After dropping their last two games, the UB Bulls men's soccer team was looking to rebound against a difficult opponent, the Bowling Green Falcons, Sunday afternoon in a Mid-American Conference game at RAC Field. The Bulls, however, fell 1-0 in a heart-wrenching overtime loss, dropping their record to 3-4-1 and 0-2 in the MAC.
Tony Malik fired a high shot through the normally surefire hands of Bull's goalkeeper Brian Wozniak. Burt Weeber picked up the assist on the game-winning, and only, goal.
"We ran into a tough break," said UB Head Coach John Astudillo.
"It's a hard loss. We worked hard and it's a shame it ended like that. We have to come back," said Bulls' senior Bill Norberg.
The Bulls came out in the first half showing intensity and the will to win. They controlled the tempo early in the game, but just couldn't get the ball in the goal.
They took a big loss early in the half when senior Kevin Petra was ejected on a highly questionable call. Petra executed what appeared to be an effective slide tackle, but the official felt he had malicious intent on the play and gave Petra a red card.
The Bowling Green player acted as if he were hurt, but as soon as the red card was shown, he bounced up, knowing he had duped the referee.
"Ref you went for it, you fell for it. You should have known better," Astudillo yelled from the bench.
"That was a very questionable call, but you don't cry, you play hard the rest of the way," said Astudillo in a post-game interview.
The Bulls did exactly as their coach said. They did not let losing Petra, and the subsequent man-down situation, affect them. They dug down deep and persevered.
In the second half, Buffalo's defense and goalkeeping came up big. Jason Seymour made some excellent defensive plays, and Wozniak was brilliant in net.
Other players were called upon and came up enormously.
Coach Astudillo expressed his satisfaction with the team's depth and their ability to compete in a shorthanded situation.
"I was quite pleased by players stepping forward," Astudillo said. "Even though the number of our players was down, we were still creating scoring opportunities, and that tactically our defense was still very decent.
"I was pleased by players like Justin Higgins, who don't usually get as much time, but come up big when called upon."
As the time ticked down on the second half Norberg could be seen and heard verbally pumping up his teammates during a corner kick for the Falcons. The Bulls prevented a Bowling Green score and the game was then headed into overtime.
The Bulls will square off against MAC powerhouse Marshall at home on Oct. 5.
"We have to improve, Marshall is in first, and well, we are not," said Astudillo.