Playoff mode: UB’s women’s soccer looks to generate momentum
The UB women’s soccer team looks to close out the rest of the season with three wins so they’re ready for the playoffs.
“[These games] are huge for us cause, we’re kind of in playoff mode,” said head coach Shawn Burke.
The women’s soccer team (6-7-3, 3-4-1 Mid-American Conference) has been a pretty successful program in these past few years with a new coach at the helm. Two years ago, they won a MAC championship. Last year they made the MAC tournament again, but got eliminated in the semifinals. This year, they look to do the same thing.
“You know I think our girls believe they can beat anybody. I know our girls aren’t scared to play anybody. Hopefully, it’s the other way around,” Burke said.
The team has three home games left against Eastern Michigan (5-8-3), Central Michigan (13-1-2) and Akron (3-9-4).
Despite Buffalo’s record, the team has fought through every single game with the team leaving everything out on the field.
“Obviously, you know, a decent amount hasn’t gone in our favor, but that is a huge testament to this crew that they’ve been in every game and they go right to the final whistle,” Burke said.
The past two games resulted in a loss and a tie, respectively. Burke says the team needs to improve on finishing.
Although the rest of the season is at home, the playoffs will be on the road.
“It has to be tough to host the game. We have to pretty much go with the mentality that we’re going to be on the road for the entire playoffs,” Burke said.
To prepare for the games, the team will look to capitalize on its chances of scoring.
“We’re gonna keep addressing corner kicks, set pieces. We’ve had the most in maybe program history,” Burke said. “But we’re just not being successful off of it so we have to find ways to be more dangerous.”
They will also be looking to a few key players to help give the team that extra boost. Senior midfielder Andrea Niper, sophomore defender Nicole Gerritz and junior midfielder Julia Benati will be making a return.
“Well I think that Andrea Niper is playing at an unbelievably high level right now, so I think that we’re going to lean heavily on our seniors and look for some of those Benati’s and Gerritz to kind of give us that attacking threat on the flanks,” Burke said.
Although there is some quality competition for these games, the women’s soccer team won’t falter until the end of the 90 minutes.
The next three matches also include opponents in the MAC. Conference games are more difficult, according to sophomore forward Carissima Cutrona.
“All the games in the MAC are going to be difficult and all the teams are close so there is a thin margin of error,” Cutrona said.
The soccer team will host Eastern Michigan on Oct. 20, Central Michigan on Oct. 23 and Akron on Oct. 27.
Brian Lara is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org