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Previewing Buffalo Men's Soccer's opening weekend against Seton Hill, Belmont

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UB Athletics

Men's Soccer will kick off the season at the same 7:00 hour as Volleyball tomorrow, but will wait to Sunday to see the second game of their season. Like Volleyball, Men's Soccer was also picked near the bottom of the conference in the MAC Preseason Poll, but enjoys enough coaching stability and returning talent that they have a much better case for breakout success in 2014.

Seton Hill (12-7-2 (7-3-1 PSAC) (2014))

Friday, 28 August; 7:00 PM
UB Stadium

All-time series: N/A
Last Meeting: N/A
2015 Common Opponents: None
Streams: Unknown right now. Last year UB provided free soccer streams, and frankly, it would be a travesty if they didn't this year. Right now I know of none, free or paid. I haven't asked their plans yet because I assumed streams would be available, but it seems I may need to. Link coming! Check this space and Twitter. UPDATE: I am silly, and it is a simple link at UB's UStream page.
Live Stats: These, we have. And should for every game.

Griffins Player to Watch: Junior M Joe Smith

Smith was the Griffins' second-leading scorer in 2014, but had the most points of anyone on the squad, adding four assists to his five goals en route to being named Second Team All-PSAC, Second Team All-ECAC, and NCSAA All-Region

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Seton Hill is a Division II school treating this game as a scrimmage while UB lists it as an official game. Last year, Buffalo listed a match against D-III Houghton as an official game, as well, so I guess it's not a wild surprise. I wouldn't expect to learn too much from this one, except maybe a glimpse at Riddle's starting lineup, but even then I won't consider it set in stone. After an up-and-down exhibition season, this match should be a walkover for the Bulls.

Belmont (3-15 (1-7 Horizon League)(2014))

Sunday, 30 August; 1:00 PM
UB Stadium

All-time series: N/A
Last Meeting: N/A
2015 Common Opponents: None
Streams: See above.
Live Stats: Don't have a link yet, but there will be one available through UB.

Bruins Player to Watch: Junior G Grayson Rector

It's nearly impossible to pick anyone from this roster to focus on, so I'll go with the most battle-tested of Belmont's injury-riddled, offensively-inept 2014 season in their goalie, who averaged 3.6 saves per game while still giving up 36 goals. Consider that Buffalo, who wasn't a particularly stellar offensive team, got double the shots on goal that Belmont did in 2014, and the Bruins goalie is really the only standout.

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As I said above, Belmont was both incredibly punchless and injury-riddled in 2014. Like Buffalo, they return a large core of starters and an even larger group of with starting experience, but they seem to be a year behind the Bulls in program development. Even if some of the Bruins' injuries last year were to star players, this game should be imminently winnable for the Bulls at home against a group that scored only ten goals all season last year. The lineup may be less fluid than against Seton Hill, but remembering the flexibility Stu Riddle showed in September last season, I wouldn't be surprised to see individual players get time at a few different roles over the match.

Go Bulls