The drought continues
Men’s soccer struggles
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Twenty-six days and 428 game minutes.
That is how much time has passed since the men’s soccer team has scored a goal. The scoring drought continued over the weekend as the Bulls (2-10-1, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) lost in shutout fashion on Saturday – a 3-0 defeat to Bowling Green (5-6-2, 2-1 MAC) in Buffalo’s third straight conference road game.
The Bulls have persistently attacked the net this season, as they have attempted 160 shots with 60 on goal, though it hasn’t paid off.
Buffalo got off 18 shots against the Falcons, but only four came on goal. Senior defender Lukas Fedler had a career high in shot attempts with seven, and the team created several scoring chances throughout the game, but the squad failed to convert them into goals – which has been the case all too often. Buffalo last won a game on Sept. 21.
Buffalo had eight corner kicks in the game but couldn’t cash in. Head coach Dave Hesch believed the team would have had success on corners with its set plays – something he has been emphasizing in practice.
“[Bowling Green goalkeeper Michael Wiest] made saves,” Hesch said. “They had a little height on us, so it was tough. We had to serve the ball out a little bit. The goalkeeper was short, so going into the game I kind of thought we were going to be able to score on a set play, corner kick or free kick. But we just have to be hungrier in the box.”
The Falcons came out in the first half aggressive, scoring the game’s first goal at the eight-minute mark when forward Anthony Grant put back his own rebound.
“We moved the ball, we protected the ball well and we gave them three chances to score, and they scored on all three,” Hesch said. “We have to stop making big mistakes, and when we do make big mistakes, we have to keep the ball out of the back of the net.”
The Bulls’ defensive back line didn’t help senior goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi, allowing the Falcons to take 28 shots with 14 on goal. Viscosi saved 11 shots, the most saves a Buffalo goalkeeper has had in 15 years. His effort tied him for 12th-most saves in a single game in Buffalo history.
“Jon’s been a big time goal keeper for us since the day he walked in last year,” Hesch said. “Against Bowling Green, they counter-attacked and he had a lot of shots on him, [but] he covers the goal well. He organizes his back four well to make the hard saves look easy.”
Despite Viscosi’s performance in goal, Bowling Green scored two more times in the second half.
Senior forward Maksym Kowal, who leads the Bulls in goals with three, is currently playing with a significant injury. He was hurt last week against West Virginia on a slide tackle. Despite being less than 100 percent, Kowal insisted on playing through the pain.
Hesch is impressed by the forward’s commitment and dedication to the team and has not cut back on his minutes.
“He is about 60 percent,” Hesch said. “But he is a senior, he wants to play and he is good enough to play.”
Buffalo has only four games left this season and will have to win all four to have a legitimate opportunity to make the postseason. The team still believes it can make a run and make the conference tournament. A scoring drought such as this one has the potential to damage a team’s morale, but the Bulls are sticking together.
“I give these guys one credit: they’re not giving up,” Hesch said. “We work hard every day. We just have to go four out of four to make the playoffs now. We have two games at home and we just have to get on a run now.”
Buffalo’s next opponent has scored at a prodigiously slow rate, tallying six goals on the season.
The Bulls’ next opportunity to quench their scoring thirst will come at home. Next Friday, Buffalo will face Florida Atlantic (1-9-1) at 2 p.m.