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Senior Salutes: Women's Soccer honors five this afternoon

Cheryl Ziegler

It is a crime of the schedule that I'm writing a Senior Salute post this early in the season, but here we are. Women's Soccer's senior class isn't quite as large as last year, and yet features five memorable names whose contributions range from every-game starters to inspirational comeback stories.

This group combines (so far) for 57 appearances and 42 starts in this season alone, two resurrected playing careers, a current hot streak as the Bulls push for a home game in the MAC Quarterfinals, and the defensive combination that earned and converted Buffalo's championship-winning goal in 2014.

N'DEA JOHNSON - F - Baldwin, NY


Senior Stats: N'DEA has appeared in 11 games, scoring just one goal in the 3-1 win over Binghamton. Preseason I wrote of her chances, hoping for ten or so minutes at a time in a substitute role. That's about what we've seen, though she saw upwards of 35 minutes in Friday's win over Northern Illinois. Given how far N'DEA has had to work to get back on the pitch, it's been wonderful to see her play meaningful minutes this year.

Before UB: Johnson was a three-sport athlete in high school who earned All-Conference and All-County honors on Long Island while also helping her club team to a semifinal appearance in the NY State Cup tournament.

UB Career: Between injury and chronic illness N'DEA had only appeared in one season prior to 2015, playing in 17 games and starting three as a redshirt freshman. She had one assist that season.

Senior moment: I was lucky enough to be in attendance at Drexel for her first appearance in two years, but that's not it. Just watch this Binghamton recap:

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Kristin Markiewicz - D/M - Erie, PA

WSOC Markiewicz Large UBCRED

Senior Stats: Markiewicz has been an every-game starter for UB, adding 15 so far to bring her career total to 70 and counting. She's played a versatile role this season, initially stepping up into a wider-ranging midfield role before recent lineup changes moved her valuable experience back into the defensive back line.

Before UB: Starring for Harbor Creek in Erie, PA, Kristin earned a number of All-District and All-State honors in her two years of captainship while also enjoying a trip to Club Nationals.

UB Career: Prior to Laura Dougall and Julia Benati last year, Markiewicz in 2012 had been the last Bull named to the MAC All-Freshman team. Though she's always played on the backline, Kristin earned three goals and three assists over her first three seasons, but played no bigger role than in drawing the foul and yellow card that eventually turned into UB's MAC Championship-winning goal in 2014.

Senior Moment: I have trouble with this one. Markiewicz has been so steady and reliable for so long that it's hard to pinpoint a particular standout moment. She's rarely subbed off the field - not more than 75 minutes total on the season - and earned a yellow against St. Joseph's. I could maybe say her role in the position switches that seem to have jump started the Bulls, but maybe the best is yet to come.

Jackie Hall - D - Brunswick, OH

WSOC Hall celebration UBCREDIT

Senior Stats: Hall started this season just as she ended it, with a set-piece goal in the season opener. That's her only tally on the scoresheet this season, but that's ok, since a good centerback has other, quieter duties. She's appeared in every game, started each but for the 2-0 loss against St. Bonaventure.

Before UB: Jackie is one of a number of standout Bulls who come to Buffalo from Northeast Ohio. She was a four-time All Conference selection and potted 14 goals her senior season for Brunswick.

UB Career: We've told you before, so maybe it's easy to believe by now, but it's hard to believe Hall's first season on the defensive back line was her redshirt junior year. In two years sandwiching a medical redshirt season, Jackie had established herself as a forceful defensive midfielder, scoring a goal and assisting on three.

In 2014, of course, the position shift led to a mighty fine season in which Jackie earned MAC Defensive Player of the Year and Third-Team All America honors, among others, all while adding four goals, all on set pieces, in offense.  

Senior Moment: Hall did open the season's scoring against St. Joseph's, but like Sophie Therien before her, you can't help but blur the memory away from the specific and more towards a general image of the senior sliding a ball out of danger, being in perfect position to fight off an opposing forward for a header, or when all else fails simply outmuscling whoever she needs to to win the ball.

Kassidy Kidd - M - Niagara Falls, ON


Senior Stats: Kidd has seen action in all 15 games this season, starting 13. Terribly unlucky to start the season, another position switch and a recent surge sees the now-forward leading her team with five goals and four assists. 

Before UB: Kassidy spent multiple seasons on Team Ontario in her club career, winning a U14 National Championship while also leading several different teams deep into provincial tournaments later in her career. She also competed for A.N. Myer Secondary School in Niagara Falls.

UB Career: The slow ascent on the stat sheet in 2015 is fitting, as Kidd spent much of her career in the midfield, slowly becoming a greater offensive threat before scoring a pair of goals and adding four assists in 2014, including a critical equalizer in the regular season finale against Akron:

WSOC Kidd goal 2014 Akron better gif

Senior Moment: I so badly want to point out the assist on Dana Lytle's game-winner against Syracuse, when Kassidy seemed to hit the frame twice a game, but the fact is we're in the middle of it right now. Kidd's team-leading five goals have all come in the last three games since her move to forward, and I don't feel greedy to be looking for more.

McKenzie White - G - Flower Mound, TX


Senior Stats: White earned 18 minutes of time and made a single save in Buffalo's recent win over Northern Illinois. 

Before UB:
McKenzie wasn't the first, and isn't the last UB Soccer player to come from Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota, but she was named MVP of her U18 team there before beginning her collegiate career.

UB Career: White joins Johnson as one of the hardest-fighting, most inspirational student athletes UB has to offer. Before and after her three appearances as a freshman, McKenzie has dealt with painful chronic injuries and undergone multiple aggressive surgeries, to the point where doctors have sometimes doubted her ability to walk. Search her name on our site for more on her story. You won't be disappointed.

Senior Moment: Duh.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">MCKENZIE WHITE</p>&mdash; Bull Run (@UBBullRun) <a href="">October 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Rachel Villalta makes her third appearance of season/career, but the story now is McKenzie White, in for the first time in 209 weeks.</p>&mdash; Bull Run (@UBBullRun) <a href="">October 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I need the it&#39;s happening gif but I don&#39;t know if I need it for offense coming together or for McKenzie White.</p>&mdash; Bull Run (@UBBullRun) <a href="">October 11, 2015</a></blockquote>

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