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Sunday's MAC Men's Soccer Recap

September 24, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Sunday's Men's Soccer Scoreboard - 9/23
West Virginia 4, Florida Atlantic 0
Robert Morris 3, Buffalo 0
New Mexico 3, Northern Illinois 0

Robert Morris 3, Buffalo 0
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."

 

West Virginia 4, Florida Atlantic  0
MORGANTOWN, W.Va – The No. 18 West Virginia University men’s soccer team recorded its second-consecutive shutout in a 4-0 win over Florida Atlantic in WVU’s first ever Mid-American Conference match on Sunday afternoon at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The Mountaineers dominated statistically in shots (18-2), shots on goal (10-0) and corner kicks (5-2). Twenty-two players saw action for WVU with freshman Majed Osman leading all players with five shots, including three on goal. 
 
WVU converted on its first scoring chance of the match in the 30th minute as freshman Nick Raskasky notched his first career goal. Freshman Zak Leedom took a throw-in from the right side and launched the ball to the front of the net. Osman flicked it slightly to the feet of Raskasky, who tapped the ball into the open net.
 
“I thought we were average on the day, yet execution of what we needed to do resulted in goals,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “At the beginning of the game, we tried to play centrally a little bit too much and they were jamming their numbers in behind the ball. Once we made changes and got the guys to understand what it was we needed to do, Nick was able to push forward.”
 
Senior Travis Pittman scored his second goal of the season in the 42nd minute, as he scored on a penalty kick past Florida Atlantic keeper Jeremy Crumpton. Osman drew the penalty with a fantastic effort inside the box to keep hold of the ball while trying to turn a defender who brought him down.
 
Freshman Kyle Underwood scored the first goal of his career with under a minute remaining in the first half on a failed clearance. Underwood and senior Uwem Etuk both went towards a 50/50 ball with an Owl defender. The ball ricocheted to Underwood, who settled it and took a bending shot from 10 yards out that just went under the crossbar and over a sprawling Crumpton.
 
Raskasky scored his second of the match in the 78th minute on a similar sequence to his first goal. Junior Allan Flott sent in a cross from the left side to the head of Osman, who had his attempt saved by Crumpton. The redirect went to the foot of Raskasky, who again tapped it in.
 
“I tried to make a big commitment, no matter what, if the ball is on the other side to try and get my runs going forward,” Raskasky says. “It happened to pay off twice for me so I guess coach (LeBlanc) was right.”
 
Defensively, the backline allowed just two shots and none on goal. The game marked the fourth time WVU has allowed two shots or less and sixth time it has allowed no shots on goal since LeBlanc took the reins in 2006.
 
Senior goalkeepers Pat Eavenson and Yale Tiley combined for the shutout as Eavenson played the first half and Tiley earned his first career appearance in the second half. 
 
In WVU’s current three-game win streak, it has held the advantage in goals (10-2), shots (53-16), shots on goal (30-9) and corner kicks (22-6).
 
The Mountaineers will complete a four-game homestand with a non-conference match against Iona on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. For live stats and video stream of the match courtesy of Kroger, visit WVUsports.com.
 

New Mexico 3, Northern Illinois 0
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team fell to fifth-ranked New Mexico, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon in the final match of the Lobo Invitational. Sunday’s victory was New Mexico’s 17th-straight home win; the Lobos have lost just once overall in the past two seasons. 

“This really wasn’t a 3-0 game,” said NIU head coach Eric Luzzi. “Our guys fought, battled and created a half-dozen very good chances and it very well could have been 3-2 or 3-3. It was a pretty wide open game and New Mexico was just a little bit more clinical inside the penalty box than we were, and that was the difference. We had one or two lapses defensively but our guys competed and played quite well, it’s just unfortunate that when you look at the scoreboard it doesn’t reflect that.”
 
Northern Illinois (1-5-2) had the first chance just 90 seconds into the contest as junior midfielder Karim Darbaki (Crystal, Minn./Shattuck St. Mary’s) took a shot that went wide from the top of the box. 
 
The Huskies had another opportunity in the 16th minute off a corner by junior midfielder Gael Rivera (Oslo, Norway/WANG Elite Sports Academy). Senior defender Pat Sloan (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy) got his head to the corner and put his attempt on frame, forcing a save from New Mexico goalkeeper Victor Rodriguez. 
 
New Mexico (7-1-0) opened the scored in the 20th minute as Devon Sandoval got on the end of a cross from Blake Smith and headed home to give the Lobos a 1-0 lead.  
 
The Lobos doubled their advantage in the 30th minute when Sandoval got his second goal of the contest, and seventh of the season. Senior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs) and a Huskie defender each went for a ball at the top of the NIU box but the ball was headed on toward the Huskie goal where Sandoval was the first to get there and put it away, giving New Mexico a 2-0 advantage. 
 
Another opportunity fell to NIU in the 33rd minute when sophomore defender Dusty Page (Germantown, Wis./Kettle Moraine Lutheran) headed high of goal off a corner kick. 
 
The Lobos held a 9-4 edge in shots in the opening 45 minutes, each goalkeeper made one save in the first half. 
 
NIU had more chances in the early stages of the second half. Rivera forced a save from Rodriguez in the 57th minute and junior forward James Stevenson (Falkirk, Scotland/St. Mungo’s) had a couple of opportunities just before the hour mark. 
 
Sophomore forward Isaac Kannah (Plymouth, Minn./Prairie Seeds Academy) had a shot go at goal in the 65th minute, but his effort was wide of the target. 
 
New Mexico answered with a third just three minutes later as Smith got on the scoresheet. After his initial shot was blocked, the rebound came back to Smith who fired past Godsey at the near post.
 
Godsey finished with five saves in goal for NIU. 
 
The Huskies will return to action next Sunday, Sept. 30, when they open Mid-American Conference play at Florida Atlantic. Game time against the Owls is scheduled for 9 a.m., CT. 

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