UB Athletics’ top 10 moments of the year
UB Athletics had the most eventful period in recent memory this past year. UB had three NCAA Tournament-bound teams and plenty of record breaking individual performances. The Spectrum compiled a list highlighting the top 10 sports moments of the year.
10. Football competes in seven-overtime thriller against Western Michigan
The Bulls lost the seven-overtime matchup 71-68 against the Broncos. The game lasted over four and a half hours and combined for the most points ever in an FBS game. Junior quarterback Drew Anderson threw for a Buffalo and Mid-American Conference record 597 yards and tied the single-game touchdown record at seven. The Bulls had three receivers with over 100 yards for the first time in history, including a performance with 11 catches, 195 yards and two touchdowns by junior wide receiver Anthony Johnson.
9. Ally Power throws no-hitter for softball
Junior pitcher Ally Power opened up MAC play this year throwing her first career no-hitter. Power threw five innings with five strikeouts and three walks. It was the team’s first no-hitter since current assistant coach Tori Speckman threw one in her senior season in 2014.
8. Ryan Cribbin and Devon Patterson win gold and silver in men’s shot put
Buffalo hosted the MAC outdoor track and field championships for the first time since 2010 this year. On day two of the competition, senior Ryan Cribbin and junior Devon Patterson finished first and second in the men’s shot put. It was the ninth-straight year the Bulls have won the gold in shot put and Cribbin’s second gold in three years, with Patterson winning gold the year prior. Patterson went on to finish just shy of a spot at the NCAA Tournament this year, falling just one foot short at the NCAA East preliminaries.
7. Vidit Vaghela and Petr Vodak become first ever nationally ranked doubles team for men’s tennis
Seniors Vidit Vaghela and Petr Vodak finished the men’s tennis season as the number 86 ranked doubles team in the country. The two were ranked as high as 64 this past year and completed their final match together with a 6-3 win against Western Michigan in the MAC Tournament finals. The duo went 12-4 at first doubles this season with wins against the top teams from Notre Dame, Harvard and Columbia.
6. Megan Burns wins fourth straight 50 and 100 yard-freestyle event at MAC Championships
Senior freestyle swimmer Megan Burns completed her record-breaking career with an unprecedented fourth-straight gold medal in both sprint events. Burns is the first women’s swimmer in MAC history to win more than three titles in either event. Burns finished her career as one of the best swimmers in school history with her name on seven different school records.
5. UB breaks ground on new fieldhouse
The $18 million Murchie Family Fieldhouse broke ground on October 7 this past year. UB President Satish Tripathi said the new fieldhouse would be open to all students, but it will only be open to Division I, club and intramural sports teams. The 92,000-square-foot fieldhouse features a full turf football field, rubber sprinting tracks, a triple jump pit, a pole vault pit and softball hitting tunnels. The fieldhouse is expected to open spring 2019.
4. Football becomes bowl eligible for the first time in four years
The Bulls finished 6-6 on the season, making them bowl eligible for only the third time since joining Division I in 1999. After a mid-season slump where the Bulls played three different quarterbacks, Buffalo was able to rally off three straight wins to end the season, including a victory against a heavily favored Ohio Bobcats team the last week of the season. Buffalo was one of three teams in the country to not get selected for a bowl game that was eligible.
3. Women’s tennis wins second straight MAC Championship
Women’s tennis made program history winning back to back championships. Tennis tied a program high for wins at 17 and ended the season on a 14-match winning streak. The team eased through conference play going a perfect 8-0 to win the MAC season. Buffalo went back to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history and faced Northwestern. They defeated the Bulls 4-0, but Buffalo won sets in singles play in multiple matches for the first time ever at the NCAA Tournament.
2. Men’s basketball wins first NCAA Tournament game
Head coach Nate Oats led the Bulls to its third MAC title in four years and was selected as a No. 13 seed to play the No. 4 seed Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bulls shocked viewers around the country beating Arizona 89-68. Senior guard Wes Clark finished with 25 points and seven assists and looked like the best player on a court crowded with future NBA talent like Deandre Ayton. Buffalo was lights out from three making 15 of 30 shots to move on to the round of 32. The Bulls fell to No. 5 seed Kentucky but finished the season with a program record 27 wins.
1. Women’s basketball advances to the Sweet 16
After receiving its first at-large bid in history, head coach Felisha Legette-Jack and her team did not waste the opportunity. Heading into the tournament as a No. 11 seed, the Bulls dominated the opening round of the tournament with a 102-79 victory against No. 6 seed South Florida. They followed it up by rolling over the No. 3 seed Florida State 86-65. The Bulls then traveled to Albany for the Sweet 16 to take on last year's national champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks and lost. Junior guard Cierra Dillard averaged 29 points over the two tournament games, and the Bulls finished the season as the No. 21 ranked team in the country, a program first top-25 ranking.
Nathaniel Mendelson is the assistant sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com