The scoreline was slightly worse for UB Women's Soccer than last year's tilt against West Virginia, but otherwise Buffalo showed strong improvement in today's 2-0 loss, not just from 2015's loss to WVU, but from Friday's season opening 1-0 loss to Hofstra, as well.
UB spent good chunks of time with the ball, on the Mountaineers side of the field, and generated a handful of scoring chances throughout, again improving in the second half. The midfield was notably composed and we saw much stronger passing than against Hofstra, while the defense was again responsible against an aggressive attack.
UBs best chance came late in the second half, when a few nice passes from Nicole Gerritz and Kara Daly spring Carrissa Cutrona into space in the box before the WVU keeper made a point blank save. That chance was one of a number of successful looks UB had in the second half on runs from Kara Daly, Rebecca Bramble, and Cutrona.
The second half was much stronger again for the Bulls, thanks in part to first half subs Carley Zoccali and Meghan Simmons, who stayed in after the break. Goalie Cassie Betanourt also played the second half after Laura Dougall may have been hurt crashing into Dana Lytle late in the first, and showed that she can be called upon if needed.
The clear highlight of the game for Buffalo, however, was the midfield, which was composed and strung together passes in much longer combinations than on Friday. UB was able to play their game for notable stretches and didn't seem harried by the WVU defenders.
UB seems on much stronger footing than the opening weekend last year. The defense impressed in both games while the midfield and forwards showed clear improvement over the weekend. The midfield wing opposite Julia Benati is still unsettled to my eyes, as both Rebecca Bramble and Kara Daly looked more comfortable in forward roles.
The grueling opening weekend in the rear view, Buffalo will now settle into the meat of their nonconference schedule, beginning with a Thursday tilt against St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies topped UB 2-0 in 2015, opened their season with a 1-1 draw against Binghamton, and should be a clearer look at what UB is bringing to the pitch this season. If the Bulls bring the same effort and play from this weekend, it should be their first win of the season.