I don't care what the scoreboard says. This was a damn win. For 97 minutes UB held #7 West Virginia without a goal and in the end the gamewinner didn't even come off a Mountaineer foot, but the shin of Andrea Niper on a blind cross.
The statline is more lopsided than I thought possible: WVU tallied 41 shots, 11 on goal (though that counts the own-goal), and 17 corners. UB had a single shot: a free kick that Jackie Hall sent well high, and no other offense to speak of short of some aggressive runs from Rebecca Bramble and a much longer free kick off a questionable yellow when Kadeisha Buchanan tackled Julia Benati.
I allowed myself brief flights of fantasy leading into this game, because in UB's two top-ten matchups over the last year, they were missing one of their best players; Laura Dougall against Virginia Tech and Jackie Hall for the second half against Penn State. Today, we saw just how clinical Shawn Burke's defense can be. The Bulls were totally committed to their shape and formation, aggressively but cleanly tackled, and hounded every loose ball and every Mountaineer that found space. I would have been thrilled with a 0-0 tie, and I am thrilled all the same.
For comparison, only three other teams have held WVU to a single goal this season: #9 Virginia Tech, #4 Penn State, and Maryland. That's not bad company at all. The Mountaineers scored eight on Villanova and five on Duquesne, for goodness' sake.
There's not a whole lot more to say: Beyond Dougall's career-high 10 saves everyone was impressive, but perhaps none moreso than Bri Shingary, who is turning into an absolutely fearless defender on the flank. Time and time again she was one-on-one with World Cupper Ashley Lawrence and managed to slow the midfielder down until Buffalo could find their defensive grounding.
UB comes home next Friday to open their MAC title defense with a 7:00 match against Ohio. If tonight is any indication, it's going to be real hard for the Bobcats to find a goal.