Having spent the past two collegiate seasons at Buffalo State, August Finn was hoping he could stay put for the summer by playing in the NPSL with FC Buffalo.
His tryout, however, didn’t lead to a roster spot.
“I thought I played well too,” Finn said.
It turns out the consolation prize hasn’t been so bad. He still ended up in the NPSL but just down the New York State Thruway with the Rochester Lancers.
It’s been a perfect fit. Finn has found a home at midfield for the Lancers, and on Friday night he even enjoyed a little taste of revenge. The 19-year-old from High Falls (halfway between Albany and New York City, just off I-87) scored the first goal and played a stout defensive game as the Lancers held off Buffalo 2-1 at Charlie Schiano Sr. Field on the campus of Aquinas Institute.
The victory stretched the Lancers unbeaten streak to seven (5-0-2) and they are 5-2-2 overall.
“A lot of it is our team mentality, and that comes from the top with our coach (Doug Miller),” Finn said. “We know we’re going to win. That’s why we win close games, because we believe we’ll win. It’s a lot of fun right now.”
Buffalo goalie Cam Hogg was actually the guy having all the fun in the first 21 minutes as he thwarted two Grade-A scoring chances a minute apart, the first by Rafael Godoi and the second by Lukas Fernandes.
Finn finally found a way to score, driving an 18-yard shot into the net in the 22nd minute to give the Lancers a 1-0 lead. The goal was his first of the season.
The score didn’t change until the 74th minute, when midfielder Ben Allen converted a Fernandes pass, and the Lancers were able to hold off a late Buffalo push that did produce a goal in the 79th minute.
“Sometimes you have to win ugly,” said Finn, a junior-to-be at Buffalo State. “The important thing is we did win.”
The Lancers’ attack of late has been buoyed primarily by the left foot of striker Will Stone, who has scored four goals. But Friday was an example of why the team hasn’t lost in a month: they are getting contributions up and down the lineup.
“It’s important; we can’t rely on just one guy,” Finn said.
Miller isn’t expecting Finn to be an offense-first player, however.
“He does all the things nobody else wants to do,” Miller said. “He’s all about hard work, he’s breaking up plays, he’s up and down the field and he transitions well. You need grinders like that.”
Finn has refined his game at Buffalo State, a program he chose even when he had at least one offer to play for an NCAA Division I school.
“I just felt like it was the best fit,” he said. “I really like coach (Mark) Howlett, we’ve become really close. I want to continue to play at the highest level possible.”
The Lancers play their next two games on the road, at Erie on July 2 and at AFC Cleveland on July 7, before coming home for the regular season finale on July 15 against Erie (4 p.m.).
The Lady Lancers play their home finale at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Western New York Flash.