Amidst a torrential downpour, the men's soccer team dropped their second straight game 3-0 to Niagara University Tuesday night at RAC Field. The loss marks the Bulls' second straight shutout following a four-game winning streak.
The Bulls' record now stands at 3-3-1 (0-1 Mid-American Conference) with over half the season complete. The Bulls play eight more games before this year's MAC Tournament, six of which are against conference opponents.
"I'm totally disappointed in our team, said Head Coach John Astudillo. "Obviously there's a big problem [in the team's failure to score]."
Niagara sophomore forward Jeff Boyle opened scoring early in the first half as he edged a ball past UB goalkeeper Brian Wozniak on a Nii Sowah assist to put the Purple Eagles ahead at the 6:22 mark.
Niagara never relinquished the lead, scoring twice more while shutting out Buffalo's offense.
The Bulls put pressure on the Niagara defense in the second half, out-shooting Niagara 12-7, 10 of which came in the second half. The Bulls also had a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks but came up three short in the goal column.
Freshman midfielder Chris Eyring tallied the second Niagara score just over a minute into the second half on an unassisted goal. Boyle chipped in again on the team's third goal with a well-placed shot to the top left corner of the net.
Buffalo goalkeeper Brian Wozniak recorded three saves on six shots. Niagara goalkeeper Sean Supler earned three saves.
"They were playing to counter," said Astudillo. "Every time we put pressure on them, they countered effectively."
The Bulls attempted to equalize play by attacking with their defenders and midfielders. Their strategy failed, though, leaving them open to Niagara's subsequent scores. "In the future we have to tighten up the defense, so we don't get exposed," said Astudillo.
He partially attributed the loss to foul weather. "It may have, in that we couldn't really play our style, which is pass-oriented. In this game we had to rely on long passes and shots."
Players on both sides were often seen losing their footing and slipping on the wet field. Many shots were misfired, and play itself was frequently reduced to a standstill because of bad footing.
The Bulls next face off against two strong division rivals when they play Bowling Green University at home, Sunday at 2 p.m., and Marshall University Oct. 5.
"Let's hope for better weather," said Astudillo.