By Mike Hogan
Through the first four games of the season, the St. Bonaventure men’s soccer team (2-1-1), there has been no shortage of thrillers. In each of those four games, overtime has been needed to decide them, and sometimes, one overtime wasn’t enough.
The Bonnies’ persistence has shined through since the season opener when they defeated Bucknell by a score of 1-0 after senior midfielder Paul Afful’s header gave the Bonnies the win. In the second game, double overtime was needed to defeat Robert Morris, erasing a 2-0 deficit on the way to a thrilling 3-2 victory.
The story was very much the same this pastweekend at the UTRGV invitational in Endingburg, Texas.
The Bonnies added two more overtime games to its resume this weekend. Although neither resulted in a win, senior midfielder Kieran Toland said that it showed something a lot more.
“The fact that we have went to our fourth straight overtime shows the resilience of this team, that ‘raise your level’ attitude,” said Toland.
He also said that they are working towards a much bigger goal.
“I don’t think we will ever feel out of any game this year as we are a lot better and stronger and are working together to bring Bonnies soccer back to its previous highs,” said Toland.
Although the Bonnies came away with a draw and a loss this weekend, Afful and Toland came away with all-tournament honors with their strong play this weekend.
Afful, who has played hero on a few instances this year, scoring the game-tying goal to force overtime Friday night against UTRGV. The goal was ironically assisted by Toland via a beautiful free kick. The two connected again on Sunday, this time it was Afful assisting Toland.
“Personally, it’s nice to be rewarded and seeing my hard work behind the scenes, pay off. I work hard every day at practice and try to better myself every day,” said Toland.
However, it’s the team-first attitude of Toland’s that is even more impressive. Though an award is nice, Toland said that it wouldn’t have been possible without the men around him.
“It feels great to get this award, but this award is for our whole team,” said Toland. “Without thoseguys, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do on the field. They all contribute to every personal award that is given.”
Although the Bonnies weren’t able to come away with a win this weekend, it is evident that the team was able to come away many positives that they can build on as a team that may lead to bigger things in the future.
The Bonnies next game will be played Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. against rivaled CanisiusCollege at the Marra Athletics Complex, followed by another home game against University at Albany at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.