Friday night and all of its goals count, but Canisius, the first Division I opponent on Men's Soccer's schedule, will be a much tougher test for the Bulls. Even if they spent their season opener losing to Binghamton. Even if last season's matchup saw them fade in the second half and fall to UB 4-2.
Much like Buffalo, Canisius has an experienced group, with only three underclass starters, though they're not heavy on seniors and graduated six seniors who started and combined for five of Canisius' shots on goal, as well as the goaltending in last year's matchup.
The Griffs do boast a dynamic player of their own in sophomore Melvin Blair, who totaled six goals last year despite fighting through injury. Coach Dermot McGrane is also very high on freshman Grand Island product Troy Brady, the 2015 Western New York Player of the Year and Large Schools First Team All-NYS honoree. Brady started and played 70 minutes in Canisius' opening 2-1 loss to the Bearcats.
It's tough, then, to get a bead on the Griffs. They could be good, but other than Blair and Brady even the positive of an experienced group is outweighed by the six starters lost from last year's game against UB, the 4-2 loss in which Canisius didn't manage a goal from the run of play in their 4-2 loss last season, and there's no doubt that UB has taken strides forward as a program since that day.
The Bottom Line
More recently, Canisius against Binghamton was outshot and outcornered by a Bearcats team that's predominantly sophomores and started seven underclassmen. Binghamton was likely a touch better than the Griffs in 2015, but the fact of the matter is UB is a team that twice played Akron to one-goal games in 2015, has improved since then, and has designs on a season much higher than any challenges Western New York can muster.
Rivalry games are unpredictable, and I'm not convinced we can learn anything whatsoever from 9-0 over Daemen, but it's hard to make a case that UB isn't the better team here. A pay stream is available from Canisius' website, but if you're in the area, you should head over to Demske and watch in person.