UB Men’s Soccer is so much more than Russell Cicerone this year. You only need to look to Joe Kuta, Braden Scales, or Rikard Lindqvist to see that. You only need to see Cicerone’s career production and to still see the Bulls taking a big step forward in 2016.
And yet, even with the Bulls coming off a sweltering loss in Florida to a USF team better than their record indicates and lining up to claim the Big Four Shield for another year, tonight feels like a big one for Russ against a team he’s always feasted on.
In three career matches against the Bonnies, Cicerone has five goals and five assists, and each has been more productive than the last. I don’t know about you, but I’m salivating at the idea of an improvement over last year’s two-goal, two-assist performance.
That said, thanks to offensive contributors like Lindqvist and Scales, it probably won’t happen, and that’s ok. Let the offense get flowing again after the toughest game in a long time against USF, and relish the fact that if UB has to play another one in heat like that, it means they’ve advanced well beyond our dreams.
I’m looking tonight for UB to control every aspect of the game. The Bonnies’ defense has stepped up a bit lately, but they haven’t faced anyone of Cicerone’s quality on the year, and certainly no attack with the diversity of Cicerone, Lindqvist, and Scales. On offense, they’re pretty much entirely punchless even if they’re coming off a 1-0 win over Niagara.
Off the pitch, the team is hyping the ever-loving-you-know-what out of this game, and it would be great to see a huge crowd help the Bulls defend the shield. Barring a total inability to refocus after their first loss Sunday, it should be a fun time for all involved.