The UB Women came out strong on Senior Day, outplaying one of the top teams in the MAC for nearly 90 minutes and shutting down the conference’s leading scorer before surrendering a late set-piece equalizer and settling for a 1-1 draw Sunday against Central Michigan.
Buffalo outshot CMU 8-4 over the first 55 minutes before Andrea Niper sent a perfectly-weighted through ball over the Chippewas fullbacks to Carissima Cutrona, who poked it past Kristen Knutson to give UB a 1-0 lead, their first in three games since Cutrona opened the scoring against Western Michigan.
UB would hold the Chippewas to just three shots on target in regulation, but surrendered a late equalizer in the final minute to Eliza Van De KerKhove to squander the win. Still, the home team outshot CMU 5-1 over twenty minutes of overtime and finished Senior Day with a 1-1 draw against one of the top teams in the conference that is much more reminiscent of September successes than October disappointments.
Cutrona’s goal was her tenth of the season. It was only two years ago that Katie Roberts scored 12, but don’t take Carissima for granted: she’s only the second Bull, along with Roberts, to hit double digits since Emily Russell in 2003. Niper’s assist was the first of her career and gives her five points on the season, a new career high.
And this one shouldn’t be seen as too much of a disappointment. With one match left in the regular season, UB is sitting seventh in the conference, not guaranteed a postseason berth quite yet, but in good position — one point ahead of Northern Illinois and two in front of Bowling Green, who sit eighth and ninth. The Huskies hit the road for their finale against a strong, if not stellar, WMU squad, while the Falcons host a weak Toledo group Thursday. UB, however, gets the worst team in the conference, Akron, at UB Stadium, where they’ve only lost once in three seasons. Even a draw Thursday would guarantee a spot in the postseason for UB.
And there’s always a chance the Bulls could move up, as well. Eastern Michigan hosts CMU and an Eagle loss combined with a UB win would put the Bulls at sixth in the conference. That game kicks off at 3:00 PM Thursday, after UB’s match will have finished. We’ll have more later this week on the specifics.