Frustration fuels Bonnies Loss

By Michael Hogan @Mike_Hogan42

The Bonnies found themselves in another nail biter early against Hartwick, until two late goals by the Hawks sunk them in a 3-1 defeat Saturday evening at Marra Athletics complex.

The Hawks were the first to draw blood as senior, Mark Berry, found the back of the net in the 17th minute off of a beautiful assist by teammate Harry Morton.

The Bonnies had a frustrating first half on the offensive side, as they squandered chances to score. One of those chances came in the 28th minute when an offside call neglected Nicola Bonso’s potential equalizer.

Continue reading “Frustration fuels Bonnies Loss”

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Bonnies bounce back in return home

By Teddy Caputo @teddy_capoots

After dropping their last two contests the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team came back in a big way this past Sunday at the Marra Athletics Complex, coming out with a 1-0 victory over the Albany Great Danes.

On a beautiful and sunny day the home crowd was filled with energy and excitement.

The Great Danes put pressure on the Bonnies early with two shots that could have changed the dynamic of the game. Senior forward Afonso Pinheiro’s shot bounced off the left post and went out of bounds. The other close call came when Bonnies goalie Luke Iacobellis deflected Great Danes’ forward Nico Solabarrieta’s shot to keep the game scoreless.

Hustle and physicality dominated the match with several fouls on both teams.

In the 47th minute a collision between Bonnies’ Kieran Toland, Kosi Nwarfornso and Great Danes’ goalie Danny Vitiello had Toland slow to get up at first, but he shook it off on the sideline and returned later.

Before the game, Toland said his team knew they needed to outwork the Great Danes if they wanted to get a victory.

“Our work rate was absolutely incredible,” Toland said. “We could have been a little bit more composed with the ball and kept the ball a little more; but we said that if we work harder than they do, then we will win the game.”

That hard work paid off in the 55th minute of the game when junior midfielder Isaiah Wilson scored after Nwafornso’s shot deflected off Vitiello and back to Wilson who chipped the ball into the goal giving the Bonnies a 1-0 lead.

Wilson said it felt good to get his third game-winner of his collegate career.
“I was a little nervous,” Wilson said. “But I remember my coach telling me to stay calm when I get around the net, and that’s what I did.”

As the game wrapped up an altercation broke out between Pinheiro and the Bonnies’ Nicola Bonso after both players made valiant efforts going for the ball and slid into each other. The scuffle was broken up immediately and play resumed.

The Bonnies held off the Great Danes’ for the rest of the game, winning 1-0.
The win marks their third of the season, giving them a 3-2-1 record on the season so far.

This was their first win after losing their previous two games against Canisius and Houston Baptist.

The Bonnies will look to carry the momentum from this home victory into their next match against Hartwick, who comes to the Marra Athletics Complex on Saturday, September 16th at 7:00 pm.

Golden Griffins spoil Bonas homecoming

By Isaiah Blakely @IsaiahBlakely3

The St. Bonaventure Bonnies fell to its rival Canisius Golden Griffins, 2-0 on a chilly Friday night in its first home matchup at Marra Athletics Field Complex.

The first-half featured back and forth chances for both teams starting with Bona captain Paul Afful putting a free kick just over the goal.

Moments later the Golden Griffins missed a golden opportunity when midfielder Melvin Blair shot wide from about six yards out. They continued the pressure when midfielder Evan Walsh half-volleyed from inside the box, but shot over the goal.

The Golden Griffins came out in the second half with most of the scoring opportunities including forward Hakeem Milson putting a shot over the bar inside the penalty area. In the 57th minute, the scoring drought gave way as Alex Grattarola scored a header off a corner kick giving the Golden Grifffins a 1-0 lead.

The Bonnies tried to answer back with pressure of their own when Afful put a stingy shot on goal that was saved by Griffins’ goalie Marco Trivellato.

Bonnies goalie Luke Iacobellis made one of his seven saves on a Canisius counter attack to keep the Bonnies just one goal down.

Seconds later, after Iacobellis’s save, the Golden Griffins scored again off a corner kick from forward Filippo Tamburini.

The Bonnies couldn’t generate anymore offense losing 2-0.

Bonnies coach Kwame Oduro stressed the need to work on set pieces.

“Their two goals came from set pieces,” Oduro said. “If we take care of that, hey, it can be the difference.”

To get back on track, Oduro said the Bonnies needed to start scoring some goals as they only have two goals in their last three contests.

“We are too static in our movement,” Oduro said. “We have to start creating more dangerous chances in front of goal.”

Bonaventure continues to look for their first home win of the season Sunday at 1:00 against Albany.

Men’s soccer: Niagara preview

By Chuckie Maggio

The St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team hopes to defend home turf and get their first win of the season Sunday afternoon against Niagara.

The Bonnies lost a tough opening game against nationally-ranked Delaware last Sunday, while Niagara has started the season 1-3. The Purple Eagles played in both the Central New York Classic and the Duquesne Invitational, beating Colgate and losing to Syracuse, Bowling Green and Binghamton.

The 4 p.m. showdown of Big Four rivals promises to be a good one. Who’s got the edge? Let’s break it down.

The Breakdown

Coaches:

St. Bonaventure: Mel Mahler. 56-90-18 record as Bonnies coach (10th season).

Niagara: Eric Barnes. 5-12-1 as Purple Eagles coach (2nd season).

Key players for Bonaventure:

Garrett Pasono- senior defender. Pasono’s Bonaventure career and importance to this team have been well-documented by our site. He’s the anchor of this defense, with a little goal-scoring ability as well. Against a Niagara team that has been shutout in three of its first four games, look for Pasono and the defense to come up big today.

Nicholas Perillo- senior forward. After the Bonnies failed to score against the Blue Hens, Perillo and the forwards will look to execute this time around. The 6’1 education major scored seven goals in 2013 and will be looking to put his first of this season into the back of the net.

Bonaventure Akinlosotu- redshirt freshman defender. After redshirting last season, the 6-3 defender from Bowie, Maryland has already earned a spot in the starting 11. Akinlosotu’s size and strength make him a player to watch on this Bonnies’ squad.

Jeremy Figler- redshirt senior goalkeeper. With talented defenders in front of him, Figler will be the last line of defense. He had a solid 2013, with 80 saves. After a tough game against Delaware, Figler will look to rebound.

Continue reading “Men’s soccer: Niagara preview”

Men’s soccer: .@g_pasono5 reflects on Bona’s career, matchup against Niagara

By Josh Svets, @svetz17 

Senior Garrett Pasono has had a productive career at Bona’s. Named to the College Sports Madness preseason second team All-Atlantic 10, Pasono has been a key player for the Bonnies. Last year, Pasono, started all 19 games, scoring three goals while anchoring a defense that allowed 30 goals all year.

Despite his performance the previous year Bonnies are 0-1 thus far this season, losing 3-0 to a tough Delaware squad. However, Pasono and the team will look to change that as they host Niagara at home Sunday.

“I think we match up well, last year we put in a good performance against them,” said Pasano. “We are a young team, but so are they so were looking to get our first win of the season.”

Pasono then delved into his experiences at Bona’s, particularly, his freshman year as a starter on the team.

“I came in kind of trying to get a feel for everything,” said Pasono. “We had a young team, there were a few juniors and seniors but the bulk of it was sophomores and my freshmen class. As a freshman, all you can do is work as hard as you can. I had a good showing during preseason and the first exhibition game, allowing me to win the defender spot and I kept it. Games were tough, there’s a learning curve and I didn’t really have a chance to learn the ropes, but as I progressed it really helped me my past three seasons.”

Continue reading “Men’s soccer: .@g_pasono5 reflects on Bona’s career, matchup against Niagara”

Behind the Wolfpack: Plan Is A Boost To Athletics

[Photo courtesy of department of athletics]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

The women’s lacrosse team could not field a single home game two years ago, the men’s and women’s soccer teams have had to play at high school fields, and the basketball programs have had to deal with less than ideal facilities to sell to recruits.

That is the current state of St. Bonaventure University’s athletics program. It’s a program that is below par in facilities for almost any sport in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but a new strategic plan that was announced on Monday, Oct. 22 could change all of that.

A five-year plan, two years in the making, is set to reconstruct or rennovate 15 different facilities at St. Bonaventure at a cost of $18.8 million. The reason behind the idea is simple — to continue to provide the athletic teams with a chance to win.

“Our goal is to strengthen our position in the A-10 Conference of the NCAA,” athletic director Steve Watson said. “The result is to have all of our 14 Division I teams to finish in the top half of the A-10 Conference on a yearly basis.”

The competitive disadvantage that our teams face on a daily basis is mind numbing.

While the women’s lacrosse team plays its season in the Spring, the team members still practice during the fall, and that’s where troubles arise. The lacrosse team shares a locker room with the women’s soccer team, so instead of having a place to store their equipment, the players have to carry around their sticks from class to class.

And the problem may be even more apparent on the baseball field. Watson tells a unique story of Bona head coach Larry Sudbrook and how he has seen the need for more funding.

“Larry will tell me that when he goes through the handshake line at the end of the game, he shakes the head coach’s hand, then an assistant coach and another assistant and then another,” Watson said. “Then, those opposing coaches look for his assistants to find no one because Larry doesn’t have full-time assistants.”

It may sound funny, but it’s not a good problem to have. While Bona managed to have success with both the men and women’s basketball program’s last season, that success cannot be maintained unless improvements are made.

To read the related news story on St. Bonaventure’s strategic plan, click here.

When on a recruiting trail, what will make a recruit choose St. Bonaventure over a Big East school? Bona sure doesn’t have the facilities they do. Bona can’t offer the same type of financial package either.

But these things will slowly change as the plan is implemented, and some of that is already beginning to show.

In order to retain the coaching services of both ESPN.com’s National Coach of the Year Jim Crowley and Sporting News Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure had to shell out some additional cash.

“Like any business out there, if you want to recruit top-level employees, you need to be competitive with your compensation,” Watson said. “And surely if you want to retain successful coaches, you need to be competitive as well.”

While Bona has overcome many obstacles to have success, most notably last season, it won’t last without improvements, and it’s the right time for the university to back this plan.

lazorm09@bonaventure.edu

SBU Unveils Strategic Plan For Athletics

[Photo courtesy of department of athletics]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

St. Bonaventure University teamed up with the Athletics Department to announce the school’s first-ever comprehensive strategic plan for athletics to position St. Bonaventure to maintain and surpass last season’s success on Monday, Oct. 22.

The five-year plan highlights key areas of need for St. Bonaventure’s Division I athletic teams and aims to reconstruct or renovate 15 different facilities. The idea is to make the fields into one sports complex with separate entrances to each field.

While the biggest draw of the university is its basketball program, the initiative aims to help all of St. Bonaventure’s athletic teams.

“Two years ago, the women’s lacrosse team could not even field a true home game because of the condition of the field,” athletic director Steve Watson said. “Our women’s soccer team and women’s lacrosse share locker rooms.That puts at a serious competitive disadvantage.”

An estimated cost of the plan is $18.8 million to cover the renovations and reconstructions of the numerous facilities. But the first of those projects that is aimed to be completed is the reconstruction of the women’s basketball locker room.

The $300,000 campaign to fund a new locker room was started by University President Sr. Margaret Carney following the team’s Sweet 16 success. To this point, over $100,000 has been raised and it will only proceed once 100 percent of the money is accounted for.

However, Watson is confident that it will be ready.

“We plan to have it ready in the fall of 2013 which means it would be a summer reconstruction,” he said. “I’m confident with the alumni we have that this will get done. No one deserves it more than them.”

Following that is the reconstruction of the soccer and softball fields into a turf fields, much like Fred Handler Park. If put into place, no longer would the men’s and women’s soccer teams have to travel to high school fields to play their home games.

“We want our players to have the true division I experience,” Watson said. “They aren’t getting it by playing at high schools. We have a long way to go.”

But this is not a plan that just benefits the athletes that are part of the student body, but those who attend St. Bonaventure for academic purposes.

To read Ryan Lazo’s column on the plan being a boost to athletics, click here.

Watson said he envisions a time when the multipurpose turf field is used for intramural flag football games under the lights or hosting a rugby match.

It’s the idea that this is not just for the benefit of the athletic department, but it’s also for the students that drives the plan.

St. Bonaventure has never hosted an A-10 Championship on campus, and that could change if the fields are put in place.

“At the end of the day, this is for the students,” Watson said. “Athletics are a part of any university, and it’s our job to make sure it is up to par with the rest of the conference and the NCAA.”

lazorm09@bonaventure.edu

Behind The Wolfpack: Men’s Soccer Look To Correct Mistakes In Conference Play

[Emmett O’Connor searches for goal against Canisius last weekend – Photo courtesy of gobonnies.com]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

The St. Bonaventure University men’s soccer team controlled the pace from the opening whistle against their Little Three rival, the Niagara Purple Eagles. The defense pressured the Eagles into early mistakes, and scoring opportunities were opening up.

Then, in the 13th minute, Brad Vanino blasted home a rebound into the back of the net for his first goal of the season and seemingly gave the Bonnies momentum to turn things around.

But just one minute later, a breakdown on the back line allowed Niagara to tie the game  – one they would eventually win 3-2. It’s the perfect microcosm of the Bonnies’ season. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

“We’re still looking for answers,” seventh-year head coach Mel Mahler said during practice. “As a coach, I’m trying to find a lineup that is most effective and figure out a way to turn this thing around.”

And the season is desperately in need of a turnaround.

Through nine games of their non-conference schedule, the Bonnies (1-8) have been outscored by a total of 29 to 6. They have suffered through injuries, suffered through mental lapses and played down a man multiple times in games.

“We lack leadership,” Mahler said frankly. “Leadership from the standpoint of helping keep the team focused and giving direction.

We lack communication at key points — that’s a leadership issue.”

However, the Brown and White have been able to tighten up the defense, one that ranks among the worst in the Atlantic 10 Conference. In their last three match-ups, the Bonnies have held opponents to just five goals, after surrendering 10 in two games against Hartwick and Syracuse.

“We made a formation change on defense,” junior midfielder Brad Vanino said. “We are focusing on it in practice and making sure we keep the ball out of the back of our net.”

But Mahler is not fond of the idea of having to sit back and play a counter-attacking style. He prefers to have an attacking style offense, one that sees the back line coming up into the attack and helping out the forwards.

But after surrendering an onslaught of goals, changes had to be made.

“We took the attacking responsibility away from our defenders,” Mahler said. “We’ve been trying the past few weeks to learn how get 10 players behind the ball, win it and how to attack from there. It’s a learning curve.”

Unfortunately for the Bonnies, the learning curve may be taking too long. With just one more non-conference match-up scheduled before A-10 play, they need to pick up the system quickly.

“We’ve definitely learned a lot about our defense and we played great competition during our non-conference schedule,” Vanino said of his team. “Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and improve in conference play.”

For a team that lacks a true identity, one that has dominated games and still managed to find a way to lose, it’s a long road ahead.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Mahler said of his struggling team. “We’ve dug ourselves a really deep hole, and we have to find a way to get out.”

With a daunting A-10 conference season on the horizon, the Brown and White need to correct the mistakes that have haunted them or it will be a long and chilly fall season for the men’s soccer team.

lazorm09@bonaventure.edu