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Buffalo Men's Soccer is MAC Tournament-bound with 2-1 Senior Night victory


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For the first time since 2011, UB Men's Soccer is into the postseason with tonight's stunned 2-1 win over Bowling Green. Marcus Hanson and Russell Cicerone both scored in the final four minutes to erase a late 1-0 deficit, push the Bulls to victory on Senior Night, and secure a spot in the four-team MAC Tournament in November.

Bowling Green seemed to have the game won after Ryan James found the corner on a crossing free kick in the 76th minute. To that point, goalkeeper Ryan Heuton needed only one save, a few bailouts and strong aerial play from his defenders to keep the Bulls scoreless. In a second half spent barely in the middle of the field, Bowling Green's chances were progressively more dangerous than Buffalo's, and the goal felt entirely from the run of play after a handball on Alec Fisher.

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Somehow the Bulls swung the pendulum back in their last gasp. Dylan Cope was the last of UB's three seniors to enter the game at 85' as Bowling Green was settling into a defense, content to sit back and wait to win balls in the air. Just two minutes later, a Falcons clearing header bounced away for a corner, and after Heuton took himself out of the play clearing Daniel Cramarossa's ball, Marcus Hanson blasted the equalizer in through a crowd.

Given the strength of UB's final opponent in Western Michigan, a draw tonight would likely have had Bulls fans scoreboard watching on the final weekend, but Hanson's goal at least provided that much, a stroke of luck after the visitors cleared so many opportunities in the second half.

Marcus nearly did it again seconds later on a Russell Cicerone corner kick from the opposite side, but it was strong play from Steven Stryker that set up the Cicerone's winner. Stryker won a loose ball on the far sideline and got it to UB's leading scorer, who spun around a defender to reach the penalty area before creating enough space to slot it home with some fancy footwork. It was Russ' 11th of the season and should be the goal that secures him MAC Player of the Year honors in a few weeks on top of sending UB to the postseason.

With the win, Buffalo now sits 2-1-1 and second in the MAC with a single game left to play, at Western Michigan next weekend. The Broncos have yet to play Northern Illinois this weekend, but I believe not only has UB clinched, but they've clinched at least the #3 seed in the Tournament. I'll have more on that in a bit.