After an 0-2 start, UB Women's Soccer has two results in a row heading into a Labor Day weekend that features a pair of home games. With a repeat of last weekend against St. Bonaventure and Binghamton, UB can even their record on the new season.
Somewhat surprisingly, Buffalo is still looking for their first shutout of the season, after piling up enough in the last two years to vault goalie Laura Dougall to #2 on the program's all-time list in that stat.
That first clean sheet may not come against the Brown Bears tonight. Early-season contests against Ivy League opponents in any sport are tough to get a read on, as the Ancient Eight generally restricts teams to a later start date than the NCAA at large, and the one data point we have for Brown is a 3-0 walloping of Rhode Island this past Sunday.
The Bears look more beatable when we consider that Rhodey was 3-15-1 last year and is almost entirely freshmen and sophomores, but after a frustrated 1-1 draw with Binghamton that saw Buffalo unable to hit the net often enough despite nearly 30 shots it's tough to say anything with confidence.
Brown is a program in transition, coming off a 7-7-2 record in 2015, but in their first season after the retirement of Phil Pincince, who ran the program for 39 years. Captain Carly Gould was the offensive driver against Rhode Island, with the game winner and a pair of assists in the second half, while fellow captain Celia Story had a pair of shots and a goal as well.
Goalkeeper Christine Etzel needed to make only two saves against Rhode Island, but put together a .833 save percentage in 2015. After UB was undone by Binghamton's Katie Hatziyianis Sunday, they face another impressive shot-stopper, though the defensive back line with two sophomores and juniors is the least-experienced of any the Bulls have seen so far.
The Bottom Line
UB has been very strong at home in the Burke era, and despite the impressive 3-0 scoreline, Brown looks like a team the Bulls can beat. They'll need a more precise performance than last Sunday, but they should have opportunities to play their game and dictate the pace to Brown.
We'll be looking again between the pipes to see if Cassie Betancourt gets her third straight start, and again to UB's buildup play and chemistry between midfield and forwards, a puzzle that's still sorting itself out but for individual brilliance from Carissima Cutrona.