Danny White has made it clear that every team at UB should be competing for MAC championships, and we're seeing clear improvement across the athletic department in the few years prior to his arrival.
To a large chunk of UB's fanbase, perhaps the more casual side, wins over Canisius, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure are equally important. Regardless of how much you care about the MAC, everyone cares about the local rivals.
Over the first three months of 2014-15, UB has gotten the better of the rest of the Big Four in a big way, losing only in men's soccer and rowing. Check it out:
Women's Soccer: 3-0 with a trio of shutout wins. Julia Benati scored the first goal of the season, the game winner, against St. Bonaventure, and UB never looked back. Canisius, Niagara, and the Bonnie were just early speed bumps, helping UB to a school-record shutout streak to open the year.
Men's Soccer: 1-2. The men suffered a pair of one-goal losses on the same weekend to Niagara and Canisius, and that was awful. Later in the season, during their strong month of October, the fellas took down Bonaventure in a 4-0 laugher, to give every UB team who got the opportunity in the fall season a win over a Big Four rival.
Volleyball: 2-0. Depending on your perspective, volleyball's eighth-place finish the MAC and second consecutive season was a welcome program high, or a year that fell short of its promise due in part to injuries and an at time ineffective line up. Reed Sunahara's club did, however, beat the tar out of local opponents when it got the chance, topping Canisius in the opening weekend and Niagara right before the MAC season by a pair of three-set sweeps.
Tahleia Bishop had 26 kills against the Big Four foes, hitting above .350 in each match. Akeila Lain had ten blocks over the two matches.
Men's Tennis: 1-0 or 9-1 depending on how you look at it. UB will hit the bulk of their year in the spring, but did see Niagara in their fall slate, sweeping the Purple Eagles in seven singles matches and winning two of three doubles matches for an easy victory.
The Bulls will get another chance for a Big Four win over Niagara on February 13th.
Women's Tennis: 4-0 or 1-0 depending. The women likewise got a taste of - and a number of wins from - the Purple Eagles in the fall, when Niagara showed up to the UB Invitational.
UB got two shots at Niagara on the first day, and Laura Fernandez and Christine Haraldson took care of business. On the second day, Margarita Kotok won her singles match against NU's Paulina Velasquez, and the Lauras Fernandez and Holterbosch took a doubles match, as well. No Purple Eagles and several Bulls were in action on the final day.
Women's Tennis will take on Niagara again on March 1st, but also catch the Bonnies on January 25th.
Rowing: 1-1 or 2-2 depending. They're the lone other team from the first three months to suffer losses to the Big Four, but it's not all bad. Canisius's Varsity 4 boat topped their UB counterparts both times they raced, but UB's Varsity 8 boat was far and away stronger than the Golden Griffins offering, so at worst, it's an even .500 for the rowers.
Men's Cross Country: 3-0. UB had a banner season, including wins over all three local rivals in two meets. At their own UB Stampede Invitational, the Bulls were a full 90 seconds faster than the Purple Eagles and two minutes faster than the Bonnies. UB also got a chance at the Griffs at the Lehigh Paul Short Invite, and while it was a closer matchup, they were faster than Canisius, finishing 7th to the Golden Griffins' 9th.
Women's Cross Country: Just 2-0, as they didn't get a shot at a full Canisius team, but did match the men's effort at the UB Stampede, easily sweeping past Bonaventure and Niagara - in that order - thanks in large part to a much tighter pack.
Men's Basketball is of course 1-0 so far after their 72-57 win over Canisius in the First Niagara Center. They'll take on the Bonnis in less than 48 hours in Olean, and Niagara on the 19th.
Women's Basketball is likewise 1-0 thanks to a 73-64 win over Niagara last weekend. They take on Bonaventure on the 15th and Canisius on the 29th.
The only other teams that have gotten a chance this year are Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving, who both hosted swimmers from Niagara and Bonaventure in the season-opening WNY Invite.
No scores were kept on the day, but I feel confident in anointed the women winners over each of their opponents; UB won 12 of 15 events, and claimed second and third in 10 and 6 more, respectively. For the men, it's a little dicier with no official scores: Bonnies won more races, 7 to 5, but UB had 10 second-place fand 9 third-place finishers; by far the most of any team. Each team handily beat Niagara, at least.
Each swimming and diving squad will face off against all three Big Four rivals in the second half of the season: Canisius on December 18th, Niagara on January 10th, and St. Bonaventure on January 30th.
Wrestling does not get a chance to win against any of the three schools.
Men's and Women's Track and Field could see Canisius and Niagara's women's team in as many as five invitationals and regional meets that may draw the two MAAC schools.
Softball's schedule is not yet set, or at least not yet announced. Only St. Bonaventure has released their slate, ad Buffalo is not on it right now.
UPDATE - 2 DEC 3:30 PM: Softball's schedule has now been released, and includes two games again Canisius.
Baseball will have nearly as many shots against the three schools as the entire department did in the fall season. They face Canisius and Bonaventure four times a piece, and Niagara thrice.
Niagara does not have Football, Wrestling, Rowing, or Men's Track and Field teams; Canisius is without any tennis squads, football, or a wrestling team, and St. Bonaventure has no football, no track and field, no volleyball, and no rowing.