The men's soccer team responded well after losing to Akron, the No. 1 ranked team in the country, last weekend.
The Bulls (6-7-1, 2-2-0 Mid-American Conference) conquered the Northern Illinois Huskies (6-6-2, 0-4-0 MAC) by a score of 3-2 at UB Stadium on Friday night to remain undefeated at home this season.
The man of the match, sophomore defender Kyle Rogers, scored the first two goals of his career and was pleased with the overall performance of his team.
"I don't think we have had a performance like that all season," Rogers said. "We just worked for each other all night. It didn't matter if you stepped off the bench or if you started, everyone stepped up tonight."
The Huskies got on the board first, finishing a free kick from 15 yards out. The set play saw the ball placed right on junior midfielder Finn Jor's head for a textbook goal.
The Bulls responded in the 22nd minute, when senior forward Mike Unwin tied the match with his fourth goal of the season, which leads the team. Junior forward Anthony Johnson tossed in an accurate throw right in front of the Huskies' net. After a scramble inside the box, Unwin put a clean finish past the keeper.
Head coach John Astudillo felt his team was resilient after going down early.
"Tonight, more than other nights, the men played with a purpose," Astudillo said.
With 16 minutes left in the first half, senior midfielder Rich Wilson was fouled, setting up an opportunity for the Bulls to pick up a goal on a penalty kick. The Huskies' goalkeeper blocked the shot with a diving save on the right post, and the chance was wasted.
The Bulls put fresh legs in when Rogers entered the game late in the first half, and he made his presence felt immediately. Rogers scored the second goal for the Bulls in the 40th minute, putting them in a comfortable position going into the break.
The excitement for the team's performance was felt throughout the stadium. The players tackled Rogers after the goal because it was the first goal of his career in Buffalo.
Rogers didn't stop there. Early in the second half, he added to the lead with his second goal of the game. He knocked the ball in on a corner set, giving the Bulls a two-goal lead.
"[Rogers] has an aggressive nature on the ball, and when it is bouncing at the top of the 18-yard box we need guys who are not afraid to put their bodies out there," Astudillo said. "[Rogers] is that kind of player, and I am happy for him. He absolutely deserves it. He's put the work in."
With nine minutes left on the clock in the second half, the Huskies capitalized on a good chance. Huskies junior Francis Otira scored on a rebound to bring NIU within one.
The Huskies had the advantage in shots for the game, 21-15. Buffalo freshman goalkeeper Ryan Aubrey remains undefeated between the posts and totaled six saves on the night.
"It is good to see guys like Aubrey get in and get his third win," Astudillo said.
The Bulls are 3-0-1 at home this season. They have three matches remaining in their regular season, all of which will be played in the friendly confines of UB Stadium.
"We expect nothing but another battle in our upcoming three matches," Astudillo said.
The Bulls will host Detroit in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.