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Meet the 2018-19 Bulls

UB Division I team guide for new students and fans

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Football (Last year’s record: 6-6, 4-4 Mid-American Conference)

The football team had one of its strongest seasons since joining Division I in 1999, becoming bowl eligible for the first time in four years. Lead by junior quarterback Tyree Jackson, the Bulls have become a force on offense, scoring over 30 points in the final three games of the season, all of which Buffalo won. Head coach Lance Leipold now enters his fourth year with Buffalo and has helped recruit some serious talent such as star senior wide receiver Anthony Johnson and junior running back Emmanuel Reed. If the Bulls can stay healthy, unlike last season, they have a chance to have one of the strongest years in the history of the program.

Soccer (Last year’s record: 7-9-3, 5-4-2 MAC)

The Bulls were unable to get beyond .500 last season after failing to have a winning record the year prior. The team has depth in both the backfield and frontline but have had consistency and scoring issues these past two seasons. Head coach Shawn Burke said he is confident the team will return to its winning ways this season. Read the full story on page 27.

Volleyball (Last year’s record: 15-13, 8-8 MAC)

Last season, the volleyball team took massive strides in the right direction. Having gone 4-25 the season prior, the over .500 season is a testament to head coach Blair Brown-Lipsitz and her staffs’ ability to improve the team in such short time. The Bulls started last season strong, winning seven of its first ten games, while picking up victories over big conference teams like the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Georgetown Hoyas. Sophomore outside hitter Andrea Mitrovic and junior outside hitter Polina Prokudina were great additions last season, giving the Bulls needed power on offense. The two combined for 765 kills last year. With a more experienced group of returning players, the team looks primed to be a top presence in the MAC.

Men’s Basketball (Last year’s record: 27-9, 15-3 MAC)

Last year was by far the most historic in UB basketball history. The men’s basketball team cemented itself as a MAC dynasty, winning its third MAC Championship in the past four years. The Bulls also won their first program NCAA Tournament game against the Arizona Wildcats and won the MAC season. The team will be poised to continue its success next year with returning top scorers senior forward Jeremy Harris and senior CJ Massinburg. Massinburg averaged 17.0 points per game while Harris averaged 15.5 points per game last season. The two will be a focal point for the team’s strong three-point shooting. Head coach Nate Oats, who signed a contract extension last season, also said the upcoming recruiting class is the best he has seen since taking over as head coach in 2015. The Bulls had great success last season, breaking the program’s season win record, and it seems Buffalo will be up to more of the same moving forward.

Women’s Basketball (Last year’s record: 29-6, 16-2 MAC)

The men’s basketball team wasn’t the only team making history, as the women’s basketball team set several program firsts last season. The program won its first two NCAA Tournament games, set the record for wins in a season, had its most successful MAC season and received national media attention for its accomplishments. Junior guard Cierra Dillard had a breakout season, averaging 16.2 points and being the leader on offense for the Bulls for both the MAC and NCAA Tournaments. The team also has notable returns in junior forward Summer Hemphill and senior guard Autumn Jones. With head coach Felisha Legette-Jack signing a contract extension in May and having an impressive recruiting class, the Bulls will look to enhance themselves and attempt to make it to the Elite Eight this season.

Swimming and Diving (Last year’s record: 8-0, 4-0 MAC)

It will be hard for the Bulls to repeat last season’s success with the absence of UB great Megan Burns. Still, the team has plenty of talent that shined last year who could have record-breaking seasons of their own. Sophomore Nicole Roitenberg put up solid times last season that she will look to improve upon. While Burns’ sister, sophomore Katelyn Burns, will attempt to build on the legacy her sister started. With head coach Andy Bashor at the helm, expect the Bulls to improve and to be one of the best academic teams at UB.

Cross Country

The Bulls will look to break records this season, despite having one of the shortest seasons and fewest events of the Division I teams. The women’s team took fifth place at the MAC Championship this past season while the men’s team took sixth. Junior Stephanie Ward has the best chance of taking first place at multiple meets this season after coming off her best year at UB which saw her run for the third best time at the MAC Championship this past year.

Men’s Tennis (Last year’s record: 13-10, 5-2 MAC)

Despite some tough matchups, the Bulls are coming off a strong season. The Bulls ended up in second place in the MAC last year while also taking on four Ivy League teams. If the Western Michigan Broncos hadn’t had such a strong season, the Bulls could have been back-to-back MAC Champions. Buffalo will be losing some key players heading into next season but have strong returns in junior Vilhelm Fridell and sophomore Nickolas Frisk. With head coach Lee Nickell still leading the Bulls, expect to see big improvement from the more experienced players on the team.

Women’s Tennis (Last year’s record: 17-4, 8-0 MAC)

In what was a common narrative for Athletics last year, the women’s tennis team had a historic season for the program. The team won its second consecutive MAC Championship and its first MAC season title last year while also having its best season since joining Division I. The Bulls will only lose three players heading into next season and will have plenty of familiar faces hungry to three-peat. Head coach Kristen Maines continues to impress since taking the team over in 2012 and is on pace to pass Kathy Twist as the most winningest coach in program history.

Wrestling (Last year’s record: 5-11, 2-5 MAC)

It was not the best year for the wrestling team as a whole last season. Despite strong seasons from a few key players, the rest of the team failed to put in many notable performances. Senior Bryan Lantry was the sole Bull to make it to the NCAA Tournament, losing on the second day of the event. Lantry, senior Jake Gunning, junior Kyle Atkins and senior Brett Perry were named to the Academic All-MAC Wrestling Team. All four will look to make it back to the NCAA with head coach John Stutzman entering his fifth season running the program.

Track and Field

Track and field remains the only Division I sport at UB with a six-month season going from January to June. This past season, it was the shot put team that shined, winning both first and second at the MAC Championship. The team was able to get five Bulls to the NCAA preliminaries with several team members setting personal bests throughout the season. If the Bulls can get more team members to the preliminaries, this may be the year a Bull, or Bulls, qualify for the NCAA Championship.

Thomas Zafonte is the senior sports editor and can be reached at: thomas.zafonte@ubspectrum.com & @Thomas_Spectrum


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