Men’s soccer shuts out SUNYAC opponents in weekend sweep

Strong defensive play spurs Bengals’ to two wins

The Buffalo State men’s soccer team’s defense came ready to play last weekend.

The Bengals registered a 3-0 win Friday over Oswego before defeating Cortland 1-0 the next day. They did not allow a goal in either of their two victories, and the wins brought the Bengals back into the SUNYAC playoff hunt.

“We changed our shape within defending set pieces,” said head coach Mark Howlett. “We’re starting to finally play the way we want. Everything was clicking and it really came together this weekend.”

The defense outlasted some early pressure from Oswego on Friday, and the Bengals picked up the pace against the Lakers as the game wore on.

In the 20th minute, Buffalo State scored its first goal off a header by Dylan Ross. Daniel Aguilar Lobo assisted on the goal with a long cross. The goal was Ross’ third of the season.

Buffalo State kept applying pressure later in the half. Francesco Cardillo and Erik Tellgren both got shots on net, but Oswego goalkeeper Jon Runge made the necessary saves to keep it a one-goal game heading into halftime.

After numerous saves by Runge in the second half, Buffalo State finally added to its lead with a goal from Stephen Linderman. It was his first of the season and went just inside the left post to give the Bengals a 2-0 lead.

Late in the game, Keegan Lezama scored on a long shot from the left wing that went just under the crossbar. Joe Vucic assisted on the goal and it was Lezama’s second of the season to give Buffalo State the third and final tally of the match.

The Bengals took on Cortland the next day.

Although Buffalo State was outshot 12-9, the defense again stood its ground by not giving up a goal. The win was Buffalo State’s first against Cortland in five years.

“It felt great to beat Cortland,” said Anthony Appiani. “It was awesome to pull out the double this weekend. We have great shape and complete focus and we are confident that we will get it.”

Saturday’s game went back and forth all afternoon. Goalkeepers Tim Beauvais from Cortland and Ian Huntoon of Buffalo State both played strong for their teams, handling shot after shot to keep the game a scoreless tie at the half.

After Cortland’s Chris Barbosa committed a foul and received a yellow card in the 68th minute, Buffalo State took advantage eight seconds later.

Ross scored the first and only goal of the game after a scramble in front of the net. Brett Lanham was credited with the assist, giving Ross his team-leading fourth goal of the year.

“Dylan has been playing really well the last few weeks,” said Andrew Dugan. “He’s come up big for us when we’ve needed a big goal. Ross plays with a lot of passion and that’s translated into his determination to not lose.”

Buffalo State is putting itself in a position to possibly make the playoffs. If they continue their strong play over the next two weekends, the Bengals could get into the post season for the first time since 2007.