Bulls down Bonnies to extend win streak to three
After a slow start to the season, the men's soccer team is now on the right side of .500 after extending its win streak to three games against St. Bonaventure Tuesday night.
The Bulls (3-2) rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit to defeat the Bonnies (2-3) 2-1 at UB Stadium.
"I think [winning three in a row] was key because it gives the team confidence going into these upcoming games," said head coach John Astudillo.
The Bonnies struck first when senior midfielder Fabrizio Savarino dribbled around a defender and found an opening in front of the net. Savarino fell to the ground as he shot, but the ball trickled past Buffalo freshman goalkeeper Jeremy Figler for an early goal in the 11th minute.
The Bulls responded quickly when senior defender Casey Derkacz cut inside past his defender and fired a shot from outside the goal box. The shot was perfectly placed in the upper-corner of the net to tie the game at one in the 13th minute.
Both teams had chances to score before the half ended, but neither team could capitalize and the teams went into the break with the score knotted at one.
After an offensive struggle for most of the second half, Bulls' junior forward Mike Unwin got the ball in a threatening position and dribbled toward the near post to draw the Bonnie goalkeeper out of position. Unwin then crossed the ball to junior forward Andy Tiedt, who finished off the play on an open net to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead in the 64th minute.
"I saw Mike Unwin get the ball out wide and there was just a scrum in the box," Tiedt said. "He did brilliantly to put the ball on my foot. All I pretty much had to do was stand there."
With minutes remaining in the match and the Bulls trying to hold their lead, they caught the Bonnies off guard twice with good chances, but were denied on both. However, the Bulls did not need another goal as they denied a couple of late St. Bonaventure scoring chances to clinch the victory.
"We knew that we needed to do two things: attack with speed and gain possession," Astudillo said. "And I thought our possession was really solid at the end and that's what did it."
After dropping the first two games of the season, three straight victories are important for the Bulls before their upcoming road trip.
Buffalo continues its string of five games in 10 days when the team travels to New Mexico this weekend to face New Mexico and UC Santa Barbara.
"We are playing at a time when the heat is on and the altitude will play a big factor," Astudillo said. "We have been doing some extra preparation for that, some extra hydration."
The Bulls begin play in the Lobo Classic on Friday at 9 p.m. against host New Mexico.