I see now that taking a spur-of-the-moment week off from the blog and its Twitter account is not the best way to do things. So sorry about that. It looks like folks have covered the bigger basketball and football news of the last week, but in this catch-up post, let's revisit everything else. I'll run a post this afternoon/evening looking ahead and trying to get us all back into the rhythm.
The NCAA Tournament! Of all the weeks to take an unannounced sabbatical, one in which UB is in the Big Dance is probably not a good one to pick. A thousand apologies to the Men's Tennis team.
As for the match itself, against #11-ranked Ohio State, well, it wasn't pretty, and that wasn't entirely unexpected. UB fell to the Buckeyes 4-0, and was down in all three of the unfinished singles matches when OSU clinched the team score. Ohio State featured three nationally-ranked players in their six singles slots, and it just didn't go well.
But, much like Women's Soccer and Men's Basketball, dammit, UB got there after never getting there before. And dammit, UB is going to get there again.
Baseball next? Baseball's gone 3-4 while I've been ignoring the sports world, which, isn't bad. Like softball, they seem to be finishing the season on a stronger note, as each of their last two losses have been by just one run.
Just scrolling through the box scores (1-1 vs Niagara, 1-2 vs Akron, 1-1 vs Bonaventure), Brian Dudek, Mitchell Machi, and Mike Abrunzo have all found spurts of production in this last stretch. UB has a three-game road series at Bowling Green that will close out the season, as the Bulls can't eke into the eighth spot for an entrance in the MAC Tournament.
I don't think anyone caught this, but Blair Brown Lipsitz got her first commit over the weekend in Raven Jordan. I felt bad that my immediate pun-thought was "That's so Raven," but that's Jordan's Twitter handle, so I feel less bad.
Jordan played for Briar Woods (Ashburn, VA) this past season alongside New Mexico-bound Lauren Twitty and two other members of the Virginia Class 5A All-State First Team. The Falcons won the Class 5A -- Virginia's second-largest -- state championship in November, and coach Marsha Hermes was named State Coach of the Year. So Jordan knows winning.
Acknowledging that I'm not in much of a position to break this down, here's a highlight video. Woo highlights!
John and I talked about Alexus Malone on the last Bulls Banter video - I guess I missed one of those this weekend, too - but Women's Hoops will also be losing Assistant Coach Blake DuDonis, who will be taking over a high school program in Michigan. DuDonis primarily worked with the forwards this season, his first with UB.
Track and Field
It's MAC Championships week! Expect a preview tomorrow morning (the meet itself will get started later in the day). Before that, a small group of Bulls tuned up last weekend at the Jim Thorpe Invite at Penn State. Kelly Truppo, Brian Crimmins, and Taylor Woods all hit MAC Qualifiers in the Pole Vault, 800m, and Discus, respectively, and a few others competed to stay fresh. This weekend is the one that matters.
In recruit news, incoming Bull Jack Jibb is the nation's leader in the Boys' 3000 meter steeplechase, having run 9:17 in that event last weekend.
I have been waiting MONTHS for Ryan Aspenleiter's commitment to be finalized. After last week's news of Nick Forrester and Pablo Frenandez-Paniagua Juez (PFPJ? Can I just call him PFPJ?), this week's news might have found a little less fanfare, but it's still exciting to see two western New Yorkers commit to the Bulls.
Aspenleiter we've known about for a bit, and he commits to UB after being named Monroe County Player of the Year for Pittsford-Mendon in Section V. As a junior, he led that same squad to the New York State Championship, so that's swell.
Joining Aspenleiter and all the other new faces will be Daniel Warner, who comes to UB after three season's at Minnesota's Shattuck-St. Mary's, but also played a few years at Starpoint before heading to Minnesota. Warner is a bit small at 5'5", 150, but Stu Riddle praises him as "a wonderful technician" and hopefully Daniel can add to Buffalo's young core. Both players could get a chance at real minutes as freshmen in UB's numbers-depleted midfield.
Also, Waleed Cassis signed a pro deal with the NASL Ottawa Fury yesterday. That's fun and cool.
This one is further out there, but Shawn Burke got a commit from class of 2017 Gianna Yurchak of Pennsylvania. There's not a ton out there on the sophomore, but she plays for the apparently-well-regarded Penn Fusion club team in addition to her high school. Two years is a long time, and I'm new enough to the Olympic sports to not know how well commitments stick, but Yurchak joins Clarence's Sydney Cerza (2016) as long-term commits to Burke and UB we can be excited for.
I probably missed something, but hopefully this is good enough for now. Later today I'll have a more forward-looking post for the three (four depending on how you count) teams still in action, and like I said above, Track and Field MAC Championships Preview going up tomorrow.