Bullen Paces Minutemen To Exhibition Win
Aug. 21, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. -- The University of Massachusetts men's soccer team scored three goals in the second half to defeat the University of Montreal, 3-1, in an exhibition match on Saturday. Oral Bullen (Brooklyn, N.Y.) tallied two of the goals, both coming in the final 13 minutes and freshman Greg Cirillo (Warren, R.I.) netted the other early in the second half.
The two teams played a defensive, physical first half, with neither team mounting any significant threat. UMass' best chance came in the 42nd minute when Cirillo had a near breakaway between two Montreal defenders, but couldn't corral the ball to stop the lone UMass threat. However, early in the second half, Cirillo made the most of his next chance as he scored following a scramble in front of the net. Kenneth Cook (Fairport, N.Y.) dished Cirillo the ball in front of the net, catching the Montreal goalkeeper out of position. Cirillo slid the ball through traffic into the back of the net in the 48th minute for a 1-0 lead.
UMass then turned to its defense to keep the Carabins off the board, highlighted by a spectacular Nick Billman (St. Louis, Mo.) save following a quick restart in the 61st minute. A Carabin forward dribbled the ball into the zone, catching the UMass defense scrambling, but Billman made a sprawling save to his right to stop the threat.
After the Carabins tied the game at one in th 69th minute, Bullen took over scoring both of his goals late in the half. In the 78th minute, sophomore Todd Skelton (Manassas, Va.) played a through ball down the left side that Bullen chased down, beat his defender and fired a shot off the left post that richcheted into the back of the net for a 2-1 advantage. Ten minutes later, the Minutemen had another solid scoring threat, started by freshman Mike Mingione (New Fairfield, Conn.). Mingione beat two Montreal defenders, playing a ball to sophomore Richie Higa (Honolulu, Hawaii) along the right side. Higa dribbled the ball into the offensive zone, sending the ball into the middle that Bullen headed inside the right post for a 3-1 advantage in the 88th minute.
"It was a very good test to show us where we are so far," said Koch. "There were a number of times we were shaky, which shows us what we need to refocus on this week as we prepare for Notre Dame. It was good to see us able to finish at the end and I was pleased with our overall performance.
"Our legs got tired at the end, but that was to be expected. We've been working pretty hard," said Koch. "We have things we need to shore up, but I think that we have some good talent and we have competition at every position. Its fun to see what we are doing and will be fun to see us on fresh legs next Saturday."
Koch was especially pleased with the play of two of his sophomores.
"Todd Skelton played terrific today in the back, and Nick Billman made a key save in the net for us," said Koch. "Those two came up big for us today."
The Minutemen will battle No. 14-ranked Notre Dame next Saturday in the ninth annual Kick-off Classic at Szot Park in Chicopee. For ticket information, please call 1-866-UMASS-TIX.