BUFFALO, NY - The Buffalo men's soccer team came out flying Friday night at UB Stadium, aiming to find a way to snap a six-game losing streak while facing an Albany team that was equally as desperate, losing four straight on their own coming into the match. Maksym Kowal slammed home a pair of first-half goals and the defense provided the final spark in the second half to give the Bulls a 2-1 win.
The home side didn't have to wait very long to find its early advantage, as Kowal knocked home a header on an assist from Jesse Andoh in the seventh minute of the game. Andoh won the ball and took it just outside the right side of the 18-yard box before crossing it deep and finding the soaring head of Kowal, who beat Albany goalie Tim Allen high right. The Bulls were almost able to follow it up just under three minutes later, but a Richard Craven shot went wide of the goal mouth and a sliding Kowal was unable to corral it for another score. His aggression on offense would earn him his second goal soon after.
In the 22nd minute, Patrick Ryan played a through ball right up the heart of the Great Danes' defense, and Kowal was able to win his race with a charging goalie and skip it in for a 2-0 Buffalo lead. Though Albany's keeper was able to get a piece of the low, skipping shot, the ball still had enough pace to squirt over the line.
The Great Danes would pull within one with a goal in the 42nd minute, but could not generate any quality chances in the final 45 minutes. Jonathan Viscosi made six tough saves and was aggressive on snuffing out Albany's set pieces, allowing the Bulls to maintain pressure on offense and out-shoot the opposition 17-15.
"We came out in a different system with different personnel, and we just came out flying. We just forgot about the other team and worried about ourselves and it all clicked at the end of the day," head coach David Hesch said. "Whenever we can score early that's great, but we still need to buckle down and not let in those easy goals that we did in the first half. We could've won 4-0 or 5-0, we played great. I think we're rolling now but I don't want to look any further than this Sunday."
Ryan nearly had a pair of goals himself, as two of his three total shots in the game were on frame and with tremendous pace. In the 66th minute, he nearly came through but his shot was knocked down by Albany's Allen. Though he has yet to score this season, he leads the team with three assists.
The Bulls will hope to cap the non-conference season this Sunday with a 3:30 pm match against Robert Morris. Buffalo lost 2-1 in overtime to the Colonials last season and hope to put together its first winning streak of the season before Mid-American Conference action starts on Sept. 29.