Bonnies Fall To Rival Niagara In Feisty Sunday Matinee

September 2, 2011

LEWISTON, N.Y. – In a game which featured five yellow cards and one red card, the men's soccer team (0-2) fell to Little Three rival Niagara (1-1) Sunday afternoon, 3-1.

Niagara opened the scoring exactly 12 minutes into the contest on an own goal, and then the chippy battle began.

Just six minutes later, an altercation resulted in St. Bonaventure's Kolby Banker receiving a red card and Niagara's Michael Cunningham being issued a yellow. Banker was issued the card after a physical play contesting a ball against Cunningham. Playing with 10 men, the Bonnies surrendered a second goal to the Purple Eagles just four minutes after Banker was dismissed.

A chip pass from Liam Gilbert found the foot of Carl Haworth, who went around freshman keeper Bobby Diaz for his first goal of the campaign.

Two more yellow cards were issued to Niagara players not even a minute apart late in the first half, but the Purple Eagles carried that 2-0 lead into the halftime break.

The Bonnies cut their deficit in half not even nine minutes into the second frame off a set piece. Sophomore Emmett O'Connor – who established a program record with seven assists last year as a freshman – delivered a low, driven ball into a sliding Kaine Moar who beat the Niagara keeper with a redirection. Not only was it Moar's first goal as a member of the Bonnies, but it was the club's first of the season as well.

However, Niagara answered in the 63rd minute when Haworth sent a thru ball onto the foot of Bryan Da Cruz for the third, and final, goal of the afternoon. "That goal was the result of some bad decisions on the ball in our defensive half, and that took the wind out of us and our comeback attempt," head coach Mel Mahler said.

Two more yellow cards were issued after that tally – one each to St. Bonaventure and Niagara.

"It's often said the game can be cruel," Mahler added. "We played well enough to win after surrendering the own goal and playing down a man for 72 minutes. We need to be resilient, more mature and learn to work hard every day to get better. We're anxious to get back on the practice field."

St. Bonaventure will return to action next weekend at the James Madison University Tournament in Harrisonburg, Va. The Bonnies will face UNC Asheville on Friday at 5 p.m. before battling Florida Atlantic on Sunday at 12 p.m.

Game Notes: Diaz made his first career start in net and finished with five saves … the Purple Eagles out-shot Bonaventure, 16-12 … 32 total fouls were committed – 19 to Niagara and 13 to St. Bonaventure … corners were even at four apiece … sophomore Brad Vanino and O'Connor each attempted three shots … Moar and O'Connor are both from Ajax, Ontario and were high school teammates at Archbishop Dennis O'Connor.

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