Nine months after helping the University at Buffalo men's soccer team to its first Mid-American Conference championship game since 2007, Bulls attackers Scott Doney and Russell Cicerone are back playing do-or-die matches.
On Friday, Doney started up front and created chances in Grand Rapids FC's 1-0 win over Indy Eleven NPSL in the National Premier Soccer League Midwest Region semifinal, while Cicerone was dynamic on the left wing during Michigan Bucks' comfortable 3-0 win over the Thunder Bay Chill in the Professional Development League (PDL) Central Conference Semifinals.
Both Bulls will be in action again on Saturday, with Doney's Grand Rapids side facing AFC Cleveland and Cicerone's Bucks challenging the Des Moines Menace. The matches will kick off at 7:30 p.m., and both will be streamed. Keep your eyes on the Twitter accounts for Grand Rapids and Michigan for the video links.
An improving target striker, Doney notched a team-leading four goals during league play, playing in front of an average of 4,000 GRFC fans. Against Indy Eleven NPSL, the 6'5 Kiwi striker saw a header blocked in desperation in the box off a set piece in the 10th minute, and nearly put GRFC ahead with a one-on-one against the keeper in the 54th.
Doney would be subbed off in the 79th against a team that boasts UB teammate and fellow countryman Nick Forrester, although the defender was inactive for the contest.
After earning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year honors last fall, Cicerone hasn't skipped a beat this summer, striking for 12 goals and three assists for the powerhouse Bucks. The dynamo was held off the score sheet against the Chill, but the Michigan native nearly potted a header early and almost connected with Andre Landell at the back post late in the match.
Here's video of a goal from earlier in the campaign:
— Michigan Bucks (@MichiganBucks) May 22, 2016
Among the other Bulls playing summer club soccer:
-- Joseph Kuta: Five starts for Sigma FC (10-3-1) in League1 Ontario
-- Daniel Cramarossa: 272 minutes in six matches for Vaughan Azzurri (8-1-3) of League1 Ontario, scoring once
-- Braden Culver played 348 minutes over eight matches with the Oakville Blue Devils, scoring once
-- Braden Scales and Hunter Walsh were both on FC Buffalo's roster, with Scales used more as a sub late in the season
-- Backup goalkeeper Cameron Hogg spent the summer as the Rochester River Dogz's starter
-- Defender Alec Fisher suited up for Kalamazoo FC of the NPSL
Email Ben Tsujimoto at firstname.lastname@example.org