Cicerone’s Second Half Marker Not Enough As Men’s Soccer Falls In MAC Final, 2-1

Cicerone’s Second Half Marker Not Enough As Men’s Soccer Falls In MAC Final, 2-1

AKRON, OH – Despite a strong second half charge that netted the lone goal of the match, the University at Buffalo men's soccer team (12-4-3, 2-1-2 MAC) fell in the Mid-American Conference Championship match for the second straight season to the Akron Zips, 2-1. Russell Cicerone was able to net his career-best 14th goal of the season in the second half of the loss.

The Basics

  • Score: #3 Buffalo 1 | #1 Akron 2
  • Records: Buffalo (12-4-3, 2-1-2 MAC) | Akron (12-5-3, 3-1-1 MAC)
  • Buffalo Goal Scorer: Russell Cicerone (14)
  • Akron Goal Scorer: Nick Hinds 2 (3)
  • Akron Assist: Sam Gainford (3), Jonathan Lewis (11)
  • Location: FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field | Akron, OH

Starting Lineups

How It Happened

  • Akron had the first chance of the match in the sixth minute as Manuel Cordeiro saw his shot blocked after the corner came out to the top of the box.
  • In the 10th minute, Adam Najem sent a cross into the box but Sam Gainford's hard shot missed the cage wide left.
  • Akron nearly made the score 1-0 in the 13th minute as Jonathan Lewis took a nice feed and slid a shot through Joseph Kuta but it went just wide right of the net.
  • Nick Hinds flicked a shot just over the cage in the 18th minute to keep the match scoreless.
  • Joseph Kuta made his first save of the match in the 29th minute as Adam Najem took a hard low shot that Kuta made a diving stop on.
  • In the 32nd minute, Akron broke through with the first goal of the match as Sam Gainford crossed a great ball into the box where Nick Hinds slid in and knocked the ball into the back of the net.
  • Joseph Kuta stepped up with a huge save in the 50th minute as Stuart Holthusen was in all alone on goal but Kuta blocked the ball out of bounds.
  • The Zips took the 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute as Jonathan Lewis slid a pass into a streaking Nick Hinds who snuck a slow rolling ball past Joseph Kuta as he charged out and tried to grab the loose ball.
  • The Bulls were able to get on the board in the 63rd minute of play as Russell Cicerone countered an Akron attack with a great run down the right flank and beat the Akron keeper to the left corner for his 14th of the season.
  • Joseph Kuta made a nice save in the 65th minute on Jonathan Lewis to keep the score 2-1 in favor of the Zips.
  • The Bulls had a golden opportunity to notch the game-tying goal in the 73rd minute but Braden Culver just missed the upper right corner of the net from the right after a great cross from Daniel Cramarossa.
  • In the 75th minute, Russell Cicerone tried bending in a shot with his left foot but his blast just missed the upper left corner of the net.
  • Fox Slotemaker made a great play in the 82nd minute as he robbed Ezana Kahsay from point blank range, blocking his attempt and clearing the ball away.
  • In the final minute with the Bulls pushing for the tying goal, Joseph Kuta made a huge stop as Jonathan Lewis came in all alone in the 89th minute.
  • The Buffalo offense made one final push to score but couldn't find the tying goal, falling 2-1.

Inside The Numbers

  • With the loss, the Bulls finish the season with a 12-4-3 overall record, most wins in a season since 2005. The Bulls fell for the second straight season in the MAC Championship game to Akron.
  • With his goal, Russell Cicerone finished off his impressive senior campaign with 14 goals, a career-high and tied for fifth most in a season in program history. Cicerone also finished the season with 37 points, third most in a single season in program history.
  • For his career, Russell Cicerone finished 1st in program history in assists (22), 2nd in program history in goals (42) and second in program history in points (106).
  • For the game, Akron held the 25-4 edge in shots and the 15-0 advantage in corner kicks.
  • Joseph Kuta finished off his match with six saves.
  • Russell Cicerone led the Bulls with a goal and two shots in the loss.
  • Sunday's match marked the final game for seven UB seniors, Alec Fisher, Daniel Cramarossa, Russell Cicerone, Braden Culver, Steven Stryker, Braden Scales and Austin Place.
  • The Buffalo senior class will graduate with 28 career victories for the blue and white.
  • Akron has now won five straight MAC Tournament Championships and nine out of the last 10 overall.

What They Are Saying

  • Head coach Stu Riddle: "We saw why Akron was ranked as the #1 side in the preseason polls today, they were exceptional and controlled the first half. I was proud of the second half showing from our lads and felt when we scored that we might find our way back into the match but it wasn't to be. The 8 seniors have been outstanding during their four years here and i can't thank them enough for everything they have given our program."