BUFFALO, NY – After another 2-0 weekend on the pitch, the University at Buffalo men's soccer team (6-0-0, 0-0-0 MAC) earned its highest Great Lakes Regional ranking in program history in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) polls on Tuesday afternoon, earning the No. 2 spot in the rankings.
The Bulls earned the No. 2 ranking in the latest Great Lakes Regional poll as they moved up two spots from last week. The No. 2 ranking ties for the highest regional ranking in program history with the 2005 squad. Buffalo is the highest ranked Mid-American Conference team in the rankings as Akron checked in at No. 4, Western Michigan at No. 5, West Virginia at No. 8 and Bowling Green at No. 9. Buffalo are just behind Butler in the regional polls, a team that is ranked 10th in the nation.
Buffalo is coming off of another perfect weekend as they were able to collect a pair of road victories to move to 6-0-0, their best start to a season since the Bulls started 8-0-0 in 2005. The Bulls picked up a 2-0 victory over VMI on Friday afternoon behind a pair of Braden Scales tallies before downing Liberty in overtime by the score of 2-1 on Sunday. In Sunday's win, the Bulls conceded their first goal of the season as their program record shutout streak to start a season ended at 538:24 minutes.
The Bulls offense is off to a hot start through six matches as they lead the nation in goals with 18 and points with 55 while ranking second in the country in assists with 19. The UB offense is being led by reigning MAC Player of the Year, Russell Cicerone who currently leads the nation in goals (8), points (21), shots on goal per game (3.0) and shots per game (5.67). Freshman Rikard Lindqvist has been a pleasant surprise so far this season as he ranks second on the team with three goals and five assists for 11 points and was featured on Sportscenter's Top-10 plays on Sunday night after his goal off of his corner kick into the upper right corner of the net. Senior Braden Scales has netted four goals and an assist for nine points while Steven Stryker has been solid off the bench, chipping in with four assists.
The stingy Buffalo defense led by Alec Fisher, Fox Slotemaker, David Enstrom, Austin Place and goalkeeper Joseph Kuta currently leads the nation in shutouts (5) while ranking second in the nation in save % (0.964) and in goals against average (0.16).
Buffalo is also receiving 51 votes for the National Top 25 poll, the most votes by any team not in the poll. The 51 votes are the most the Bulls have garnered since 2005 when UB ranked 20th in the nation.
UB has a pair of road matches this week as they will head to Big 4 foe Niagara on Thursday for a 7:00 pm match. The two teams will be playing for the Big 4 Shield that the Bulls currently hold after defeating Canisius 1-0 earlier in the season. On Sunday, the Bulls will head to Tampa, FL to take on South Florida at 1:00 pm.