Bulls lose game and Wheldon
Goalie leaves game with injury as Toledo rolls
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
It’s been a rough season so far for the women’s soccer team, and Friday night may have been the team’s worse loss of the season – on the scoreboard and on its roster.
The Bulls (2-8-1, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) couldn’t stop their losing streak against the defending MAC regular season champions, Toledo (3-7-1, 1-1-1 MAC), at UB Stadium. Buffalo dropped the game, 3-0, and suffered an insurmountable injury in the process.
In the last 90 seconds of the first half, Buffalo gave up a costly turnover on its side of the field. The Rockets crossed it into the middle of the field, and junior goalkeeper Ainsley Wheldon came charging out of the net and dove on top of the ball but got her leg caught with a Toledo forward. She was slow to get up and was in obvious pain toward the end of the half. Wheldon limped off the field at halftime, but she returned to action with the rest of the team in the second half.
In the 62nd minute, Wheldon was forced to come out of the net again and make a play on the ball. This time when her leg tangled with a Toledo forward, she couldn’t get up.
The referee immediately signaled over to the Bulls’ sideline for a trainer to come check on Weldon. She lay on the turf in significant pain, but was able to get up and walk over to the trainer’s cart, with assistance from Buffalo coaches. The coaches were unsure at the end of the game how significant her injury was.
“She took a couple of really hard knocks today,” said head coach Michael Thomas. “We don’t know anything right now. We’ll know more after running some tests.”
A minute after the substitution, the Rockets were able to extend their lead further. Toledo crossed the ball into the middle of the box, and midfielder Geri Siudzinski buried the ball past Wheldon’s replacement, sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Moore.
Toledo tacked on another goal about ten minutes later off a free kick from 20 yards out to extend their lead to 3-0. Moore had three saves in her first Bulls appearance.
“It’s always tough [when you lose someone],” Thomas said. “[Wheldon is] even more than a star player, but a friend and a teammate. I think people underestimate how hard it is to respond when one of your best friends is taken off the field in a cart and you don’t know what’s going on with them. The tone of the game definitely changed after that.”
Buffalo’s offense put pressure on the Toledo defense throughout the first half but struggled to get quality shots on goal. The Bulls were outshot 13-8 in this physical match that concluded with 23 total fouls. Toledo had nine shots on goal, compared to Buffalo’s slim three.
“We came out and played well through the first half but we were unable to make the game go our way in key moments,” Thomas said. “When you miss a clear or you lose your mark, Toledo will punish you for it. Through the first two-thirds of the game it was back and forth but they were just much better in the key moments."
This loss marks the fourth straight for the Bulls and the seventh of their last eight.
Buffalo looks to pick up its first conference win of the season when it hosts Northern Illinois (5-4-1, 1-1-1 MAC) at UB Stadium. Game time is set for Sunday at noon.