BUFFALO, NY - After winning three straight matches to even remain in the hunt for a berth in the Mid-American Conference tournament, the Buffalo men's soccer team could not keep its good fortune running Friday night, losing 1-0 to Northern Illinois (6-9-3, 4-2-1 MAC) in the regular season finale. The Huskies scored in the 28th minute and the Bulls (5-11-1, 3-4 MAC) came up just shy on a number of opportunities in the second half.
"The boys did well in the second half despite playing on tired legs with two games in three days which is awful tough in a playoff chase," head coach David Hesch said. "I wish the seniors the best, they played well today but at the end of the day it just wasn't enough."
The Huskies dictated the run of play in the first half, and it paid off with the game's lone goal from Karim Darbaki. He took a pass from teammate Gael Rivera on the right side just inside the 18-yard box. After settling the ball, he went high with a shot to the far post that was unsavable by senior UB goalie Jonathan Viscosi. Despite the setback, Viscosi made four total saves to give him 79 for the season and 158 for his career. He finishes his career with the ninth most career saves and is also in the top 10 for career goals-against average.
The team pushed an extra man on offense in the second half to try and earn the equalizer, led by junior Richard Craven, who gave the team several quality shots over the final 45 minutes. In the 72nd minute, he put a shot on frame to the left side that glanced off the leg of a Northern defender for a corner kick. Then in the 76th minute he took a pass from just ten yards out and nothing but daylight and a goalie ahead of him. His straight on shot went just inches wide to the right.
"Our philosophy in the second half was to press them with two guys up top and get turnovers and put shots on net. I thought we had three or four quality chances to get some goals and I wish one went in but it didn't."
The loss eliminates the Bulls from the upcoming MAC tournament.