Men’s soccer fighting for top seeding after weekend split


Dave DeLuca/the Record

Junior forward Tristan Meyers is second in points in SUNYAC (16)

Ryan Mullen, Reporter

Life in the SUNYAC isn’t easy. The competition is fierce. Every game is a physical grind. The Buffalo State men’s soccer team (8-4-1/3-2) got a taste of that this past weekend during a road trip against two SUNYAC opponents.

The Bengals defeated the last place team in the conference, Oswego (3-10/0-6) 2-1 on Friday and then lost a heartbreaker to conference rival Cortland (10-2/5-1) 1-0 on Saturday. Going 1-1 on the weekend puts Buffalo State in a three-way tie with Fredonia (9-4-1/3-2) and Geneseo (7-4-2/3-2) for the third seed in the conference.

“It was a decent weekend. We did well to close out versus an Oswego team that was fighting for their season,” senior goaltender William Banahene said. “Unfortunately, despite playing very well against a ranked Cortland team for 85 minutes, we lost concentration for a split second and lost the game. The results from this weekend just makes next weekend that much more important now.”

With four games left, Buffalo State has to make a push if they want to ensure a top spot for themselves in the SUNYAC playoffs. The Bengals will face sixth-place Plattsburgh, ninth-place Potsdam, first-place Oneonta and tied seventh-place New Paltz to finish out the regular season.

The standings go as followed: Since there is a three-way tie in third, the following seed would be sixth, compared to fourth. Beating out Fredonia and Geneseo will be imperative.

On paper, it looks like Buffalo State could very well make a run to end the season. They’re playing three teams that are beneath them in the conference. That should bode well for the Bengals if they don’t have any hiccups. Their toughest opponent is D-III ranked No. 22 SUNY Oneonta, which should be the biggest test the Bengals will face.

“We’re playing very well at the moment. As long as we split every weekend, we will host the first SUNYAC playoff game in program history,” Buffalo State head coach Mark Howlett said. “This weekend, we played a good Oswego team even though their record doesn’t show it, and we also played a very good Cortland team. So we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and we’ll be fine.”

Buffalo State’s record at this point in the season, compared to last year’s, doesn’t show much improvement. But Howell believes this year’s team is much more competitive.

“This year has been an improvement overall,” Howlett said. “We are beating teams we haven’t beat in a long time. We are playing with teams that are nationally ranked, and we haven’t lost by more than one goal all year. So this year has definitely been an improvement overall. You have to remember that five years ago, this program was irrelevant. Now it’s a destination.”

At this point, Buffalo State is fighting for a high seed. The top two seeds getting byes in the first round of SUNYAC playoffs, the three and four seeds will host the opening week of playoffs against five and six.

Once Buffalo State gets into the playoffs, and especially with a home playoff game if they place top four, anything can happen.

The Bengals next bout will be its last home game against Plattsburgh Friday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m.

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