The Daily Star
---- — STAFF REPORT
Hartwick College’s men took 10 more shots than the University at Buffalo, but the Bulls won, 1-0, Wednesday night in a Mid-American Conference soccer game at Elmore Field.
Joey Merlo’s goal in the 27th minute was the difference for the Bulls, who improve to 5-10-1 and 3-3 in the MAC. Hartwick fell to 4-10-2 and 1-5 in the MAC.
The Hawks held a 6-1 advantage in shots and took six corner kicks in the opening 25 minutes but couldn’t break through.
Leading up to the UB goal, Maksym Kowal brought a ball down with his chest and turned around a Hartwick defender roughly 40 yards from the goal. He played a pass to teammate Patrick Ryan 25 yards out. Ryan then sent a low pass to Merlo in the box on the right side. Merlo dribbled in and from a sharp angle drove a near-post shot past Hartwick keeper Mateo Munarriz.
The Hawks continued to apply pressure in the first half. Perhaps their best chance came with four minutes to play. Left back David Styles served a high cross into the box. Bulls keeper Jonathan Viscosi attempted to punch it out. He got a hand on it, but the ball bounced to Hartwick’s Jason Keefe 12 yards out. But Keefe’s shot sailed high.
Hartwick held a 9-4 edge in shots and led by a 7-3 margin in corners over the opening 45 minutes.
Buffalo stayed in a defensive posture throughout the second half.
In the 78th minute, Hartwick created a chance following some nice ball movement in the Buffalo end. Right back Chris Walter got free from 25 yards and his shot beat Viscosi but skimmed off the right post.
With nine minutes to go, more pressure from the Hawks allowed freshman forward Marc Russell a good look, but his shot from just outside the top of the box went inches wide.
Russell would force the Hawks’ 11th corner of the night with just over four minutes left. Tyler Bailey’s service into the box was met by back Ross MacKinnon, but his header trickled past the far post.
Hartwick’s final chance came with 2:42 left, following a UB foul 25 yards from the Bulls’ goal. Styles swung a left-footer in on goal forcing a diving effort from Viscosi.
Viscosi finished with three saves, one more than Munarriz.
Hartwick, which outshot UB, 17-7, will travel to Florida Atlantic at 4 p.m. Saturday in its finale.