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UB Bulls Olympic Sports: This Weekend in Bull

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Fewer teams are in action than last weekend, but nearly everyone competing is at home in Amherst for the University at Buffalo over the next few days.

Matt Gritzmacher

If you haven't caught anything other than UB Football live prior to this weekend, Saturday is going to be a great, great chance to do so. If you don't need a football game to get to campus, today and Sunday are likewise going to be big days at the east end of North Campus.

Friday

A week ago, Friday saw three Buffalo teams competing at home over just four hours. Since then, a scheduling snafu for Men's soccer (story at the bottom of this linked post) has reduced Friday's action to a doubleheader, but both matches are critical for MAC tournament seeding.

Women's Soccer begins their season-ending three game homestand hosting Ball State at 5:00 PM this afternoon. It's a wonderful quirk in the schedule that the top three teams in the MAC: Ball State, Buffalo, and Miami, all play each other in a mini round robin in the last six days. Ball State, with 15 points, probably needs a win and a tie over the two East-Division teams to get a shot at the top seed, while for UB (20 points) and Miami (19) it will likely comedown to their game against each other on Sunday.

But first, today. UB plays Ball State, at 5 at UB Stadium.

After that match, I'll be heading over to Alumni Arena for Volleyball's match against Eastern Michigan. Volleyball's home schedule has meshed as imperfectly as possible with my own personal schedule this year, but this weekend they host two teams who are right on the cusp of the MAC tournament threshold with them.

Saturday

After football wraps up, there's still two more UB teams competing for a tripleheader Saturday. Volleyball once again starts at 7:00 PM with a home match against Central Michigan of their own. EMU and CMU are both 3-5 - the same record as UB - and part of a four-team logjam occupying the 6-through-9 spots on the MAC table. (The top 8 advance to the MAC tournament.) Two wins this weekend over beatable teams would go a long way to keeping the Bulls solidly in the middle third of the conference.

After Volleyball wraps up, it's back out to UB Stadium for a 9:00 PM start to the Men's Soccer match against Northern Illinois. The men are 2-1-2 in October and playing their best soccer of the year. Through two games of the MAC schedule, UB sits in third place, in line for a berth in the MAC tournament. Buffalo's final two games, however, are against conference leaders Akron and West Virginia, so a win tomorrow would go a long, long way towards a seed in the playoffs.

Oh, and it's Senior Day for the men - their actual Senior Day on their last home game at UB. It's a young team, but one that is losing three players to graduation, so if you're able to make it it would be nice to have a good crowd for them.

Additionally, Women's Swimming is in action as the lone UB team on the road, heading to Akron for a 5:00 meet in the pool. All of a sudden Swimming and Diving is three weeks into their season. It will be good to see how the ladies match up against a fellow MAC squad.

Sunday

This big one. It's just a single game, but a win here all but guarantees women's soccer home field throughout the MAC tournament, which will take place between 2 November and 9 November. The game in question is against conference-number-two Miami at noon at UB Stadium, and I don't know what more I can say for it. The ladies are undefeated in MAC play and a win here would establish them as the clear #1 in the conference.

Prestige aside, take it from me: this team is damn fun to watch. They've scored first in all but three games this season - and in two of those they held the opponent scoreless for draws - and generally spend the majority of the second half putting their opponents in a sleeper hold until it's just much too late. It's an extremely satisfying way to win games.

Plus, though Thursday is actually the team's last game, the team will be honoring its eight seniors prior to the Miami game because Thursday's match against Akron is a 3:00 PM start. Many of these seniors were key parts of the super-successful 2011 team and are now the core of this super-successful 2014 team. If you're not burned out from the first five games of the weekend, come on out.

Go Bulls!