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Julia Benati, Andrea Niper, propel Buffalo Women's Soccer to 2-0 win over Canisius

UB Athletics

After a surprising season-opening loss to St. Joseph's, UB Women's Soccer has resumed their winning ways an in two short games has moved above .500 on the season after today's 2-0 shutout win over crosstown rivals Canisius. UB has now defeated the Golden Griffins by a 2-0 scoreline in each of the teams' last three matchups.

UB scored early and late, finding offense from the reliable edges of the midfield throughout in matching the same 2-0 scoreline over the Golden Griffins from 2014. Julia Benati scored her first goal of the season just four minutes in, and later assisted on a late insurance goal from Andrea Niper in the final ten minutes of the match. By the statsheet, it's the most productive game in Benati's UB career to date.

Meanwhile, Julia's foil on the other side of the formation, Kassidy Kidd, took a career-high seven shots on the day, including one off the post early. Carissima Cutrona also hit a post in the second half, and UB was dangerous throughout, taking 20 shots at Canisius goalie Kailee Defranks, six of which were on net. Freshman Brianna Shingary, who playing at fullback reminds me of Benati last year with her high motor and strong crossing passes, earned her first career assist on Niper's goal.

Canisius took 11 shots in total, but only four were on target, and Laura Dougall once again stopped everything that came her way for his second straight shutout. Now with 15 in her career, she moved past Amy Coron and Anna-Lesa Calvert for sole possession of third place in the UB books. She's now five behind her predecessor Ainsley Wheldon and sitting on a current shutout streak of 196 minutes.

Without having been able to watch the game, once again I see Coach Burke was not afraid to play his freshman, and it looks like he may have no choice in the short term. Meghan Simmons subbed in for Jackie Hall just 18 minutes in and appears to have played the rest of the game. An optimistic reading would suggest that Burke wanted to see what Simmons, who has been working back from an offseason ankle injury, could bring, but there's a possibility Hall was injured. We'll have to pay attention to the starting lineup on Tuesday evening.

Obviously Shingary has been starting and impressing at fullback, but Nicole Gerritz (27 mins) and Rebecca Bramble (24) once again saw substantial time. Rachel Villalta is listed as a substitute in Canisius' box score, but not in the play-by-play data. If she did see the field, it was her first collegiate appearance.

UB fans should be encouraged today by UB's 20 shots - only thrice in 2014 did the Bulls top that number - and the continued strong defense, both after that 3-1 loss to St. Joseph's and while played 70 minutes without Jackie Hall.

The Bulls are in action against another WNY opponent Tuesday night, when the Bulls travel to Olean to take on St. Bonaventure, who has already tied Canisius 1-1 this season and will be coming off a 1-1 tie against Oakland.