A good start, with a solid ending to match it, helped the men's soccer team end their three-game losing streak.
The Bulls (5-6-1, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) defeated the Cleveland State Vikings (6-7, 3-2 Horizon League) by a score of 2-0 on Monday in Cleveland. Buffalo played well on both sides of the ball in order to achieve victory.
"The men did really well, balancing offense with good defense," said head coach John Astudillo. "With different personalities, we were able to play at such a high level."
The Bulls got on the board only nine minutes into the match, when the ball found junior forward Anthony Johnson's foot. He crossed the ball into the six-yard box to senior forward Juha Kaartoluoma, who put it past the keeper for a quick goal – his third of the season.
Senior defensemen Casey Derkez and Kieron Gradwell dominated the Vikings in the back line, constantly pushing the ball and creating attacking opportunities. It was only the third time that the Vikings have been defeated at home this season.
"I like what we did today," Astudillo said. "We had so many competitors on the field… We were also able to create attack through the midfield and defense."
Senior forward Mike Unwin sealed the win for the Bulls with his third goal of the season. In the 88th minute, Unwin was able to break away from the Vikings defense and slip it past the goalkeeper.
As Buffalo's offense accumulated just five shots, a stout defense served an important role in the victory.
The Vikings totaled eight shots, but only one shot was on goal. In the 86th minute, Vikings junior midfielder Manuel Conde took a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, forcing freshman goalkeeper Ryan Aubrey to make a diving stop. It was one of two free kicks for Cleveland State from just outside the box.
Aubrey, who played in place of junior Nick Fetterman, did not look rusty despite it being his first game action in almost a month.
Buffalo's focus is now on the nation's number one ranked team, the Akron Zips (9-0-1, 3-0 MAC).
"If you don't pay attention to what Akron brings to the table you are a fool," Astudillo said. "They have a varied attack. We need to prepare for their attack without losing balance. Over the next few days, we will definitely be preparing for the tough competition ahead."
Akron, who has yet to allow a goal in conference play, will pose a major challenge for the Bulls.
The match is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m.