Despite loss, goalkeeper Bono gives Syracuse a force in net against Georgetown’s aggressive offense

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. — Alex Bono leaned over to fix the socks that had rolled up after another sliding save. But the freshman goalkeeper noticed that Georgetown had regained possession and was on the attack again, and that meant he would have to wait to brush the dirt off his shin guards.Bono was too preoccupied with the vaunted Georgetown attack to fix his socks or try to relax during Syracuse’s third-round NCAA tournament game. But even in a losing effort, he saved his best performance for his last game, saving eight shots and playing like the program centerpiece that head coach Ian McIntyre hoped he’d become.“Alex kept us in it tonight,” McIntyre said after the game. “He was brilliant tonight, and without him on our side it would’ve been tough to keep it that close.”McIntyre was right. The game had every making of a one-sided affair, with the third-seeded Hoyas holding the ball away from Syracuse and driving on goal again and again.Georgetown took 16 shots in the first 90 minutes. It shot five more times over the two following 10-minute overtime periods. And after that, Georgetown tested Bono four more times during the penalty-kick stage.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBono didn’t save any of Georgetown’s four penalty kicks. He did, however, disrupt enough Hoya scoring opportunities to ensure that his team would even reach that stage.The Baldwinsville native started his strong performance early on. Thirteen minutes into the first half, a Georgetown corner kick taken by Steve Neumann curved from left to right and headed right to a pack of waiting Hoya players.But Bono ended that threat quickly. He boxed out two attacking players, leapt over another and snatched the ball at its highest point before landing squarely on his two feet.“Not a lot of other goalkeepers can do something like that,” said defender Nick Bibbs, who patted Bono on the back after he punted the ball away. “Sometimes you wonder how he can get so tall.”Bono would take charge of the SU defense again minutes later. On a free kick granted to Georgetown, he directed a wall of defenders to shield the goal from a striking Andy Reimer. The ball deflected off Bibbs and rolled back to Reimer, who played it back into the box and into another swarm of Hoya attackers.This time, Bono punched the ball away with two clenched fists, redirecting the kick out to midfielder Nick Perea and jumpstarting the SU counterattack.But no other save was more impressive than the one Bono notched with 10 minutes left. Brandon Allen gained position at the top of Syracuse’s 18-yard box, split two defenders, and launched a shot to the near post.Bono prevented a surefire goal when he dove right, jamming one arm against the post in order to block the shot with the other.He relinquished his first goal five minutes later. But after Jordan Murrell watched Bono deny one of the NCAA’s top teams over and over again, he couldn’t help but think about the future of his program — one that features an even better Bono than the one on display during Syracuse’s season finale.“It’s tough to lose, but this season opened up so many possibilities for us,” Murrell said. “It starts with the goalkeeper, and it just trickles down. It’s tough not to smile when you think about what he can eventually be for us.” Comments Published on November 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweets Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more