BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's soccer team
fell to the nation's top-ranked team, the University of Akron, 1-0,
on a rainy Friday evening at UB Stadium. The Bulls relied on a team
defensive effort to control the Zips' explosive offense, which
averaged close to three goals a game heading into the contest.
In the opening minute, Akron went on the attack. As the Zips stormed the Bulls' net, sophomore Nick Fetterman made a point-blank save on Akron's Teal Bunbury to keep the contest scoreless.
The lone goal of the contest came in the 13th minute of play. On a turnover deep in the Bulls' end, Bunbury, the Zips' leading-goal scorer, took an adavantage of a Bulls' misfeed. Unexpectedly, Fetterman was forced to challenge Bunbury's shot just a mere 10 yards to the left of the Bulls' goal. In the confusion, Bunbury was able to dribble to within five yards of the net before beating the Bulls' lone defender covering the net to give Akron a 1-0 lead.
With the Zips on the attack, Fetterman made a key save to keep his team from facing a two-goal deficit in the 60th minute. Working the ball down the left side of the field, the Zips managed to work their way just outside the 18-yard box. Forward Ben Zemanksi dribbled toward the goal, pulling up with a shot from 12 yards out. Fetterman dove to his left to punch the ball away from the goal to keep the Bulls within one.
The defensive corps of freshman Akil Howard, sophomore Tom Beckvermit and seniors Steffen Thoresen and Alex Mihal led the Bulls' defensive efforts. The core group of backs controlled the Zips' ability to set up and attack in the Bulls' end. The Bulls managed to hold Akron to five shots on net despite the Zips averaging 8.14 shots on goal per game previous to tonight's contest.
"As a team, we paid special attention to the defensive element of the game. There were key adjustments made in our strategy, which forced Akron to make adjustments to their game as well," said head coach John Astudillo.
The Bulls' controlled a Zips' offense that averaged 2.93 goals per game heading into the contest. "We were able to disorgainze their offensive attacks, which prevented them from making the plays needed to generate any offense," added Astudillo.
On Monday, October 26, Buffalo (5-9, 0-4 MAC) will conclude their home regular season schedule when they face Big Four rival Canisius at 7:30 pm at UB Stadium. Prior to the contest, the Bulls will honor six seniors as part of their annual Senior Day celebration.