Officially, tonight's Men's Soccer matchup with local foe Daemen is the start of the regular season after a trio of preseason exhibitions. Unofficially, there's not a whole lot of difference for the Bulls.
Officially, senior Russell Cicerone starts the season with zero goals to name, just like everyone else. Unofficially, the reigning MAC Player of the Year is as hot as he's ever been, with six goals and two assists in the three exhibitions, after perhaps his best summer yet in a continental championship season with the Michigan Bucks.
This is to say, yes, this game is different from the last three, but by how much? Daemen is a Division II team that would probably get squashed by all three of UB's exhibition opponents and is counting this game on their own schedule as an exhibition even as Buffalo calls it the start of their regular season.
2-13-1 last year against their D-II schedule, the Wildcats have some turnover this year, with 11 freshmen on the roster. Perhaps that's good for an infusion of talent and a step forward. They'll need it, especially on defense, where they allowed nearly three goals a game last season.
The Bottom Line
There's not a whole lot more to say. UB boasts certainly its most talented roster since 2007, if not longer (I'd argue longer) and has its sights set well beyond Western New York competition this season. That Daemen is calling this an exhibition should provide some info, as well.
My question: Can Cicerone notch UB's first regular-season hat trick since 2008, or will we see a more diverse offense, as we did against Rochester?