Another week, another Soccer Roundup. If you're a bit behind and want to catch up, you can find last week's roundup here. Since then, the women have looked even better, getting a full six points in the standings thanks to home wins over Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan, while the men got back on the right track before the start of MAC play with a 2-0 victory over Houghton College.
I am generally prone to hyperbole when things are going well. It's part of my sports fan DNA. That said, there's no need for hyperbole right now when talking about UB's Women's Soccer team. The ladies took on two MAC opponents at home in rainy weather this weekend and defeated both, extending their winning streak to four game and moving past everyone else in the conference for first place.
Truthfully, the singular negative of the weekend for the Bulls was a deflected shot late in the first half of UB's Friday evening match against Bowling Green that snuck past a slipping Laura Dougall to tie the match. Fortunately for the Bulls, they had already staked out a 1-0 lead on an early goal from Kassidy Kidd as part of an early onslaught that put seven shots on the Falcon net in the first 18 minutes, including two one-on-one chances for Katie Roberts, that established the Buffalo dominance in the matchup.
Roberts would get hers, however, to extend her personal scoring streak to four games. From my writeup of the game at the time:
Fortunately, the second half was bar none UB's finest soccer of the year. Just about every three minutes UB was buzzing the Falcon net, while Bowling Green was lucky to possess the ball on UB's side, let alone get a shot off. I can't be certain, but I think Dougall only touched the ball twice in the entire half.
In the spree of UB offense, Roberts extended her streak with two goals in the 53rd and 71st minutes. The first came once again from Julia Benati when a Bowling Green defender missed the freshman's pass and Roberts was able to take it in alone, finally potting her third chance of the night. The second came on a very pretty cross from Dana Lytle that mirrored UB's first goal. Roberts was able to corral Lytle's pass, turn, and poke her shot home, all but icing things for Buffalo, who then owned a two-goal lead with under twenty minutes to play.
Women's Soccer Dominates Second Half to top Bowling Green 3-1 - Bull Run
Katie Roberts scores for the fourth straight game, and UB is 3-0 in the MAC for the first time since 1999.
On Sunday, UB remained at home to take on Eastern Michigan, a perennial contender at the top of the MAC, who came into this weekend as the top team, by RPI and Massey Ratings, in the conference. Somehow, both the rain was heavier and the Bulls even better than on Friday, as UB rolled to a 2-0 win in which the Eagles barely possessed the ball, let alone threatened the UB net.
The similarities to Friday were striking: Buffalo got an early goal from Julia Benati on their way to a first half that only saw the ball make it Laura Dougall a handful of time. The Eagles weren't as overmatched as the Falcons had been, but they had no answer for UB's defense, which simply shut everything down. I'll once again defer to my earlier game writeup:
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.
UB Women's Soccer Stifles Eastern Michigan in the Rain for 2-0 Victory - Bull Run
UB Women's Soccer is only getting better week over week, moving to 4-0-0 in MAC play today with a very strong 2-0 victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
Last week one of the roundup links included the news that Women's Soccer had earned its highest RPI rating in program history. It's not a surprise that after a two-win weekend, Buffalo has moved even higher in the rankings, and after the two MAC teams ahead of them both lost at least once this weekend UB now enjoys the highest ranking in the conference
Furthermore, for her efforts two weekends ago, Katie Roberts was named MAC Offensive Player of the Week and UB Athlete of the Week. With three more goals this past weekend, the senior from Homerville, Ohio was a repeat winner for both awards:
Taylor And Roberts Named Athletes of the Week - Bull Run
Deja vu all over again, as Katie Roberts and Anthone Taylor are named UB Athletes of the Week for the second conseutive week. Roberts led the Women's Soccer team to two more wins in MAC competition...
The Mid-American Conference - MAC Announces Women's Soccer Players of the Week
Roberts propelled the Bulls to their first 4-0 start in MAC play since the 1999 season. She now leads the MAC in goals with seven and points with 16 while also leading the team in shots (39) and game-winning goals (four).
Katie Roberts' scoring streak has now reached five games, and her six goals in that stretch have moved her into a tie with Miami's Kelsey Dinges for the conference lead. She leads the Bulls in every offensive category.
Julia Benati and Celina Carrero have played strong all year, but have really picked it up in since the beginning of MAC play. Both have three goals and three assists on the year.
Laura Dougall's shutout against EMU was her seventh of the year, which is the third-best single season mark in school history and leads the MAC, though WMU's Stephanie Heber has not allowed a goal in her five starts.
Dougall's seven shutouts, combined with one team shutout that she shared with Ashley Evans after leaving the Niagara match, have helped UB to a top-5 ranking in that stat. Dougall is also top-10 in the country in Goals Against Average and Save Percentage.
This Week in Bull
Buffalo (RPI 56, MR 75) makes the long trip to Northern Illinois (RPI 245, MR 205) on Friday for an 8:00 ET match that will feature the leaders of the MAC East and West Divisions facing off.
On Sunday, UB will return home for a noon match against Western Michigan (RPI 170, MR 105). I will be traveling to and from this week's football game in Ypsilanti and may be in the service deadzone of Southern Ontario during both games. With all apologies to UB Athletics, you're not yet worth absurd phone bills, but you could be if you wanted to pay me.
Regardless, I'll rundown the games in next week's Weekend Roundup and subsequent Soccer Roundup.
Just a single, unsurprising result from Men's Soccer this past week, and it's nearly a week old by now. The men took on DIII Houghton last Wednesday and dominated to the extent you'd expect. Houghton got just one shot on goal through the whole match, while UB's Russell Cicerone put four on frame on his own.
A number of other Bulls notched multiple shots on net, and everyone on the roster saw the pitch in the 2-0 Buffalo win. Cicerone scored early in the first half, and Nicolay Netskar added another in the second.
It's a D-III opponent, so there's not too much worth in going nuts over the win, but with the victory the Bulls move to 3-7-0 on the season, matching their win total from 2013 with seven matches to play.
Russell Cicerone now has five goals on the season. He is the only Bull with more than one score, but he currently sits at #3 in the MAC in scoring. Netskar's goal was his first of the year.
This Week in Bull
Men's Soccer (RPI 164, MR 180) will play just once this weekend, hosting Western Michigan (RPI 116, MR 95) on Friday at 7:00 PM. It could be a bit of a grudge match, as Stu Riddle was the coach at WMU for four years prior to coming to Amherst, and brought three recruits - including Russell Cicerone - away from Kalamazoo when he left.
As referenced above, I won't have live coverage of the game, but once I get back in America I hope to have a writeup.