first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ For almost 14 minutes in the second half, Syracuse’s historic season was on the verge of ending because of a blunder from its all-conference goalkeeper.Alex Bono’s botched distribution found the feet of Penn State forward Connor Maloney, who was fouled by SU defender Tyler Hilliard and slotted the penalty kick dead center as Bono dove left to give the Nittany Lions a one-goal lead with half an hour left.But then the tide turned.“We looked up with 30 minutes, left and said, ‘Yeah, we’ve got this in the bag,’” SU defender Jordan Murrell said.The Orange pushed numbers forward and peppered PSU goalie Andrew Wolverton, who bent, but didn’t break. After multiple heroic saves from the PSU keeper, SU was finally able to break through.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLate goals from forward Emil Ekblom and right winger Oyvind Alseth pushed the hosts out in front and ninth-seeded Syracuse (16-3-1) squeaked out a 2-1 victory over Penn State (13-6-1) in the second round of the NCAA tournament in front of 1,213 fans at SU Soccer Stadium on Sunday afternoon.“All season long, when we’ve given up goals we’ve been really quick to get back on the front foot and try and go find our equalizer,” Bono said. “That’s how we’ve been all season and that’s how we’re going to keep being.”Temporarily being on the back foot was a far cry from how the game began, though. Syracuse assaulted the Penn State goal in the first half, as forward Alex Halis, midfielder Liam Callahan and Alseth all had point-blank chances denied by either the post or Wolverton’s fingertips.The head-in-hands position that Bono assumed after his error was the same one SU’s forwards and midfielders often had throughout the opening 45 minutes despite being on the front foot. Frustration reigned throughout the 11 players on the field and the fans in the bleachers, as the home contingent screamed substitution recommendations at McIntyre and at Alseth for not crossing the ball soon enough.Then Bono lost control of the ball after getting caught in between holding onto it and distributing to Hilliard. Maloney put the Nittany Lions ahead early in the second frame and the tension came to a peak.After Bono guessed incorrectly on the penalty kick, he grabbed his water bottle and threw it against the left post as water spurted out. The Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year stood with a blank stare, looking out at the field as his team prepared to kick off down one.“I was very calm,” McIntyre said sarcastically. “No, we were on top of the game at the time and then it was kind of a flukey play and all of a sudden they’ve got a penalty kick.”Syracuse rarely conceded first before Sunday, and would be tasked with climbing out of a hole for only the fourth time this season.When Alseth threaded a perfect through ball to Ekblom on the right edge of the box and the sophomore slotted it bottom left, that was the first step.“It felt like the world got lifted off my shoulders for a second,” Bono said.Then when an intended cross off the foot of Alseth was muffed by Wolverton and ended up over the line, Syracuse was no longer desperate. Instead, elated.Alseth said it wasn’t meant to be a shot, and that he just got lucky.But on a day when the Orange couldn’t convert routine opportunities, it had to be the benefactor of a stroke of chance.Said McIntyre: “You need a little bit of luck. We created our own luck tonight.” Comments Published on November 23, 2014 at 6:41 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img