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Buffalo Bulls Soccer Roundup

it was another weekend of mixed results for UB soccer in the first weekend after Labor Day. The Men got their first win against Bryant on the strength of two quick-strike come from behind goals and an all-time wondergoal to open the second overtime, but couldn't capitalize on their few chances against Bucknell and dropped a disjointed match to the Bison 2-0.

The Women played just one match on the weekend - Sunday night against Niagara - and left Lewiston with a 2-0 victory of their own, but saw freshman keeper Laura Dougall go down with a scary injury and Jackie Hall play on a sprained ankle near the end of the game.

I was able to cover all three games this weekend, so the roundup will be relatively slight here and just point you to the earlier write ups along with just a few other highlights. This is your Soccer Roundup.

Women's Soccer

Prior to this week's action, Laura Dougall was named UB Athlete of the Week for her career-opening shutout streak, a program record for a goalie at the start of her UB career.

Dougall And Willoughby Named Athletes of the Week - Bull Run

On the pitch, it was a simple weekend for the Women (MR 138) with just one game against Big 4 rival Niagara (MR 227). The Bulls struggled in the first half but maintained possession throughout and had long stretches of pressure on the Purple Eagle backline on their way to a 2-0 win. Truthfully, UB could have easily had several more goals, just missing on several finishes and losing more than a few attacks to questionable offsides calls.

Click through for our and UB's writeups of the win over Niagara:

Buffalo Men Lose, Women Win in a Pair of 2-0 Sunday Soccer Matches - Bull Run
Somebody, someday, will score on UB's women's soccer team. But it hasn't happened yet, including tonight's 2-0 victory against Niagara.

Women’s Soccer Runs Unbeaten Streak To Five; Defeats Niagara, 2-0 - Buffalo

UB was able to neutralize yet another opposing attack this weekend thanks in particular to the efforts of Jackie Hall and Sophie Therien on defense. Hall even stepped forward and scored the game-winning goal in the second half after having an apparent go-ahead score waved off late in the first.

On Monday Hall was named MAC Defensive Player of the Week:

Jackie Hall Named MAC Defensive Player Of The Week - Buffalo

A bit of miscellany after three weekends of competition for the women:

  • The shutout streak is now at 470 minutes over five games and is the second-longest in program history.
  • UB is now one of just three teams nationally to not surrender a goal. The others? #1 UCLA and #3 Stanford
  • The win over Niagara completed UB's slate against Big 4 rivals. UB went 3-0-0 against the trio for the first time since 2000
  • UB is starting to make a living out of turning up the pace in the second half. On the season they have doubled their opponents shots, corner kicks, and fouls against in the second stanza
  • This is not too much of a surprise for a team that hasn't yet surrendered a goal, but UB has claimed two of the first three MAC Defensive Player of the Week awards
Stats

Two more goals against Niagara and just maybe the offense is starting to heat up. Celina Carrero scored an insurance goal late in the match and now leads the Bulls on the young season with two scores. Five players are tied with a single assist each, and Katie Roberts and Julia Benati unsurprisingly lead the team in shots.

In net, same old, same old thanks to another shutout. Laura Dougall got the win on Sunday, but Ashley Evans stepped in and made one save in her fifteen minutes.

This Week in Bull

Football isn't the only team facing off against a top-ten opponent on Friday. Doubly troublesome for UB is that have to travel away from UB stadium for their matchup, as they take on #4 Virginia Tech (MR 4) in Blacksburg Friday at 4:00 PM.

It's another one-match weekend for the Bulls, which is probably not a bad thing given the tough VT matchup. If the shutout streak is still intact by kickoff on Friday, we're going to have something very special on our hands.

Weekly Press Conference

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Men's Soccer

Returning home after a two-loss weekend in San Diego, the Men (MR 184) continued their up-and-down ways in two home matches at UB Stadium. On Friday night, they twice matched Bryant's (MR 171)  go-ahead goal within a minute before winning on a golden goal at the start of double overtime, while on Sunday afternoon they struggled to develop much of a rhythm despite a strong defensive effort on their wait to a 2-0 loss to Bucknell (MR 82).

The story of the night from the victory against Bryant was Russell Cicerone's game-winning-goal in the second overtime from the opening touch at midfield. From 58 yards out, Cicerone's blast ricocheted off the crossbar, the goalie's back, and into the net.

I, however, was much more impressed by the resiliency in UB's first two goals. After Bryant scored in the 12th minutes, Cicerone drew Buffalo even within a minute with a very pretty and well-placed goal into the top right corner. I don't think that Bryant ever actually touched the ball with the lead. Similarly, when Bryant appeared to ice the game with a goal in the 88th minute to take a 2-1 lead, UB was able to turn up the dial and really threaten the opposing net before David Enstrom was able to get it in.

Bulls Come from behind Twice to Top Bryant 3-2 in 2OT - Bull Run
You're going to want to read this. Even if you just scroll down to the video at the end.

Russell Cicerone’s Heroics Lift Bulls To 3-2 Double OT Victory Over Bryant - Buffalo

On Sunday, UB got a few chances but were generally stifled offensively by their change in tactics in an apparent attempt to slow Bucknell's own offense. For much of the game UB was relatively sloppy and frantic, but was able to hold Bucknell at bay. Even after the Bison managed to take a one goal lead midway through the second half, Buffalo mounted some dangerous attacks that just didn't connect with the back of the net. Unfortunately, the Bulls opened more space as they got more desperate, and Bucknell used a classes counterattack goal to put the game away in the 78th minute.

Buffalo Men Lose, Women Win in a Pair of 2-0 Sunday Soccer Matches - Bull Run
But Bucknell would get a goal in the 60th minute, and despite a flurry of UB pressure over the next five minutes or so, the game was effectively over. As frustrating as the UB formation had been earlier in the game, it became apparent that it was a tactical decision to minimize Bucknell's speed on the counter, because the Bison looked more and more dangerous in the final periods of the game

Men's Soccer Downed By Bucknell On Sunday, 2-0 - Buffalo

Stats

Despite being shutout twice in four games, UB does have four goals on the season. With the brace against Bryant Cicerone now leads the team with those two goals, and tops the team chart with eight shots, though just about everyone has several shots to his name. Nicolai Berry is the only Bull with two assists.

Waleed Cassis got both starts on the weekend. He now has a GAA of 1.61 on the young season

This Week in Bull

It's a pair of road matches for UB this weekend, though they won't have to travel far for either. On Friday evening, the Men will take their turn up in Lewiston and face off with the Niagara Purple Eagles (MR 183), before traveling to Canisius (MR 136) on Sunday evening.

Around the MAC

On the Men's side, associate member West Virginia continues to impress, only losing their first match this past weekend after topping ACC member Virginia Tech, while Bowling Green is also 3-1 after two weekends. Akron surprisingly does not yet have a win, though they're likely playing a tougher schedule than the rest of the conference so far.

MAC Women's soccer has more teams and more to talk about, but little of it is really meaningful until everyone actually starts playing each other. Buffalo is the last unbeaten in the conference, though Kent State and Western Michigan have both matched UB's four wins.

Go Bulls!