Bengals hold final playoff spot heading into final two games of regular season

Offense explodes for six goals in two weekend games

The Buffalo State men’s soccer team moved closer to clinching a playoff spot this weekend after splitting two SUNYAC games on the road, losing to Plattsburgh, 3-2, in overtime and beating Potsdam, 4-2.

With the win against Potsdam Saturday, the Bengals (7-7-1, 3-4) are now in sixth place in the league, and are still in the mix for a playoff berth.

“The attitude of the guys are good and they are looking forward to this final conference weekend,” head coach Mark Howlett said.

Andrew Dugan played a strong game against Plattsburgh Friday, scoring two goals to erase a two-goal deficit.

“It felt great to be able to contribute this weekend,” Dugan said. “It was a total team effort, though, and I’m thankful my teammates put me in that position to make those plays.”

The game started out with a bang from Plattsburgh State. After two early shots went wide, Ethan Votraw scored his second goal of the season on a shot off of a cross from Tom Greene to open the scoring in the sixth minute.

Buffalo State applied a lot of pressure after the goal. Forwards Keegan Lezama, Stephen Linderman, and Dylan Ross all registered shots on goal, but Plattsburgh goalkeeper Mitchell Jordon kept Buffalo State scoreless heading into halftime.

The second half stood scoreless until the 77th minute when Plattsburgh’s Fabian Chaparro beat the defense and scored on the bottom left side to give Plattsburgh a 2-0 lead.

The Bengals answered right back, with Dugan displaying some late-game heroics. Dugan scored goals in the 79th minute and 84th minute to send the game into overtime.

Plattsburgh’s Chaparro scored a highlight-reel goal 59 seconds into overtime. The bicycle-kick goal gave Plattsburgh the win, and received national attention after appearing on Sportscenter’s” Top 10 Plays.

The Bengals had a better start on Saturday against Potsdam.

Defender Anthony Appiani opened the scoring off of a corner kick in the 5th minute. The goal was his third of the season.

“I was relieved to open the scoring,” Appiani said. “One of our goals as a team is to score first. We know if we do that we have a really good chance of winning.”

Francesco Cardillo added to the lead with a goal in the 11th minute. Stephen Linderman passed inside to Cardillo, who finished an open shot on goal to give Buffalo State the lead, 2-0.

The Bengals scored their third goal four minutes later. Forward Keegan Lezama scored off of a crossing pass from Dugan. Lezama struck the ball perfectly in the far corner to give the Bengals a 3-0 lead.

Potsdam answered back with two unanswered goals. Chris Schrum scored on a header and Mario Riccardi lofted a shot over Huntoon’s head and into the net to keep Potsdam’s hopes alive heading into the second half.

Clinging to a one-goal lead late in the second half, Buffalo State’s Dylan Ross scored on a long free kick in the 74th minute. It was Ross’ fifth goal of the season.

In order for Buffalo State to ensure a playoff spot, the team will need to beat New Paltz this weekend, a team they need to finish above in the standings to make the postseason. Buffalo State currently holds the sixth and final playoff spot, two points ahead of New Paltz.

Howlett said the team is treating its game against New Paltz as though it’s their first playoff game.

“It’s a playoff game for us,” he said. “It’s going to come down to who wants it more for that sixth spot.”