Bulls' defense dominates St. Bonaventure
Buffalo doesn't allow a shot on net in 4-0 victory
Half of the men’s soccer team’s losses this season have been decided by one goal. On Tuesday night, Buffalo didn’t allow St. Bonaventure an opportunity to keep the game close.
The Bulls (4-8-2, 0-0-2 Mid-American Conference) held St. Bonaventure (1-10, 0-3 Atlantic 10 Conference) without a shot on goal in their 4-0 victory at UB Stadium Tuesday. It was Buffalo’s second shutout of the season against non-conference opponents.
“It’s hard not to have a boost of confidence after dominating in a game,” said head coach Stu Riddle. “We’re really starting to see this young team gel together now.”
The Bulls outshot St. Bonaventure 26-8, but none of the Bonnies’ shots made it to Buffalo senior goalkeeper Waleed Cassis. Buffalo controlled the game throughout, taking a 3-0 lead after the first half.
Sophomore midfielder Russell Cicerone had a season-high six points with two goals and two assists. Cicerone now leads the team with eight goals and 19 points.
“I’m just trying to be more of a leader on the team,” Cicerone said. “I know how the league works now, I know how teams are going to play and I know how to score goals.”
Sophomore midfielder Nicolai Berry also had a breakout game. He scored his first goal of the season in the 82nd minute to give Buffalo a 4-0 lead. He placed pressure on the Bonnies’ defenders throughout the game, placing three out of his four shots on net.
Tuesday was just Berry’s third start of the season. Berry missed most of preseason training due to a back and thigh injury, so Riddle has slowly increased Berry’s playing time throughout the season. He is third on team with six points.
Buffalo opened with an early lead after Cicerone laced a pass through the St. Bonaventure defense to find senior forward Marcus Hanson in the middle of the field. Hanson’s juke move caused Bonnies’ senior goalkeeper, Jeremy Figler, to sprawl to the left, leaving the entire right side of the net open. Hanson then tipped in the goal at the 9th minute of play.
Cicerone added his two goals before halftime to give the Bulls a 3-0 lead.
Buffalo has won four games this year after winning just three last season. With three regular season games remaining, the Bulls are currently in a position to make the MAC tournament. Buffalo is third out of six MAC teams with two points in conference play.
The top four teams in the conference advance to the postseason.
“It was a great team performance – we were looking sharp,” Cicerone said. “It feels good looking [like] this going into Northern Illinois this Friday.”
The Bulls return to MAC play against Northern Illinois (2-6-5, 0-1-1 MAC) Saturday at UB Stadium. It will be Buffalo’s final home game of the season. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m.