After UB's Women's Soccer team dominated Bowling Green on Friday to a 3-1 win, they found themselves at the top of the MAC and 3-0 in conference for the first time since 1999. Katie Roberts scored her 5th and 6th goals of the season, extending her scoring streak to four games, and the defense buckled down through intermittent rain, only giving up two shots on net over ninety minutes.
Other than colder air and a whole lot of rain*, things weren't much different for the Bulls today in their 2-0 victory over perennial MAC contender Eastern Michigan.
*A whole lot of rain. So much:
Coach Burke continued the excellent start to his career with his usual lineup: a 4-1-3-2 in which UB is often able to overload opposition defense because their backline is so strong.
Roberts - Carrero
Benati - Giesen - Kidd
Hart - Therien - Hall - Markiewicz
Much like the early going on Friday, things started out relatively even at UB Stadium, though UB looked much more dangerous on offense and was able to get the ball deeper into the EMU defense than EMU. UB had a number of nice plays on offense in the first ten minutes, while Jackie Hall consistently cleaned up loose balls on defense well before they were a threat to the UB goal.
Buffalo was able to strike early in the driving rain, opening the scoring from the wing - just like Friday - on a nicely placed rocket from Julia Benati from about 25 yards out. The goal was Benati's third of the year and marked the ninth time this season UB has opened the scoring.
My notes for the next 25 minutes of game play just show a game of endless UB pressure. The Bulls were able to get shots off from everywhere on the field, peppering the EMU goal, all while holding the Eagles to just one long, lazy shot on net. I would highlight a strong play here but truthfully everyone looked good and UB was a threat every time they had the ball while rendering EMU's offense completely ineffective.
If possible, the second half was even more lopsided. EMU is a better team and put up more of a challenge than Bowling Green on Friday, but were still hemmed in their own end for long stretches while UB's attack forced EMU's Megan McCabe to make two diving saves in the first five minutes. The Eagles' best chance came ten minutes after the restart when Laura Dougall was unable to corral a crossing pass, which found an EMU foot and was headed to the back of the net before one of Angel Hart or Sophie Therien cleared it from right off the line.
UB scored within moments to put any ideas of a comeback to rest when EMU turned the ball over right in front of their own penalty area and Katie Roberts was able to step away and pop the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead. With the goal, Roberts moved into a tie for the MAC lead with seven on the year and extended her personal scoring streak to five games dating back to the Cornell match.
The Bulls continued to threaten throughout the half while stifling the opposition Eagles. Once again, the last thirty minutes were very similar to Friday's matchup against Bowling Green, as EMU was unable to mount any pressure or threaten to cut into the lead, especially as the rain got harder and the field sloppier.
The Bulls were so dominant that I've barely mentioned their defense, but I can't say enough about the play of defenders Kristin Markiewicz, Jackie Hall, Sophie Therien, and Angel Hart, as well as defensive midfielder Courtney Mann, who shut everything down for ninety minutes, helping Laura Dougall to a relatively easy four-save shutout.
With the win, UB wrapped up a second consecutive two-win weekend and are the only team in the MAC unbeaten and untied in conference play. While EMU did fall on the road to Akron on Friday, they're near the top of the MAC year in and year out, and this dominant win should both turn heads and keep Bulls fans flying high as we get deeper into October.
Buffalo will next play on Friday, traveling to Northern Illinois for a cross-divisional matchup. The Huskies are 3-0-1 in conference after beating Ohio this afternoon, but are in the bottom third of the conference in most defensive numbers and match up evenly with Buffalo in offensive stats. Go Bulls!