BUFFALO, NY – The undefeated University at Buffalo men's soccer team (7-0-0, 0-0-0 MAC) hits the road for their longest trip of the season on Sunday afternoon as they travel to Tampa, Florida to take on the South Florida Bulls in a non-conference match. The Bulls are coming off of an impressive 3-0 victory at Niagara on Thursday night as they successfully defended the Big 4 Shield and won their first match at NU since 1998.
The Buffalo offense continued to click on Thursday night as they scored three more goals, giving them 21 on the year and they improved to 7-0-0, their best start to a season since 2005 when they started 8-0-0. It wasn't a big surprise that the UB offensive attack was led by senior captain Russell Cicerone on Thursday night as the nation's leading scorer added to his total with a pair of goals and an assist for five points. Cicerone was able to net his NCAA-best third game-winner of the season and he later converted on his NCAA-high fourth penalty kick goal of the season as UB earned their sixth shutout of the season in the 3-0 victory.
As a team, the Bulls lead the nation in total goals (21), total points (63) and shutouts (6) while ranking second in the NCAA in assists (21), points per game (9.0), goals per game (3.0), goals-against average (0.14), save percentage (0.967) and shutout percentage (0.86).
Cicerone has been the best player in the country so far this season as he has netted a NCAA-best 10 goals and 26 points while also ranking second in the nation in assists with six. The senior became just the second player in UB history to amass at least 10 goals in three seasons while also tying the program record for assists in a career with his 19th helper last night. For his career, Cicerone ranks second amongst active players in the NCAA and in UB program history with 38 goals and 95 points.
The Buffalo offense has also received a huge boost from fellow team captain Braden Scales who has netted a career-best five goals and one assist for 11 points which ranks 16th nationally. Freshman Rikard Lindqvist is having a great start to his Buffalo career as he has three goals and five assists for 11 points while senior Steven Stryker has chipped in with four helpers off the bench for the Bulls.
Defensively the Bulls have turned into a juggernaut as they have only allowed one goal through seven matches this season. Between the pipes, Joseph Kuta leads the nation with six cleansheets while also ranking second in goals-against average (0.14) and save percentage (.964). The Buffalo backline of Austin Place, Fox Slotemaker, David Enstrom and Alec Fisher continues to stifle opposing forwards, limiting opponents to just 11.1 shots per match against.
The South Florida Bulls enter Sunday's match with a 2-3-2 overall record but have won two straight matches after starting the season with a 0-3-2 mark. The Bulls are coming off of a 1-0 win at home against North Florida on Wednesday night as Nazeem Bartman netted the game-winner in the 56th minute of play.
South Florida is led offensively by Nazeem Bartman and Luis Garza who have both netted a pair of goals while Michael Bajza and Stephen Rudderham have each scored a goal. In goal, Spasoje Stefanovic has started six matches and owns a 2-3-1 overall record with a 1.77 goals-against average and 23 saves. The senior has also recorded a pair of shutouts this season for the Bulls.
After making the trip to steamy Florida, the Bulls will return home on Wednesday, September 21 to defend the Big 4 Shield for the final time this season as they welcome Big 4 foe St. Bonaventure to UB Stadium. Kick is set for 7:00 pm on Wednesday.