BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's soccer team soared past the Niagara Purple Eagles, 3-0 on Friday evening at UB Stadium. The Bulls walked away with a 23-7 shot advantage as junior Kieron Gradwell and sophomore Anthony Johnson scored their first career goals. Junior Mike Unwin closed out the Bulls' scoring attack with his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
The Bulls' first tally of the night came in the 33rd minute off
a costly Niagara foul close to their own bench. With a crowd of
blue and purple positioned inside the 18-yard box, senior Alex
Marrello sent a high-arching shot from 30-yards out towards the
Purple Eagles' net. As the ball ricocheted off bodies, Gradwell
located the loose ball and sent his first career goal into the back
of net for the Bulls' 1-0 lead.
Holding a 10-4 shot advantage in the first half, the Bulls continued to dominate in the Purple Eagles' end into the second half, which paid off in the form of two goals.
Off a Bulls' counter attack in the 77th minute, senior Dan Bulley crossed over the midline where he found Johnson in front of him heading towards the Purple Eagles' net. Bulley fed the ball up to Johnson, who went on a breakway versus Niagara goalkeeper John Fiutowski. Johnson took a few steps before blasting the ball past Fiutowksi from 25-yards out for his first career goal, giving the Bulls a 2-0 lead.
Off another costly Niagara foul, the Bulls capitalized. The Niagara handball infraction occurred just outside the 18-yard box, which awarded the Bulls a free kick in front of the Niagara goal. Unwin stepped hard into the shot, sending a screamer low into the far left corner of the goal to give the Bulls a 3-0 lead.
In the closing seconds of the contest, freshman goalkeeper Ryan Lewis kept his shutout intact by stopping the Purple Eagles' leading-goal scorer Carl Haworth on a shot from 15-yards out.
In his first career start, Lewis recorded three saves to collect his first victory.
"We played with 100% intensity from start to finish. Holding a 23-7 shot advantage, our backs shut down many of their scoring opportunities," said head coach John Astudillo. "It was a solid two-way effort on our part. Our forwards stepped in on defense while our defenders stepped in on offense. Our midfielders did a superb job by contributing at both ends of the field while controlling play in the middle."
The Bulls (5-5, 0-1 MAC) travel to Detroit-Mercy to face the Titans in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday, October 6 at 4:00 pm.