Men’s Soccer shuts out Oswego, 2-0; clinches No. 3 seed in playoffs

Francis Boeck, Executive Editor

The SUNY Buffalo State Men’s Soccer team was picked to finish seventh out of the 10 teams this season in the SUNYAC conference after only losing four seniors from their 2018 team that finished fifth.

The Bengals used the poll as bulletin board-material, winning their first seven games of the season; the program’s best start to a season since 1970. More impressive however was they outscored their opponents 33-1 in the process.

Saturday, on the final day of conference play, the Bengals officially proved the doubters wrong earning the No. 3 seed in the SUNYAC playoffs.

“That’s what we used all year to motive us,” said Buffalo State Men’s Soccer coach Francesco Cardillo, after the Bengals’ 2-0 win over the SUNY Oswego Lakers at Coyer Field. The victory capped off Homecoming and Family Weekend at Buffalo State.

“We have proven ourselves, not just to our conference, but everyone else about what we do and what we’re building here. I think it’s been a strong year for us.”

Buffalo State (13-3, 6-3 SUNYAC) will host the No. 6 Brockport Golden Eagles next Saturday at 1 p.m. in the SUNYAC quarterfinals.

“(The preseason ranking) meant a lot,” co-captain senior goalkeeper Andreas Queen said. “Pretty much every game, we had it in the back of our minds. We just had that underdog mentality all season long.”

Senior winger Josh Beshaw found a loose ball in front of the net and pounded it in from six yards away in the sixth minute for the Bengals’ first goal. In the 34th minute, junior defensive midfielder Saleman Salim took the ball and cut toward the middle of the field before firing it in from right outside the 18-yard box as the Bengals took the two-goal lead to the half.

Meanwhile, Queen put on a phenomenal performance on Senior Day stopping all six shots he faced to earn his ninth shutout of the season.

“It’s an awesome way to cap off my four years here,” Queen said.

Queen has been in net for the entire season so far only allowing 11 goals in 16 games, but his impact goes far beyond the stat sheet.

“The past three seasons he’s meant everything to this team,” Cardillo said. “He’s the guy that controls everything there at the back and has done a fabulous job overall to hone us in every game.”

In the 76th minute, the two teams got into a scuffle that highlighted a game with 28 fouls and five yellow cards.

Cardillo believes the moment showed the team’s unity that they worked on building throughout the season and exemplified Queen’s leadership.

“With that scuffle, we have 11 guys sprinting over there,” Cardillo said. “I don’t think that was about getting at anybody, it was more about just supporting each other and being one. Queen sprinting 70 yards down the field to be there, that’s why he’s our captain.”

The Bengals’ archrivals, Fredonia, helped them out in the afternoon beating Cortland, 2-1 in overtime. That result clinched Buffalo State at least a home playoff game.

“I feel very strongly about our team,” Cardillo said about his team going into the playoffs. “Our guys are just willing to work and fight. They want this more than anything.”

Buffalo State has a non-conference game on Tuesday when they travel to Alfred University to take on the Saxons. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.