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first_imgIan McIntyre was forced to start as many as seven freshmen at times in 2011. Thrust into a pressure situation amid a team-wide struggle, they didn’t thrive collectively.This year, the Syracuse head coach has the luxury of only starting three freshmen: Alex Bono, Jordan Vale and Stefanos Stamoulacatos. All three players have gotten off to strong starts for the Orange (5-1) and have helped lead the team to its best start since 1996.“We’ve got a really good group of new guys that have helped develop our culture day in and day out.” McIntyre said. “They’re also a group of guys that improve in practice and every game.”Bono has only allowed two goals in six games for Syracuse, leading the Big East in goals against average (0.34) and save percentage (.909). He has made 20 saves for the Orange and was recently named the Big East Goalkeeper of the Week.The freshman goalie has set the tone for fellow freshmen starters Vale and Stamoulacatos.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textVale has scored three goals and added an assist, while Stamoulacatos has one goal and three assists. Both players have logged considerable minutes in all six games.Ben Ramin also added a goal in Syracuse’s 6-0 win over Colgate.“We’ve done a good job at spreading goals around,” McIntyre said. “To have Ben, Jordan and Stefanos all chip in with goals, and important goals, has been exciting. It’s always nice to have that output from new faces.”This year’s group of freshmen has helped transform the culture of Syracuse soccer, and McIntyre insists the chemistry between the veteran players and the freshmen is what makes this team so potent.Sophomores Skylar Thomas, Jordan Murrell and Nick Perea have a year of college experience under their belt and have helped the newcomers get acclimated to playing college soccer.They’ve been through a rough season and now are helping elevate the team to a much higher level.“Those individuals have really helped our new guys because now they’re a year older, a year more experienced, more mature and more resilient,” McIntyre said. “The returning players have set the tone and led by example, so you blend those two together and it’s been a fun group to work with so far.”McIntyre said seniors Ted Cribley, Louis Clark and Lars Muller have set the tone for the Orange and served as role models for the freshmen on and off the field.“We have a special group of seniors that has really led by example day in, day out in practice, as well as how they prepare for games,” he said.Other Big East teams that have gotten off to hot starts, like Notre Dame, have no goals from freshmen. Five of the Orange’s 19 goals this year have come from freshmen, and 10 of its 19 strikes have come from players who are new to the program, including Tony Asante.Freshmen Noah Rhynhart and Juuso Pasanen have also played well for Syracuse.  Pasanen recorded his first career point in SU’s 5-0 win over St. Bonaventure on Sunday.Syracuse’s newcomers have accounted for 25 of the team’s 96 shots, and 13 of those shots have been on goal.“Within our program, you earn a spot based on how you perform in practice, and then you keep that spot based on how you perform in games,” McIntyre said.“It doesn’t matter what year you are.” Comments Published on September 11, 2012 at 12:45 am Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHass Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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