BUFFALO, NY - The Buffalo men's soccer team capped the non-conference season on a frustrating note Sunday afternoon, losing 3-0 to Robert Morris. Despite owning an advantage in shots and putting a season-high 12 on goal, the team would be shutdown by a mix of standout goalkeeping and poor luck.
In the early going, Buffalo had a terrific chance to open the scoring, when Max Kowal put a shot on frame in the 19th minute that was smothered by RMU goalie Toba Bolaji. The Bulls ultimately put six of its 11 first-half shots on goal, including a number of promising crosses into the goal mouth, but Bolaji would not be fooled. The Colonials would put up the first goal just a few minutes later, on a goal Dan Calabretta scored off a pass in the box from Miro Cabrilo.
With the second half underway, the opportunities were not lacking for the Bulls, who put eleven more shots up and six more on goal. Richard Craven had two of the best chances the team would have all game, first on a shot in the 58th minute. From just under 20 yards away, Craven cracked a shot that was high and true, but Bolaji would get up and punch it over the frame. He would find an equally promising chance in the 70th minute, but Bolaji snuffed it and pushed the ball out on a counter-attack that would trigger the Colonials' second goal just over a minute later.
After a taking a pass to the right of the midfield circle, RMU's Devon Williams switched fields to a charging Bruce Cullen, who made a well-timed run up the left sideline and got in behind Buffalo's back line. He wasted no time with his shot, taking it from wide left and curving it into the low back post to beat a diving Jonathan Viscosi. Robert Morris would tack on another goal in the 83rd minute as Cabrilo punched a shot off Viscosi's gloves. The rebound skied high and, on the bounce, deflected off the top post for the score.
"When you put 12 shots on goal, you have to take advantage of those chances and convert," head coach David Hesch said. "I thought our defense played well enough to keep us in the game, but Robert Morris scored two great goals and added one late while we were pushing up. We need to finish our chances on offense if we want to be successful in conference play."
With the non-conference season now complete, a major test awaits the Bulls in the MAC opener. The team will travel to Akron for a Friday night match against the nationally ranked Zips, with a Sunday game to follow against new conference opponent West Virginia.
"When you're playing one of the best team's in the nation, you hope to see your team come out fired up and ready to play," Hesch said. "Our new season starts on Friday and we hope to come out and perform well."