Bengals lose a pair at Fredonia


Buffalo State Sports Information

Matt Wong is a two-year starter that is looking to lead a young team.

Kayla Greco, Reporter

Off to a bumpy start this season, SUNY Buffalo State men’s soccer (1-3) went 0-2 over weekend at the Fredonia Classic, after being defeated by Houghton College, 2-0, and falling to Mount Saint Mary College, 3-2.

On Friday, Buffalo State outshot Houghton, 13-9, but couldn’t get a shot past Houghton keeper Jacob Dunnet. The Bengals nearly broke the shutout in the 35thminute off a penalty kick by Barak Benyehuda, but Dunnet made the save to keep Buffalo State off the board.

The Bengals fell one goal short on Saturday against Mount St. Mary College, with Francesco Cardillo and Joe Vucic each netting goals for the Bengals. Vucic’s late goal in the 78th minute made things interesting, but Buffalo State couldn’t tally the equalizer.

Buffalo State’s first three losses came against three of the strongest and most talented teams they will be facing all season, including the University of Rochester, who entered the game No. 13 in the country.

Head coach Mark Howlett is not letting the first rough patch of the season discourage him.

“Playing stronger teams shows us what we need to work on as a team and how we can become a stronger team,” he said.

The Bengals are going through a youth movement, with five sophomores and 12 freshmen on their roster. The influx of freshmen has helped the Bengals greatly, as six to eight freshmen have spent time in the starting lineup.

“With all of the new and returning players on the team, it’s definitely a rebuilding process, but everyone works really well together and we have a lot of potential,” Howlett said. “As a young team, silly mistakes are expected, but we will grow and learn from them as the season goes on.”

Howlett is now entering his second year as head coach. After having a huge impact on the team last year and being named SUNYAC Coach of the Year, Howlett plans to build off of last year’s success and make it to the SUNYAC Finals.

Howlett does not look at the results of the last three games as total losses. He sees them as stepping stones to see where his team needs to be and what they need to work on. He knows that as a young and rebuilding team, these first couple losses are important in seeing what areas need improvement.

Senior forward Jake Reed has been on the team for three years. Reed is impressed with how much the team has grown this year, not only in numbers but also how the returning players have progressed and grown into stronger athletes and how the team has grown together.

“We already have an extremely strong bond,” Reed said. “We probably are the tightest-knit team in the division right now. The freshmen can always come to us and we all communicate very well.”

The Bengals host Clarkson University on Sept. 13 in their first home game of the season, the first of a five-game home stand.