Men’s soccer outed in semis by No. 1 Cortland


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Sophomore midfielder Bass Sarr finished the season as the SUNYAC’s leading scorer with 12 goals.

Ryan Mullen, Reporter

The final horn goes off. The play stops and the game is over. In the playoffs, if that horn sounds and your team has a lower score, you’re out.

In that moment, the seniors have the chilling moment that their collegiate days of playing are over. The underclassmen move up to take bigger role. After that postgame talk huddle, every player has to wait what feels like a century until the next season begins.

The offseason grind becomes a long waiting game. Some of the players will have the opportunity next year. But for seniors, there is no waiting game.

The majority of the Buffalo State men’s soccer team (11-7-1) will get the chance to wait for next year as they lost 1-0 to  D-III national No. 6 Cortland. The result was identical to the bout these two teams had in the regular season.

The first half was tight. Both teams figured out the other’s strategy. But in the second half, it became apparent why Cortland was ranked No. 6 in the country. The Red Dragons are good. They took control in the second half and were the obvious aggressors.

Buffalo State had little to no quality chances. It just wasn’t their game.

“We didn’t have any clear-cut chances to score,” Buffalo State head coach Mark Howlett said.  “We felt we’re on the same level even though we were missing five starters. Five legit players and we still played with them evenly; we know we can play up to that high of a level.”

The seniors’ seasons have now ended and their collegiate careers are over. William Banahene, Daniel Aquilar Lobo, Alex Cassells and Junior Geegba will be the first group of players that Howlett recruited to graduate.

Three out of the four years here, they have made the playoffs, won in the quarterfinals — for the first time since 1984 — and more importantly, helped make the Buffalo State men’s soccer program relevant.

“It’s been a tremendous season and we’ve only lost once by more than one goal. Overall, it’s been a tremendous year and the guys should be proud,” Howlett said. “They have been here for the entire process and you don’t have to keep reminding them to do things. They have built this program and I am proud to have worked with them.”

Sometimes, when a college program has a really good year, it means they had a big group of seniors to help them be successful. However, Buffalo State men’s soccer program doesn’t fit the bill as they will only graduate four seniors and have tons of talent and experience coming back. Luke Pavone, Tristan Myers, Bass Sarr and Drew Braun are some of the players coming back with tremendous amounts of experience.

“Everybody is back, you know, we lose William Banahene and Daniel Aquilar Lobo, but we gain so much experience and talent back,” Howlett said. “We don’t really lose a lot of games, so other teams in the conference should really be worried about what we can do next year.”

The Bengals will have to wait for another chance next year. But soon enough, the players will suit up their cleats, sport the Buffalo State logo and walk onto the field once again.

email: [email protected]

Twitter: @RyRyMullen