The soccer teams have bigger rosters than volleyball, and as a result the individual player previews left more names out and this weekend's wrap ups will be more substantial than this morning's volleyball post. After today, which concludes the player-by-player previews, the full Women's Soccer team previews (two posts) will run on Thursday.
Anyway, on to the players we haven't covered yet:
The Goalies: Cassandra Betancourt and McKenzie White
Other than the end of one game and the next last season, UB didn't need a backup goalie, which is good, because they didn't have any in game shape. In Cassie Betancourt and McKenzie White hopefully there's multiple options should a similar situation arise in 2015.
But Betancourt and White together have just three appearances for the Bulls constituting only 64 minutes of action, and those numbers are entirely from White's freshman season in 2011, before a complicated and aggressive surgery designed to fix complicated and worsening leg problems sidelined her for years. It's a story that I barely dare begin to tell, so I'll just link it. But know this about White: It's a near-miracle she can walk, she may be the most resilient athlete we ever have a chance to support, and if walking impresses you after reading that story, keep your jaw off the floor when I saw she's ready to play competitive soccer again after seeing some action this spring.
Betancourt has bounced from team to team since being named First Team All-NYS in her senior year of high school, playing in seven games at NYIT in 2013 sandwiched between a redshirt year at Pittsburgh and not seeing any action in 2014 at Buffalo. She built up a long list of accolades in both scholastic and club competition, and while I'm not sure of her injury last year, I know she also saw the field in the spring and is healthy for 2015.
Jess Marlowe and Kori Hughes are two more Bulls who didn't play in 2014. Hughes missed due to injury while Marlowe may have been healthy, may not have been after missing her last year of high school to an ACL injury. Each could provide depth or maybe even compete for one of the open spots in the midfield and defense. Each made multiple appearances on All-NYS teams in high school and have been with the program for at least a year already. After yesterday's post on the incoming freshman class, I'd think it more likely one or both of these two sees the field first.
Dana Lytle, Alex Lambert, and Ashley Evans bring even more experience to the UB bench (though I wouldn't be too surprised to see Lytle or Evans in the starting lineup in two weeks), and all saw the field, collectively making 55 appearances, including two in net, on the season.
Lytle was particularly versatile in 2014, seeing time on both the defensive and midfield flanks. One of the fastest players on the team, Lytle is probably the most notable player who didn't get a post of her own, one who's especially valuable as a sub, when she can use her quickness to attack players who've already been running all game. Depending on how the lineup shakes out, Dana could be a starter this year, but will likely see action in every game either way.
Lambert is similarly speedy, though saw fewer minutes in her 20 appearances as a forward sub, usually spelling Katie Roberts or Celina Carrero for short stretches. She only tallied one point on the season, an assist on UB's second goal in the playoff game against Toledo, but demonstrated strong field awareness both with and without the ball in all her appearances. I've generally been slotting Carissima Cutrona into the other forward role alongside Carrero on the basis of the Colgate transfer's absurd prep resume, but Lambert should at a minimum make regular appearances as a sub once again.
Evans presents a different set of options to the coaching staff, having appeared in 12 games as a midfield sub last year to go with her emergency goalie duty against Niagara and Virginia Tech. She generally saw less and less time as the season went on and UB settled into a groove, but regardless of how the lineup shuffles out to replace Courtney Mann and Megan Giesen in 2015, Evans with 14 appearances and two years under her belt in the program is the most experienced option off the bench.
Junior Isabella Borini comes to the team not from another school, but from UB's Track and Field program. She was a New York State Champion in the pentathlon in high school, but also won a state title with her Schalmont soccer team as part of a 45-game undefeated run that ended late in the state playoffs her senior year, when she was named Second Team All-NYS in Class B. Borini is listed as a midfielder for UB, but it seems from old articles that she played a more defensive role in high school. What she brings to the table in 2015 is anyone's guess.
One final change that won't get nearly as much attention comes on the sideline, where former Assistant Coach Kim Brandao has moved to Wisconsin to take the head job at Green Bay. Replacing her in Buffalo is former professional Molly Rouse, who playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps following a career at Minnesota that saw her start for four years, twice earn All-Big Ten recognition, and captain the Golden Gophers in both her junior and senior seasons. Minnesota advanced to the NCAA Tournament and the Sweet 16 twice during her time with the program.
Since retiring, she's spent time at Shattuck-St. Mary's and Alabama State, and will work primarily with the midfielders in Buffalo.
After this weekend, when we shift to full team previews, Thursday will be Women's Soccer day, though the squad's lone preseason exhibition game will be Tuesday afternoon against Cleveland State, and I might have something to say about that.