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UB Bulls Soccer Roundup: Women in First Place, Men Start MAC Play Strong

UB Bulls

I was expecting a slower week here; one that would allow me some extra time to work on Olympic Sports. Instead, well you know.

Both soccer teams had productive weekends. The women continue to play well, holding onto first place and remaining unbeaten in the MAC with two ties, while the men are to my eyes playing their finest soccer of the year and have earned a thrilling draw in their MAC opener and a heartbreaking last-minute loss after a strong 90 minutes in a nonconference matchup.

Men's Soccer

A tie and a loss isn't most people's definition of a strong weekend, but for the 3-8-1 Men's Soccer team, it's better than their average two-game run this year. Factor in that the tie came thanks to a strong, momentum-flipping second half with two goals in the final six minutes, and that the loss featured 90 minutes of strong play, quality scoring chances thwarted by a goalie in his first career appearance, and a fluky last-minute goal, and it's easy to laud the play of the team.

Friday's tie came against Western Michigan, and as above, saw the Bulls score twice in the final six minutes thanks to Austin Place in the 84th minute and Russell Cicerone's score on a PK rebound in the 90th minute. Buffalo held on in the overtime periods after owning the edge in the second half and finished the night with a 2-2 tie against a strong WMU team.

UB Men's, Women's Soccer Earn a Pair of Draws v WMU, Northern Illinois - Bull Run
Both of UB's soccer teams earned results Friday night: Laura Dougall made three saves to earn her eighth shutout of the season in a 0-0 draw with NIU and Russell Cicerone's goal off a penalty kick...

Two Second Half Goals Earn Men’s Soccer A Draw Against Western Michigan - Buffalo

Against Lafayette the Bulls showed a physicality that I hadn't seen yet this season (I was unable to watch the WMU game.) en route to a 0-0 tie that persisted for the first 89 minutes. UB's young defensive players, especially Alec Fisher and Daniel Cramarossa, were stellar in mucking up Leopard possession and keeping Lafayette from getting clear shots, and Waleed Cassis stopped the first seven shots he saw in progressively more stellar fashion.

Unfortunately Lafayette managed an eighth shot just before time expired and popped the ball past a swarm of Buffalo defenders and Cassis to win the match 1-0. Hopefully most observers, and the players themselves, recognize that the score does not show everything about the game.

Bulls Drop Heartbreaker In Final Minute At Lafayette, 1-0 - Buffalo

Buffalo Bulls Mens Soccer: UB falls to Lafayette Tuesday on last minute goal - Bull Run
The Bulls dropped a 1-0 road match against Lafayette today, but Bulls fans and Head Coach Stu Riddle should be very pleased with the effort.

Men's soccer was the only male sports team other than football in action for Buffalo this past weekend, and Cicerone's last-minute score earned him Athlete of the Week nods.

Cicerone And Stojanovska Named Athletes of the Week - Buffalo

For more Bull Run coverage of Men's Soccer, I talked about the team in my weekend roundup show starting at 7:25:

UB Bulls Olympic Sports: Weekend Roundup Show - Bull Run

Stats

Russell Cicerone now has seven goals on the season and is still third in the MAC in that category. Austin Place's goal was his first of the year, which means that Cicerone is still the only Bull with more than one score.

This Week in Bull

It's a Saturday-Tuesday pair again this week for the Bulls (RPI 148, MR 179). On Saturday they'll travel to Bowling Green (82, 52) to take on the Falcons and MAC-leading scorer Pat Flynn, and will Tuesday host St. Bonaventure (180, 191). Both games are at 7:00 PM.

Women's Soccer

Women's Soccer came into this weekend on a four-game win streak enjoying the first place position in the conference. in two games against West Division-leading Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. They didn't win either game, but remain unbeaten in MAC play thanks to two ties.

Friday saw the Bulls make the longest road trip in the MAC to DeKalb to take on the Huskies and earn a perhaps unlucky 0-0 tie after 110 minutes of full time and two extra periods. As is their wont, UB dominated on the stat sheet while also shutting down their opponent's possession, but couldn't push one across the line, even despite three shots in a 90 second span late in the second overtime.

The shutout is Dougall's eighth of the season, though not without controversy; NIU's head coach called the freshman goalie a 'diver' and a call two-thirds through the first half "the worst I've seen in 40 years." So he's a delight and I hope we get to play him again.

UB Men's, Women's Soccer Earn a Pair of Draws v WMU, Northern Illinois - Bull Run
Both of UB's soccer teams earned results Friday night: Laura Dougall made three saves to earn her eighth shutout of the season in a 0-0 draw with NIU and Russell Cicerone's goal off a penalty kick...

Coach: Bad calls doom women’s soccer - Northern Star Online: Sports
Women’s soccer wasn’t able to keep up its unbeaten streak, ending a five-game run of no losses over the weekend.

I did not see a minute of Sunday's match against Western Michigan, but UB used a goal from Megan Abman - her second of the season - in the 34th minute to take a predictable 1-0 lead. So far this year, UB scores first, or it doesn't score at all. Abman's goal was also the first of the season given up by WMU goalie Stephanie Heber, in her sixth game.

What was unpredictable, however, was the degree to which the Broncos were able to push back against the Bulls in the second half. WMU got a goal midway through the half and continued to pressure the Buffalo net, forcing Laura Dougall to make all six of her saves in the half. Once again UB was the stronger team in the overtime periods, but wasn't able to score.

Women’s Soccer Battles Western Michigan To 1-1 Draw - Buffalo

Laura Dougall did not win, but was nominated for, MAC Defensive Player of the Week:

The Mid-American Conference - MAC Announces Women's Soccer Players of the Week

The Women's Soccer segment of Sunday's show starts at 17:05:

UB Bulls Olympic Sports: Weekend Roundup Show - Bull Run

Stats

Another week, another Dougall shutout update: She's now up to eight on the season, tied for second in program history and just two off of Ainsley Wheldon's school record. One of her hometown news sources highlighted her this week:

Pickering’s Laura Dougall inching closer to record books

Additionally, on a team scale, UB's 4-0-2 start in the MAC is a program best. That's probably not too much of a surprise, no?

This Week in Bull

Two games this weekend for UB (RPI 65, MR 86) in another home-and-road split: on Friday the Bulls travel to CMU (241, 235) for a 4:00 start, and on Sunday they host Toledo (190, 141) at 1:00.

Go Bulls!