Men’s soccer opens season with strong showing at Frostburg Tournament

Anthony Appiani scored the game-winning goal for Buffalo State in their opening-game overtime victory over Pitt-Greensburg on Friday.

Buffalo State Sports Information

Anthony Appiani scored the game-winning goal for Buffalo State in their opening-game overtime victory over Pitt-Greensburg on Friday.

The men’s soccer team opened the season with a bang over the weekend.

The Bengals came out of the Frostburg Tournament undefeated after beating Pitt-Greensburg in overtime, 2-1, on Friday and playing Grove City to a scoreless draw on Saturday. With the victory against Pitt-Greensburg, Buffalo State gave its new coach Mark Howlett his first win as a Bengal and matched last season’s win total.

Senior midfielder C.J. Scirto’s penalty kick goal in the first half broke the scoreless tie until Pitt-Greensburg scored on a penalty kick of its own to force overtime. The key moment of the game came in the 95th minute, when senior captain Anthony Appiani corralled a loose ball from a corner kick and buried it in the back of the net.

“Getting the game-winner was great,” Appiani said. “It felt like a weight was lifted off our shoulders, and I know coach (Howlett) was happy.”

Before Friday, Howlett had never won a game in overtime in his career as a coach. He was very happy to get his first one, but said that the team still has a long way to go.

“Both days I think we played well,” he said. “I think there is still a lot of growth to happen, but by no means are we anywhere near our best.”

The Bengals’ time of possession was a driving force in the win over the Bobcats, helping Buffalo State outshoot Pitt-Greensburg, 24-9.
Saturday was a different story for the Bengals. They struggled to control possession, and were outshot 14-11 by Grove City. The Wolverines also had nine more corner kicks than Buffalo State.

As a result, the Bengals relied heavily on their defense to get the tie. Freshman goalkeeper Michael Moraitis earned the shutout for the Bengals in his first career start.

One question coming into the season for Buffalo State was who was going to be the full-time starter at goalkeeper. The Bengals played all three of their keepers throughout the weekend. Ian Huntoon made one save in the first half against Pitt-Greensburg and Robby Kuhnle made two saves and allowed one goal in the second half Friday.

Against Grove City, Moraitis stopped the only two shots he faced. Although Buffalo State came out of the weekend without a loss and each keeper played well, Howlett said he still isn’t sure who their full-time starter is going to be.

“We are really looking for someone to stand out and grab that position by the horns,” Howlett said. “We really don’t know who is the strongest candidate at that position yet.”

Junior midfielder Jon Commisso was pleased with the team’s play this weekend, but said there are certain things they still need to work on.

“We need to improve on possessing the ball effectively in the attacking third, and the movement off the ball needs to be quicker,” he said.
Commisso added that these things will be fixed sooner rather than later once the team gets to know each other better on the field.

The Bengals play in the Fredonia Classic this weekend. They take on Houghton on Friday before facing Mount St. Mary on Saturday.

Joseph Sarro can be reached by email at [email protected]