracuse player from this decade knows the feeling. It’s hasn’t been since 1996 that SU has come away with three points against St. John’s, when it defeated its in-state rival 2-0 at home. It was one of only two losses that season for the Red Storm, which went on to win the national championship. ‘On a soccer scene, they’ve really been the team to beat,’ SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. ‘They’re our benchmark. And we know we have a lot of work and a long way to go to try and replicate some of the respect that the St. John’s program has had.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text But perhaps Wednesday night will be different from the past 14 years. The Orange (2-5-4, 0-1-2 Big East) is coming off arguably its two best performances of the season in a win over then-No. 24 Colgate and a tie against DePaul. On the other hand, St. John’s (6-5-0, 0-3-0 Big East) has lost three straight and four of its last five games. Wednesday’s game provides Syracuse with an opportunity to turn the tables in this 28-year rivalry. The Orange has a chance to steal three points against a struggling St. John’s team and make a statement against a program that is widely considered the class of the conference. The Red Storm’s downfall came after it began the season 5-1. A preseason Top 25 team, St. John’s ascended to as high as No. 12 in the national polls after posting four shutout wins in its first six games. Since that start, it has lost all three of its Big East games to Cincinnati, Notre Dame and No. 2 Louisville. The Red Storm also lost to No. 15 Brown. One-third of the way through the conference schedule, St. John’s is still without a point in the Red Division. ‘Do I foresee St. John’s being down there at the end of the season? Absolutely not,’ McIntyre said. ‘They’re a quality program and one that most of us have penciled in for the playoffs. But if we can keep them down there for a little bit longer, we’ll certainly be trying to do that.’ If the Orange is successful in keeping St. John’s down in the standings, it will be a monumental win. Since 1990, the Red Storm has had seven Big East tournament titles and four Big East regular season titles and has won fewer than 10 games just twice. The rivalry between the two schools dates back to 1982, with the Red Storm dominating with a 17-7-5 record against SU. They’ve scored nearly twice as many goals as the Orange in that stretch. And just because St. John’s is in a bit of a slump right now, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a Top 25 caliber team, SU midfielder Geoff Lytle said. ‘Rankings always change,’ he said. ‘They’re always fluctuating, so if a team isn’t ranked, it doesn’t mean they aren’t better than a ranked team. So you can’t approach it differently.’ The Orange needs to approach Wednesday night’s game with the same level of intensity it had against Colgate and DePaul. For the first time all season, SU put together back-to-back games in which it avoided conceding the first goal to its opponent. Now that level of concentration and commitment has to be taken on the road. The Red Storm’s Belson Stadium is one of the more difficult venues at which to play, McIntyre said, and he will find out a lot about his team based on its performance in this game. ‘Playing well at home against DePaul is a good step forward for us,’ McIntyre said. ‘But ultimately trying to play the same kind of quality soccer at Belson Stadium will be a real kind of test for us. ‘We understand that we’ve got our hands full.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on October 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13last_img

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