Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Syracuse headed into its final weekend against Cincinnati and Louisville aware of the challenge that was in store. Two of the best teams in the conference stood as the final two opponents for the Orange’s season. And both lived up to the challenge. SU (23-9, 5-9 Big East) lost both matches in a weekend that put an end to the Orange’s roller coaster season. It’s ended a year during which the Orange went from the best start in program history to playing itself out of the playoffs. Still, Syracuse didn’t go down without a fight. ‘We knew this was going to be the toughest weekend,’ assistant coach Carol LaMarche said. ‘They’ve been one and two in the conference all the way up to this weekend.’ Syracuse battled No. 19 Cincinnati to take the first two sets. Everything was in SU’s favor. The Orange had all the momentum and seemed to be cruising to a victory. There was an unmistakable feeling that there was potential for something special to happen.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text The match had everything it needed to be a monumental victory for the Orange. The underdog was on its way to taking down the conference powerhouse, which stood on its side of the court, shocked at what was happening. ‘We were just working out butts off,’ SU outside hitter Hayley Todd said. ‘We were just fighting together. We gave it everything we had.’ The feelings of the two teams going into the break after the first two sets could not have been more different. Syracuse was rolling and didn’t want to have to stop playing. Cincinnati needed the 10 minutes to create a new game plan. And it worked. Syracuse was one set away from sending Cincinnati home with just its second conference loss. The Bearcats just wouldn’t have it. Cincinnati woke up and regained the momentum and control to win the next three sets. New plan. New adjustments. That’s all it needed. ‘They started tipping a lot more, they had been hitting a lot of deep balls that we were picking up and blocking,’ Todd said. ‘They definitely adjusted their attacking.’ Cincinnati started to attack like the nationally ranked team it is. The Orange caught the Bearcats off guard in the first two sets. That was all Cincinnati needed to see. They figured everything out to send SU to a heartbreaking loss. Syracuse was so close but couldn’t prevail. Against Louisville, there was once again the feeling that Syracuse could pull out a huge win. The Orange came out strong, taking the first set 25-15. But just like against the Bearcats, the Cardinals didn’t let the Orange get too far. This time, SU only won one set before going on to lose the next three. ‘They’re definitely just a strong, high-blocking team,’ outside hitter Mindy Stanislovaitis said. ‘We don’t see that a lot in the Big East, they’re probably the biggest team we’ve seen all season.’ From that point on, Louisville completely took Syracuse out of the match. Against the Bearcats, the Orange battled for the whole match. Against the Cardinals, it didn’t have much of a chance after the first set. Louisville went on a 9-0 run in the second set to take it 25-12. The Syracuse team that dominated the first set looked nothing like the team on the court for the final three sets. Digs were missed. Errors were made. But the biggest problem of all was that it couldn’t get anything past Louisville. ‘They’re a good team, they always peak at the end of the year,’ LaMarche said. ‘They were reading what we were doing. You have to give them credit.’ The loss wrapped up Syracuse’s weekend and its season. It was a season of highs and lows, with the program-record start and the tumble in Big East play. And it all culminated with the highs and lows in these two matches. Said LaMarche: ‘It’s unfortunate we put ourselves in this situation, but we tried to step up to the challenge.’ firstname.lastname@example.org Published on November 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: email@example.com | @chris_iseman
But Messi was scathing of the performance from the Video Assistant Referee and match official Roddy Zambrano, using a postmatch interview to criticize the decision to not award a penalty to Sergio Aguero just prior to Firmino’s 71st-minute strike.”They were not better than us. They found the net early and the second goal came from a penalty [to Aguero] they didn’t award,” Messi told reporters.”They [the officials] had booked a lot of bulls—, but they didn’t even check the VAR. That’s incredible.”That happened all over the game. At the first glance of contact, they ruled in their [Brazil’s] favor and this kind of bulls— distracted us from the game.”There is no excuses for us, but we need to review this, analyze it and let’s hope CONMEBOL does something about it.”I think we played a great game. We made a great effort and they were not superior to us.”Argentina had 10 more shots at Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson than their opponents managed in attack (14-4) and struck the woodwork twice as they came agonizingly close to getting back into the contest.Aguero looped a header onto the crossbar with Alisson well-beaten in the first half shortly after Jesus earned the lead and Messi slammed a shot into the post in the second period after Lautaro Martinez’s drive was blocked. The Selecao took both of their chances clinically as Jesus and Firmino both side-footed into the net from close range after being teed up by the other.Brazil will host the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between Chile and Peru in a final to be hosted Sunday at the Maracana.They will be aiming to win their first Copa America since triumphing in Venezuela during the 2007 edition. Lionel Messi has accused the referees of favoring Brazil as Argentina crashed out of the Copa America with a 2-0 defeat in the semifinal in Belo Horizonte.The Barcelona star again failed to have a decisive impact in the match for his nation as the hosts took the most of their opportunities with goals to Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino in either half sealing a place in the final.