Buffalo Soccer Defeats CSU-Pueblo, 5-3, in Lauffer’s 700th Career Game
CANYON, Texas – The Buffaloes of West Texas A&M surged back to their winning ways, surviving a 5-3 decision over Colorado State-Pueblo on Friday night in Pueblo, Colo. Freshman Axel Insulander led the way with two goals as the Buffs improve to 2-1 on the season. With the loss, the ThunderWolves fall to 0-3 on the year.
Tonight’s match was Butch Lauffer’s 700th career appearance on the pitch as a head coach at WT. He returned in 2014 for his 24th season at the helm of the Buffs and as the only coach in Buffalo soccer history. The Washington, D.C., native, now holds a 275-121-31 all-time record in his tenure as the men's coach (1991-present). Including his 14 years as the head women's coach (1996-2009), Lauffer is now 464-188-48 with the Buffs and Lady Buffs combined.
The home team attempted to pressure the Buffs quickly in tonight’s match with early shot attempts by Nick Mangialardi and Matt Marchena; however, neither shot was able to reach target. Outside of a corner kick by junior Austin Henderson, the ThunderWolves were the only ones to generate opportunities through the first 15 minutes as they added two more attempts by Sam Glawe, the first a dangerous header sent wide followed by a blocked attempt near the top of the box.
WT then grabbed the early 1-0 advantage off its first shot of the match in the 18th minute with a score by freshman Axel Insulander. The Stockholm, Sweden, native, took an assisted pass from senior Christopher Hutton 20 yards out and carried the ball into the box before sending a strike inside the far post from 15 yards.
The Buffs wasted no time in increasing their lead as they grabbed another goal in the 24th minute. Insulander struck once again for his second career goal as a Buffalo as he dribbled through the middle and sent another strike towards the far post from 12 yards out. He was assisted this time from senior Vitor Cardoso.
Seven minutes later, junior Gabe Williams added to the lead with his first goal of the season. The Pfluggerville, Texas, native, timed a misplayed ball by CSUP’s keeper and defender and found a wide open net in the 31st minute to increase the Buffs’ advantage to 3-0.
Shortly after, the ThunderWolves were able to threaten in their attacking zone with three quick shots, two by Marchena and one by Jack Gonzales. The first attempt would sail high while starting WT keeper senior Carlos Ruiz would stop the ensuing two strikes.
At the 33:34 mark in the first half, senior Michael Williams scored another goal for the Buffs as he walked the end line and sent a cross into a trailing teammate. The pass deflected off a CSUP defender straight into the net.
Ruiz would add another stop before halftime in between tough shots by Hutton and redshirt junior Tre Norton. But the ThunderWolves would sneak in a goal just before the break at the 43:24 mark as Johnny Sawyer one-timed a pass into Mountan Mitchell for his first goal of the season.
WT headed into the break down 9-6 on the shot chart even with the three goal advantage.
The Buffs would struggle defensively throughout the majority of the second half as they let in two more goals but survived the thriller with a late goal by junior Chris Johnson.
Marchena and Sawyer would attack early in the second frame but could not find the mark. Gabe Williams, Hutton and sophomore Thomas Vickers responded back with quick shots in the 52nd and 56th minutes as well.
CSUP hit the throttle in the 70th minute with a constant counter attack. At the 70:10 mark, the ThunderWolves climbed back into the match with a goal by Carlson, who grabbed a short rebound in the box off a free kick for the score.
Nearly four minutes later, CSUP would cut the Buffs’ lead to one as Glawe and Jack Gonzales assisted Marchena for another ThunderWolves goal. Marchena took a pass from midfield in the box and controlled the live ball first with a header, and then the chest before beating Ruiz.
Then in the 83rd minute, Gabe Williams secured the win with an insurance goal as he was assisted off a one-timer from Hutton.
With the win, WT is now 12-1-1 all-time against CSUP. The ThunderWolves held the advantage in shots tonight, 18-12, while both teams had eight attempts each on target. Gabe Williams led the way for the Buffs with three shots while Hutton and Insulander had two each.
Ruiz earned his first victory of the season in his first start of the fall. He finished the contest with five saves. Sam Haseltine took the loss for CSUP, surrendering five goals while grabbing three stops.
The Buffs will return to action on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (CT) as they complete their weekend road trip with a match at Adams State.
ADAMS STATE AT A GLANCE: The Grizzlies of Adams State began the year with a 1-1 record after defeating Eastern New Mexico, 1-0, at home in Alamosa. The Grizzlies then fell earlier Friday afternoon, 2-1, to UT-Permian Basin in overtime. Last season, ASU finished with a 6-10-1 overall record and went 4-9-1 in RMAC competition.
Sunday’s matchup will be the first-ever meeting between the Buffs and Grizzlies.