Buffalo college soccer has witnessed its share of highlight-reel goals. Andrew Incho's completely absurd volley for Canisius in 2011 reached No. 2 on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays. UB's Russell Cicerone scored from just beyond midfield off the second-overtime kickoff in 2014 to also make the reel.
The magic surrounding SUNY Buffalo State sophomore Zakaria Shaibi's last-second bicycle kick from outside the 18-yard box certainly contends with the two above. The wondergoal against SUNY Potsdam began at the No. 5 spot on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays on Friday night, then moved up to No. 4 in future recordings of the show. (Video thanks to the SUNY Potsdam Athletics).
Is this the best goal in WNY college soccer history? Zak Shaibi’s bicycle kick with 1 second left in regulation - which leveled the game - is right up there with Russell Cicerone’s OT goal off the kickoff. Video thanks to @PotsdamBears. #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/r6ulfXeuq1
— Buffalo News Soccer (@BN_Soccer) September 27, 2019
The Bengals — in jeopardy of losing their undefeated season in that moment — level the match at 1 on that overhead kick at 89:59. Although he was aware of the clock ticking down, the McKinley High School alumnus let his instincts take over.
"When the [deflected shot] was in the air I thought the game would be over, but I went for it 'cause you never know," Shaibi said. "When Moe [Saif] passed the ball all I could think about is getting a shot off and getting another chance to score."
Buffalo State went on to lose in double overtime to the Bears on a gorgeous golden goal that curled into the right upper-90, but the talk Saturday morning focused on Shaibi's magical moment that earned national acclaim.
Young athletes dream about appearing on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays — which counts down the most impressive highlights in world sports from the previous day's games — and the Aden, Yemen native is still wrapping his head around the achievement as Buffalo State regroups for a quick turnaround against Plattsburgh.
"I think I'm still sleeping right now, like I'm dreaming," Shaibi said, with a laugh. "I don't believe it. It's truly an honor, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates."
• Note: Another Western New York soccer alumnus took part in a SportsCenter Top 10 Play earlier this week, as Canisius High School grad J.P. Bobak assisted on a bicycle-kick goal by a Franciscan University teammate after he heel-flicked a blind pass toward the front of goal.
— Franciscan Men’s Soccer (@FUSmsoc) September 26, 2019