BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University men's soccer team got goals from four different players, including a pair of freshmen, as the Falcons rallied for a 4-2 win over the University of Cincinnati Saturday night (Aug. 24). The exhibition match was held at Cochrane Field.
The Falcons' top-two goal-scorers from a year ago, senior Anthony Grant and junior Danny Baraldi, had goals on Saturday night, but BG's final two scores came from freshmen Dan Looker and Joe Sullivan. Looker's goal was the game winner as the Brown and Orange scored the final three goals of the night.
BGSU held a 17-12 shots advantage, and put nine shots on goal to the Bearcats' four. The Falcons had nine corner kicks, including seven in the second half alone, without giving up a single corner.
After taking a 1-0 lead on a Baraldi blast late in the first half, the Brown and Orange would see the visitors seize control with two goals just 94 seconds apart early in the second period. But, Grant's goal in the 58th minute, less than four minutes after UC's second goal, tied the score, and Looker headed home what proved to be the winner with nearly 73 minutes gone. Sullivan closed the scoring on a nifty individual effort with just under five minutes left in the match.
On a picture-perfect night at Cochrane Field, the teams battled through nearly the entire first half without a goal. BG controlled much of the play, and had the majority of possession time in that first half. At one point roughly 15 minutes into the match, the Falcons were able to string together 13 consecutive passes, with seven of the team's 10 field players touching the ball. That sequence ended with a cross by senior Zach Schewee from the left side of the penalty area. Baraldi was able to get a foot on the cross, but could not direct the ball on goal.
Midway through the first half, a free kick by UC's Alan Rovira found the head of Miles Dale at the left post, but Dale's shot was wide of the frame.
BGSU had two good scoring chances just over a minute apart late in the half. First, sophomore Ryan James picked up a loose ball at the top of the box, took one dribble and fired a shot that hit the crossbar and went over the top for a UC goal kick. BG soon regained possession, however, and Baraldi laid a pass into the path of the onrushing Vlad Lekarev. Lekarev's low, hard shot, however, was right at UC goalkeeper Taylor Hafling, who was able to cover up.
WIth five minutes left in the period, a Baraldi corner kick found sophomore Jake Genrich at the far post. Genrich's header try was just wide of the net. Just over two minutes later, however, the Falcons were on the scoreboard.
The scoring play began when freshman Jacob Roth played a short diagonal ball to senior Ryan Comiskey at the top of the 18-yard box. Comiskey, facing away from goal, passed the ball to Baraldi, who uncorked a blast that glanced off of a UC defender and went into the upper left corner of the net. The Falcons took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
BG had a 7-4 advantage in shots in that first half. The Bearcats evened that category by taking the first three shots of the second period, and two of those shots found the back of the net.
With just under seven minutes gone in the period, Rovira took a free kick from the right side, and hit a curving ball that rang off the crossbar. Brad Miguel tracked it down, took a few dribbles and fired a shot that was on target, tying the score. One minute and 44 seconds later, Emmanuel Appiah scored on a free kick of his own, giving UC a 2-1 lead.
The Falcons responded quickly. Senior Ryan Snashall's pass found Grant in the box, and Grant's shot from point-blank range was blocked by Hafling. The ball went out of bounds for a corner kick, one of four corners for the Falcons in the span of 81 seconds. The third corner during that stretch resulted in a shot that was saved once again by Hafling, but once again the ball went over the end line for a BG corner.
That corner was deflected to fifth-year senior Joey D'Agostino just outside the box. The tri-captain chipped a ball into the box, where fellow tri-captain Brandon Silva nodded it toward goal. Silva's header hit off of the crossbar, but Grant was there to blast the rebound into the far-side netting, tying the match at the 57:18 mark.
BGSU senior goalkeeper Michael Wiest, the Falcons' other captain, stopped a hard shot off the boot of the Bearcats' Ashani Walker. At the other end of the pitch, Schewee made several nifty moves to elude a pair of defenders, and hit a low shot that Hafling was able to smother at the near post.
In the 73rd minute, Comiskey won the Falcons a corner kick as his shot was blocked out of play. Baraldi's corner found the head of Looker, who knocked it home to give the Brown and Orange the lead for good. Looker had checked into the match for the first time just over 12 minutes before his goal.
Then, with four-and-a-half minutes on the clock, Sullivan -- who had made his first appearance in the match just over five minutes earlier -- scored on an impressive individual play. The freshman pounced on an errant pass, as a UC defender attempted to pass the ball back to Hafling. Sullivan popped the ball over Hafling, moved around the Bearcat 'keeper, and headed the popup before it hit the ground. No UC player could get to the ball before it hit the back of the net, and the Falcons had a two-goal lead and some insurance.
Wiest played all 90 minutes for the home side, making two saves. Hafling had five stops for the Bearcats in his complete-match effort.
The Falcons now prepare for the regular season opener on Friday (Aug. 30), when Malone University comes to town. That match, like all of BGSU's home men's soccer matches, will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Cochrane Field, and admission is free.