Despite my attempts to craft a story out of each an every game, sometimes following without a video stream leaves you with unanswerable questions. Tonight's 2-0 road loss to St. Bonaventure presents two:
- What does UB's defense look like without Jackie Hall?
- How unlucky is UB in the offensive third, and will that luck shift once a player or two breaks through?
Again, I'm only working from stats, but tonight's game looked like an absolute track meet early, as each team managed nine shots in the first half alone. Abby Maiello, who I highlighted in this week's preview, opened the scoring in the 24th minute, and Buffalo couldn't answer despite five corner kicks in the first half. Both Laura Dougall and St. Bonaventure's Beth Moore made four saves before the break.
UB appeared to open the second half with some momentum, forcing an early save and earning a corner kick, but it was the Bonnies who scored, so quickly after that corner that I assume it was on an odd-woman rush on the counterattack. Maiello once again factored in, earning the assist on Lauren Hill's goal.
Shortly after the goal, Jackie Hall subbed into the game. Hall had sat out the final 72 minutes against Canisius and started tonight on the bench, I assume due to some degree of injury. I have been singing the praises of her replacement, Meghan Simmons, since signing day, but it was the freshman Simmons who was subbed out shortly after Bonaventure's second goal.
Without a video feed, I can't say more than that, but St. Bonaventure did not record a corner kick or shot of any kind after Hall entered the game.
On the offensive side, I can't shake the feeling that this was a hard-luck game for the Bulls. Two days after Kassidy Kidd hit a post among her career-high seven shots and Carissima Cutrona also hit the framework, UB once again saw two shots go off the frame, while Kidd (4 shots) and Cutrona (5) led the Bulls, though both are still without a goal or assist on the season. As a team, UB's 17 shots and seven on goal were above the program average in the Burke era, and Buffalo earned nine corner kicks while seemingly controlling play in the second half.
Someday, Kidd and Cutrona, who now lead the team in shots by a wide margins, are going to break through, and it seems that whatever's caused Jackie Hall to miss two hours of game play didn't hamper her effectiveness once she entered tonight. While I can certainly be accused of too much optimism at times, and again, couldn't watch this game, it certainly seems this game was more out of character than a sign of weaknesses going forward.
UB will finally see UB Stadium in their next match, when they host Syracuse Sunday at noon.