Celina Carrero scored in her final game at UB Stadium, the Bulls completely tilted the field, and Buffalo secured a place in the postseason for the third straight year — the program’s longest stretch since 1998-2003, with a 1-0 win over Akron Thursday afternoon.
The one-goal margin comes despite one of UB’s finest offensive performances of the season. But for stellar goalkeeping from Akron’s Annabelle Hegeman kept the Zips in the match time and time again, when on a different day the Bulls may have won this one 6-0.
Laura Dougall made two saves, both relatively big, in the shutout effort, but was rarely tried in any way as a grand majority of the game’s attention fell to Hegeman’s net. UB routinely built up possession from the wins and found well-timed runs in the center of the attack. If anything, the Bulls didn’t shoot enough, passing up good chances for attempts at better looks that never materialized.
Carrero’s goal, her second of the season, came on a header off an AJ VanCuyck cross as the freshman fullback time and time again sent enticing balls into the box in the first half. UB didn’t let up, with Carissima Cutrona generating a pair of Grade A chances within five minutes of the goal, and Julia Benati and Carrero going 1-2 in the 35th minute for a pair of shots — Julia a perfectly-placed arc that Hegeman barely pushed onto the crossbar and Celina a blast from six yards out that found Hegeman’s shin more than the goalie actually made a save — that on almost any other day would find the net.
UB did not allow an Akron shot in the second half as a slow start out of the break turned into a blitzkrieg featuring 13 shots and six corner kicks for the Bulls.
We’ll now pay attention to Central Michigan-Eastern Michigan this afternoon. Should the Eagles lose, UB jumps them for sixth in the MAC. Otherwise they’re seventh. On the other end, the Bulls’ quarterfinal destination is more up in the air. A CMU win puts the Bulls sixth, locks the Chippewas into third, and sets up a rematch of last Sunday’s draw. A loss means UB won’t jump EMU and will likely head to Kent State Sunday.