Capping off a stellar off-season, University at Buffalo Men’s Soccer star Russell Cicerone led the Michigan Bucks to the USPDL title with a 3-2 win over Calgary Foothills FC. The championship win was Michigan’s 2nd in the past 3 seasons. Cicerone also put on one of the best matches of his career on the big stage, having a hand in all 3 of the Bucks’ goals, assisting on one and scoring twice, including the game-winner. For his efforts, Cicerone was named the game’s MVP.
Throughout the regular season and into the playoffs the Bucks had been one of the most dominant teams in the country, capturing the Great Lakes Division title with a 12-2 record. The Bucks then shut out all 3 of their opponents en route to the championship match.
As Matt and I mentioned in our Olympic fall preview podcast, Cicerone was one of the hottest players in the nation scoring 12 goals and 3 assists in the regular season while pitching in another 2 goals and an assist in the Bucks’ first 3 playoff matches.
After having his shot go wide in the 19th minute and a header go over the bar in the 21st, Cicerone connected in the 23rd to give the Bucks the early momentum and a 1-0 lead.
The lead wouldn’t last however, as Calgary scored 15 minutes later knotting the match at 1 heading into halftime.
The second half would bring something that the Bucks rarely had to deal with: a deficit. Calgary scored in the 60th minute and the Bucks needed to rally - enter Russell Cicerone. Cicerone set up Butler’s David Goldsmith’s header in the 75th minute to tie the match.
Then, Cicerone buried his 2nd goal in the 88th minute to give the Bucks a 3-2 advantage that they would hold on to for the final two minutes.
88' CICERONEEEEEE WITH THE GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!! ⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️ 3-2 pic.twitter.com/Lq9Obj4C3O— Michigan Bucks (@MichiganBucks) August 7, 2016
The Bucks finished the season an impressive 16-2 with Cicerone finishing with 16 goals and 5 assists. Cicerone is also the first Bull to ever win a PDL National Championship.
Cicerone will return to the pitch for the Bulls on August 26th when UB hosts Daemen at UB Stadium.