Men's Soccer Captures Shutout Victory
The Bulls relied heavily on sophomore forward Patrick Beckley, freshman Justin Higgins and goaltender Brian Wozniak to post their fifth win of the season as they defeated the Binghamton University Bearcats 2-0 in non-conference play Tuesday night.
The Bulls record now stands at 5-5-1, while Binghamton's fell to an abysmal 0-11 with less than five games to go in the regular season.
"We just attacked, attacked, attacked," said Head Coach John Astudillo.
The Bulls first score came on a Mike Peplinski cross to sophomore forward Patrick Beckley, who put the Bulls ahead at the 33-minute mark with his third goal of the season.
Freshmen Justin Higgins netted the Bulls' second score - and his first collegiate goal - at the 65-minute mark on another Peplinski pass.
UB dominated the Bearcats offensively, out-shooting them 15-7. They also posted seven corner kicks to Binghamton's three.
The Bulls, for whom scoring has been sporadic and slightly problematic this season, shifted their formation Tuesday from the standard 3-3-3-1, which provides an even spread of three forwards, midfielders and defensemen with a sweeper in the back. Instead, they used the riskier but more aggressive 4-3-2-1 pyramid formation, which adds an extra offensive player but thins defense.
"We used an odd formation," said Astudillo. "Looking back at our season, we haven't constantly attacked. I think that's a key to the rest of the season."
Thus far, the Bulls have averaged only 1.36 goals per game. In comparison, the winless Bearcats have posted an average of 0.9 goals per game.
The Bulls, however, averaged 2.0 goals in each of their last three games. In the three games prior, they did not score once.
"The team seems to be playing much better. They're more tactically aware now. . We're creating opportunities and sustaining attacks," said Astudillo.
The strategy paid off on defense. Wozniak posted his third shutout in goal, and earned five saves. Binghamton's keeper, Gianni Ciollo also posted five saves.
"I just follow the play, keep the defense alert, and concentrate on getting the job done," said Wozniak. "Lately [the offense] has been putting balls into the net."
Tuesday's game was supposed to have been played at RAC Field, but was moved to the women's training field due to flooding. This marks the fifth-straight home game in which the Bulls have played in foul weather.
"You just have to ignore the elements," said Astudillo.
The team's next real test will come when they play four games in eight days.
"It's a nightmare for a coach" said Astudillo. "We're doing graduated training: the guys who have seen a lot of time, we're easing them off. The guys who haven't played a lot, we're getting them prepared."
The Bulls' next game is Friday night at RAC Field against Canisius.
"Canisius will be a battle," said Astudillo. "[We] can play against the better teams out there. We just have to prove it."