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Bonnies Battle To 1-1 Draw At Niagara

Bonnies Battle To 1-1 Draw At Niagara

LEWISTON, N.Y. – The St. Bonaventure University men's soccer team fought to a 1-1 double overtime draw against Little Three rival Niagara Wednesday night.

St. Bonaventure stands 3-3-2 overall on the season while Niagara is now 1-6-1.

The Bonnies were on the offensive early in the game. In the 13th minute, freshman Nicola Bonso connected on a long pass with forward Kosi Nwafornso who freed himself in the middle of the box, but the shot was saved by goalkeeper Steve Casey.

Several minutes later, the ball found Keiran Toland's foot off of a free kick. His shot was cleared of the back line of Niagara in the 20th minute. 

Senior goalkeeper Luke Iacobellis was tested in the 24th minute on a shot from Matthew Krucko-Moeller, making a diving save to keep the game scoreless. On a counter-attack from the Bonnies, Nwafornso fired a rocket from outside of the box that forced Casey to make a save.

St. Bonaventure registered the first goal of the game on a set piece 20 yards out from Toland in the 36th minute. After being awarded a free kick, Toland found the bottom left side of the net for his second goal of the season to give the Bonnies a 1-0 lead.

The Bonnies kept the pressure up in the second half. In the 52nd minute, junior Kwame Opoku found enough room for a shot but it was blocked. The ball came to Opoku again in the 59th minute, but his shot went high.

Niagara struck for the equalizer in the 63rd minute, on a 30-yard screamer from Zulfikar Karimi who connected with a rebound from a set piece, tying the score. The Purple Eagles had another free kick in the 70th minute. Karimi fired another shot at the goal, but Iacobellis' diving stop turned him away.

In the 87th minute Jacob Dyke played Remi Dujardin threw for a potential game-winning goal, but Dujardin's shot was saved by Casey. Nwafornso nearly did the same with just a minute left in regulation when he fired a shot at the Niagara net, but the shot was kicked away again by Casey who time and again kept the Purple Eagles in the game as Bonaventure attacked.

In the first overtime, Iacobellis made a game-saving stop minute following a bicycle kick from Luca Pacheco, keeping the game deadlocked at 1-1.

The Bonnies survived another dangerous chance from Niagara in the second overtime on a shot by Krucko-Moeller that sailed high.

Nwafornso led the Bonnies with seven total shots and four shots on goal. Iacobellis made three saves for St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies had seven shots on goal compared to Niagara's four.

It was another night of working overtime for the Bonnies, who played their fourth double OT contest of the year, their most since 2008. St. Bonaventure has played a total of five overtime games in 2017 and   are now just one overtime game away from tying the program's all-time record for overtime contest in a single season (2003, 2011). In the last two seasons the Bonnies are now 3-1-4 in overtime games.

The next game for St. Bonaventure will be on Sunday, Sept. 24 when the Bonnies travel to Marist. Game time is slated for 1 p.m.



For the latest news on St. Bonaventure athletics, stay connected on social media. Follow the Bonnies on Twitter @Go_Bonnies and get men's soccer updates @BonniesMSoccer. Keep up with the Bonnies on Facebook /GoBonnies and on Instagram @GoBonnies.