BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University men's soccer team was clicking on all cylinders Saturday night (Oct. 13), generating 28 shots and posting a shutout in a 3-0 win over the University at Buffalo. The Mid-American Conference match was held at Cochrane Field.
Junior Anthony Grant scored two goals for the Falcons (5-6-2, 2-2-0 MAC), and classmate Ryan Comiskey also found the back of the net for the hosts.
Sophomore Danny Baraldi and junior Ryan Snashall each had two assists for the Falcons, who continually generated scoring chances all night. BGSU's shot total was a season high, as was the Falcons' total of 14 shots on goal.
Fifth-year senior Zach Lemke and redshirt junior Brandon Silva each added an assist in the win, while junior Michael Wiest recorded his fourth shutout of the season. Wiest made four saves, all in the second half.
Jonathan Viscosi made 11 saves in goal for the Bulls (2-10-1, 0-3-0 MAC).
For Grant, the two-goal game was his first as a Falcon. He had eight multiple-goal matches last season at McKendree (Ill.) University, scoring 23 goals in 2011. This season, Grant now has five goals to tie Baraldi for the team lead.
Baraldi and Grant nearly teamed up for a goal less than four minutes into the match. The Falcons' defense of a UB corner kick was textbook, and BGSU broke out on the counterattack. Grant played the ball forward to Baraldi, who put it into space on a well-executed give and go. At the last second, a UB defender caught up to Grant, and the Bulls prevented the Falcons from getting a shot off as the BG striker and the Bulls' backliner got tangled up and went to the ground.
Several minutes later, though, Grant got another chance, and gave his team the lead. Silva served a diagonal ball into the box from near midfield, and Snashall, with his back to the goal, got his head on the ball. The junior nodded it backwards, in the direction of Grant, who was in front of the net, just left of center.
Grant's first offering was blocked by Viscosi, but the junior quickly knocked the rebound into the net, putting BGSU on top at the 8:28 mark.
Several minutes later, Baraldi blasted a shot from distance, and the ball whizzed just outside the right post.
The wide-open game saw BGSU post double-digit shot totals in each half, and the Falcons had the bulk of the possession time for most of the night as well. With 25 minutes gone, Baraldi drilled another long-range shot, and it was all Viscosi could do to tip the ball wide of the right post with a headlong dive.
The home team was able to string passes together all evening, and one such sequence late in the half generated another chance for Grant. Lemke found Baraldi, who in turn hit freshman Ryan James with a pass. James put a ball into the box for the onrushing Grant, who banged a one-timer on net that Viscosi kept out with a kick save.
On the evening, Grant had eight shots, putting seven of those on goal. The total of eight shot attempts was by far his highest as a Falcon. Baraldi had a career-high six total shots, with three on net.
Despite generating a total of 12 shots in a rainy opening period, the Falcons went into the half with just a one-goal lead.
The rain had subsided, for the most part, by the start of the second half. After Buffalo had the first shot attempt of the period, the Falcons then had the next four, with the final shot in that sequence resulting in a goal. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
With just over four minutes gone in the half, Baraldi hit yet another shot from a long distance away. Again, however, the sophomore struck his shot well, and Viscosi was forced to make an acrobatic effort to tip the ball out of bounds for a corner kick.
Two minutes later, a diagonal ball by Baraldi was just out of reach of Grant. The ensuing goal kick was stolen by Lemke, who quickly played a pass to Grant. The junior cut the ball back to elude a defender, then hit a shot that went just wide of the far post.
Nine minutes into the period, Baraldi blasted yet another shot that was parried by Viscosi. The UB 'keeper was forced to knock the ball straight up into the air, but was able to grab the carom near the crossbar as several Falcons closed in.
In the 58th minute of play, Lemke again stole the ball just shy of midfield, and quickly found Baraldi with a pass. Baraldi played a through ball to Grant, heading into the penalty area on the right side. Grant took a few dribbles and finished his chance well, tucking a low shot inside the far post for a two-goal lead. Baraldi and Lemke drew assists on the play.
Just over nine minutes later, the Falcons struck again, with Baraldi again involved. This time, the sophomore found Snashall with a pass, and Snashall headed toward the top of the penalty area. He slid a pass to his right, into the path of the charging Comiskey. Comiskey, like Grant had done moments earlier, hammered a low shot inside the far post to close the scoring.
The Falcons kept up the pressure, with no fewer than eight shots (from six different players) and six corner kicks in a nine-minute span. Additionally, BG saw two other potential chances thwarted by offside calls during that time. The home team had 16 total shot attempts in the second half.
The Bulls looked to spoil Wiest's shutout bid, with their 14 second-half shots including four shots in the final seven-plus minutes. One of UB's best chances came with just over a minute remaining, as Joey Merlo's through ball found Patrick Ryan heading toward goal on the right side of the box. Ryan hit a shot from close range, but Wiest went to the ground to make the save, preserving the shutout.
Senior Sean Hastings, junior Sean Sikich and freshman Jake Genrich each played all 90 minutes on the back line in front of Wiest, while junior Matt Griesinger played over two-thirds of the match.
Falcon freshman Tyler Gay saw the most extensive playing time of his young BGSU career to date, as he was on the pitch for 23 minutes. Gay had three shots during that time, including an effort off of a Snashall feed that went just wide left with three minutes left in the match.
Redshirt freshman Shawn Gross made his collegiate debut, playing the final four minutes of the contest. Gross is in his first year at BGSU after transferring from VCU.
Prior to Saturday night, BGSU's previous season-high totals were 16 total shots (at Hartwick on Sept. 28) and six shots on goal (vs. both Cleveland State and Akron).
The Falcons now embark upon a season-long four-game road swing, beginning with a Tuesday (Oct. 16) tilt at IPFW. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in Fort Wayne, Ind.