Shutdown and shutout by Big Ten

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The Spectrum

Two shutout losses put a damper on the men's soccer team's opening weekend.

After a blowout 5-0 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0) on Friday night, the Bulls (0-2) failed to find the back of the net again to No. 18 nationally ranked Ohio State (3-0), 2-0 the following day.

It took the Nittany Lions just four minutes Friday night to strike first after Corey Hertzog beat junior goalkeeper Nick Fetterman. In response, the Bulls sharpened up on defense and kept Penn State scoreless for the remainder of the half.

But the Bulls' defensive stand crumbled thanks to Hertzog, who followed Penn State's second goal with another goal of his own to make the score 3-0. Penn State completed the rout with two more goals in the 74th and 90th minutes.

Head coach John Astudillo felt that the Bulls' inconsistency marred the team. "I think we're progressing, but we still have a long way to go," Astudillo said. "The second half was dreadful and we showed that we weren't prepared to take on teams that play for a full 90 minutes."

The Bulls took just two shots during the game, both of which came in the first half. Junior forward Anthony Johnson was responsible for the lone shot on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Jeremy Figler made his debut in the game, playing in the final 15 minutes.

Although the Bulls seemed more mentally focused in their second round game against the Buckeyes, Buffalo suffered the same fate against another Big Ten foe.

Buffalo lingered with the Buckeyes and held Ohio State scoreless until late in the second half. In the 74th minute, Ohio State senior Konrad Warzycha scored the game's first goal on a penalty kick. Just 12 minutes later, Warzycha scored on another penalty kick, leaving Buffalo with a 2-0 deficit.

The Bulls created some scoring opportunities in the final five minutes, but Ohio State sophomore goalkeeper Matt Lampson sealed the game for the Buckeyes by stopping point-blank shots from senior midfielder Rich Wilson and junior forward Mike Unwin.

Astudillo was encouraged by Buffalo's toughness, but is concerned about the team's overall play.

"They collected themselves and went forward. I give them credit for how they played against Ohio State," Astudillo said. "We showed that we can defend, but my major concern is our ability to attack against Big Ten teams."

Unwin, an All-MAC Second Team selection in 2009, led the Bulls with four shots, including two shots on goal. The Bulls received solid play from senior defender Kieron Gradwell and senior midfielder Jordan Brouk, who were both named to the All-Tournament team.

The Bulls return to Western New York to gear up for their third-straight road game in a matchup at Canisius on Friday at 4 p.m.