Much like Friday afternoon against VMI, Men’s Soccer came out hot against Liberty today before taking their foot off the gas. Rikard Lindqvist’s olimpico — a direct goal off a corner kick — came just two minutes in and didn’t quite hold up for the Bulls, who saw their shutout streak end in the 89th minute.
Tresor Mbuyu found a header on a controversial free kick to get the first goal against Joe Kuta this season, and Russell Cicerone buried a penalty kick in the first overtime to bring UB’s unbeaten streak to six.
The Bulls came out flying, with six corner kicks in the first few minutes, including Lindqvist’s goal, and controlled the first ten minutes or so of the half. Lindqvist nearly put UB back up just seconds after the equalizer, in what would have been a poetic bookend, but sent the cross just wide.
UB’s early success proved an aberration as the Flames found their groove midway through the first and regularly threatened thanks to good passing through narrow channels in the final third. UB, on the other hand, enjoyed high-quality chances but uncharacteristically couldn’t convert. Russell Cicerone had a penalty kick saved in the first half and over the course of the second Braden Scales, Scott Doney, and Steven Stryker each had multiple chances kept out of the net by Liberty keeper James Knoebel.
Knoebel finished with eight saves and Kuta seven in the back-and-forth game that featured over 30 fouls — neither team was particularly happy with the referee — and a number of nice chances in each team’s final third, though UB’s defense always seemed to muddle up Liberty’s most dangerous chances and prevent a shot until the late set piece.
Buffalo was generally able to bottle up Mbuyu, who had been the most dangerous player on the field in the first 45, until the equalizer, which came after David Enstrom was called for a foul that earned a substantial disagreement from the junior.
The shutout streak ends, but the unbeaten record holds and should provide enough fodder for the Bulls to move up in the NSCAA Poll, where they received votes this past week.
UB returns to Western New York for a road match at Niagara Thursday night. The Purple Eagles are 1-2-1 coming into today’s match with the St. Francis Red Flash.