College rivalry season underway as UB soccer hosts Canisius
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 11, 2013 @ 8:57am
Due to the dearth of major college football programs locally—UB has no nearby rival on the gridiron—we’re honing in on Big 4 battles in other sports.
At 7 tonight, the new-look University at Buffalo Bulls men’s soccer team (0-3-1) takes on the Canisius College Griffins (1-2) at UB Stadium on the college’s north campus. The match is free to attend, and it will be streamed live online.
Heading into Wednesday’s Big 4 tilt, the MAC and MAAC foes are both struggling, as the Bulls haven’t scored in 275 minutes and Canisius suffered a demoralizing 3-1 defeat to UMass-Lowell, the program’s first-ever Division I win.
Fortunately for both UB and Canisius, the non-conference schedule is forgiving in the sense that bumps in the road can be overcome before conference play starts.
Here’s a quick primer on both teams:
Team: UB Bulls
Head coach: Stu Riddle, first year at UB after arriving from Western Michigan, where he spent four seasons
Marquee result: 1-1 draw against Vermont on Sept. 1
Projected starters: Waleed Cassis; Shane Satar, Jake Jacobs, Daniel Cramarossa, Austin Place; Nicolai Berry, Ryan Pereira, Russell Cicerone, Braden Culver; Marek Albert, Kristian Lee-Him
Breakdown of XI: six freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and one senior (eight newcomers)
Players to watch:
**Russell Cicerone, No. 7: One of three Western Michigan recruits who followed Riddle to UB, Cicerone has made the biggest impact in the early going, demonstrating the composure and class of an upperclassman.
He struck twice against Roberts Wesleyan in UB’s second exhibition match, then scored one of the Bulls’ two regular season goals against St. Bonaventure in the opener. A true freshman, Cicerone has limitless potential on a team that’ll grow alongside him.
**Nicolai Berry, No. 8: UB’s designated free-kick taker owns a world-class left foot, and his galloping forays down the left flank have already worried opponents. He capitalized on a Vermont miscue to spot the Bulls a lead in the 15th minute over the Catamounts, who later equalized. Berry will become more deadly as he further acclimates to the college game.
Team: Canisius Griffins
Head coach: Dermot McGrane, third season with Canisius after leaving Niagara
Marquee result: 3-2 overtime win over Bucknell courtesy of an Asani Samuels game-winner
Projected starters: Ryan Arvin; Alex DeCarolis, A.C. LaFlore, Derek Dedman, Jon Cary; Denver Spearman, Andrew Incho, Will Hudson*, Nicolo Baudo, Thomas Teupen; Asani Samuels
Breakdown of XI: three seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen.
Players to watch:
**Will Hudson, No. 19: There’s an asterisk by Hudson’s name for a reason, as the senior co-captain was rumored to have been suspended indefinitely following his storming off the pitch before the rest of his teammates after the loss to UMass-Lowell.
We haven’t heard official word from the team or the Canisius Athletic Department to learn if he’s actually no longer with the team, but we wouldn’t be shocked if the dust settled and Hudson was accepted back into the fold with an apology. He may be the best passer, most experienced and most technically-gifted player on the Griffs, but his leadership skills are now in question.
**Denver Spearman, No. 15: The junior midfielder from Ontario was the most dynamic Griff in the home opener on Sunday, showing exceptional pace and fearlessness—despite fouling a Riverhawk in the 18-yard box which led to the visitors’ second goal.
He drew a penalty kick himself, even though Hudson failed to convert. His presence all over the midfield will be a good test for UB’s Cicerone.