Rikard Lindqvist continues to shine early in his Bulls career, Ryan Pereira returned to the pitch, and Joe Kuta tallied his third straight shutout in Men's Soccer's morning win over in-state rivals Stony Brook Friday.
Lindqvist opened the scoring with a pretty finish of a long diagonal ball from Russell Cicerone late in the first half, and the Bulls defense held up for the 2-0 win against an active SeaWolves team that was content to play an exciting up and down game. The freshman's tally was his second goal of the season on top of his nation-leaded four assists. It of course helps to play with Russell Cicerone, who has played a role in all of Rikard's points except a long free kick against Daemen.
Cicerone today fit well into the cohesive whole of the UB lineup, getting time on the ball, converting a penalty early in the second half, and generally proving dangerous while also working off the ball as the Bulls found a number of crosses in the first half. His two assists -- including the primary on the winner -- bring him into a tie with Lindqvist for the national lead and are proof he's more than just a goal scorer:
Pereira was a quiet, but notable contributor to the scoresheet and game after missing all of last season to injury. He collected an assist on Lindqvist's goal and started the second half after subbing in midway through the first. Ryan was a reliable part of the central midfield in 2014 and could be a steady presence in build-up play now as he gets to work in front of a more solid defense than UB had two seasons ago.
Braden Scales scored the third for Buffalo, his second of the season coming off a pair of real nice passes from Steven Stryker and Cicerone.
On the back end, the third straight shutout is the first such streak since the end of the 2012 season, and the longest shutout streak to open a season since 1981, when UB played in the SUNYAC.
This was a much better showing for Buffalo than Sunday's match with Canisius, though Stony Brook still generated plenty of chances. The Bulls converted on their three best opportunities, and that was the difference compared to the SeaWolves' 20 mostly benign shots and 7 corner kicks, even as the the visitors upped their offensive intensity in the last twenty minutes. Kuta made 9 saves and a few strong plays on crosses but wasn't tested to the degree he was on Main Street last weekend.
UB remains at home this weekend for another morning match Sunday against Incarnate Word, who are 0-2 with a pair of shutout losses to Oral Roberts and SMU last weekend. They take on Canisius tonight, which should be a good measuring stick for us, and kick off Sunday at 11:00 AM as part of a Men's-Women's doubleheader.