Well, this one isn't a lot of fun to put together. After a great weekend that saw Women's Soccer earn yet another shutout - against Niagara, no less - to extend their season-opening unbeaten streak to five games, and Men's Soccer win a stunner in double overtime on a goal from midfield that drew national attention, the two teams were barely able to get a goal, let alone a result, in three road matches this weekend.
This is your weekly Soccer Roundup.
It was another one-game weekend for the women's soccer team (MR 129), who traveled to Blacksburg, VA on Friday afternoon. While the football team was taking on a top-ten opponent in Baylor, the ladies were on the road for a top-five foe in its own right. Virginia Tech, at 6-0-0 was number three in the country, and would prove a formidable test for a UB team that was missing its top keeper to an injury suffered a week prior at Niagara.
Truthfully, it wouldn't have mattered if Dougall was healthy. Ashley Evans got the start for UB after stepping in for the last twelve minutes of the match against Niagara, but Virginia Tech (MR 4) was just much too good for the Bulls. After scoring the opening goal in the 23rd minute, the Hokies gave up a scoring chance to Katie Roberts, but Caroline Kelly made the save.
Virginia Tech would score again minutes before the half, and then use two goals in four minutes early in the second and a late score to take the game 5-0. Evans made five saves on ten shots on target, while UB managed only two shots, with Roberts' attempt the only one on goal.
Since UB didn't score, there's not much in the way of new individual stats to highlight. However, holding off the Hokies for 23 minutes, combined with the UB defensive showing in the first five games of the season, meant that the Bulls topped the previous program-record shutout streak by twelve minutes. It's not all bad.
This Week in Bull
UB will play their final nonconference match of the season this Friday in yet another single-match weekend. The Bulls will travel once again for a 4:00 PM contest, but this time will only go as far as Ithaca and the Cornell Big Red (MR 162). It looks like there will be a link for live stats but I'm unsure about video right now.
It was a more eventful weekend for the men's team (MR 187), who had two matches, both on the road, both against local Big Four rivals. On Friday the gents traveled to Niagara looking to repeat the women's performance from earlier in the week, and on Sunday they headed downtown to take on the Golden Griffins at the Demske Complex.
Prior to any competition, however, Russell Cicerone was honored as Male Athlete of the Week for his two-goal performance against Bryant last weekend:
Additionally, prior to any action this weekend, UB and their local rivals introduced the Big Four Shield, a traveling trophy that will commemorate matches between UB, Canisius, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure. The shield is not awarded at the end of the season to the team with the best record against the other three, but rather changes hand only when the current holder loses.
The shield was up for grabs for the first time on Friday night, when UB traveled to Niagara (MR 147) in the first Big Four match up of the season. Regardless of who holds it early on, the nature of each team's schedule this fall means that each squad will have a chance at the shield this season.
In this first matchup, UB unfortunately ceded the match and the trophy to Niagara, losing 2-1 to the Purple Eagles. The match didn't get a lot of attention, since it came while most UB fans were tailgating or had at least turned their attention to the football game against Baylor, but a strong finish couldn't erase a 2-0 deficit.
Niagara used a goal in the first fifteen minutes and a second before the 30-minute mark to stake out a two-goal lead. In the 70th minute Russell Cicerone would earn and score on a penalty kick to draw UB within one. Despite increased pressure on the Purple Eagles, though, UB was unable to find another goal and close the gap. Freshman Cameron Hogg made three saves on five shots for the Bulls in net.
On Sunday, UB was undone by a physical - perhaps the most physical opponent of the year - Canisius team (MR 118) that pestered the Bulls throughout the first half, disrupting their rhythm. Just as the Bulls started to settle down, indefatigable sub Asani Samuel managed a goal for the home side, and any momentum UB had built in holding off the Canisius pressure was gone.
In the second half, UB was better able to counter the Canisius pace, but still found little luck with their offensive strategy of bypassing the midfield, with long, arcing airballs over the top that hoped to find a UB foot after hanging in the air long enough for the Canisius defense to get into position. Much like Friday, UB pressed and found more and more success against Canisius in the final 20 minutes of the game, but had waited too long to get the offensive flow going. Could they have played with the same vigor for even a full half, they would have undoubtedly rolled the Golden Griffins.
Cicerone's goal against Niagara raised his season count to three and widened his margin on the team lead. In net, Cameron Hogg saw action for the second time this season, while Waleed Cassis made several wonderful saves in net to keep Canisius within one goal.
This Week in Bull
It's a home and a road match for the men this weekend, who return to UB Stadium on Friday to face off with Detroit (MR 114) before traveling on Sunday for an afternoon contest in Pittsburgh with Duquesne (MR 72).