Bulls split at Niagara Tournament
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
After 12 days of rest following a double overtime loss versus Niagara, the women’s soccer team finally had the opportunity for vengeance. The Bulls headed to familiar grounds to start a two-day tournament on Niagara’s cold, slick field.
The Bulls (2-5-1) defeated Robert Morris (0-8-1) to take their first match of the Niagara Tournament; they outshot the Colonials, 14-6, en route to a 1-0 victory. But Buffalo couldn’t get a winning streak going, and lost the following game to St. Francis (3-4-1) on Sunday, 2-1.
The Buffalo offense has struggled lately, firing only three shots on goal over its previous two matches and being shut out in its last three. On Friday, the Bulls were determined to force the issue on offense and took seven shots in the first half while holding the Colonials to just one.
“The difference today was we executed our finals shots,” said head coach Michael Thomas. “I was very proud of our girls’ mentality.”
Although the Bulls outplayed the Colonials in the first half on the stats sheet, they still found themselves heading into the half in a scoreless tie.
In the 59th minute, senior forwardKatie Kerr maintained possession after a failed clearing attempt. Shethen flipped the ball to senior forward Taylor Thompson, who drove it into the corner of the net for her first goal of the season. The goal gave the Bulls their first lead since Aug. 26.
Buffalo was not satisfied with its one goal lead. The Bulls had two more shots on goal in the next five minutes, but failed to add to the lead.
The Bulls shut down the Colonials star forward Ayana Davis, who led Robert Morris with 11 goals last season and has 13 shots on goal through the first eight games this year. Buffalo’s defense held her to only one shot on net.
“We always had pressure on her, especially in the second half,” Thomas said.
Junior goalkeeper Ainsley Wheldon had two second half saves, and three for the game to secure her second shutout of the season and the 13th of her Buffalo career.
St. Francis stifled the Bulls’ momentum and started the game strong after its 2-0 loss to Niagara. St. Francis had five shots before the Bulls were able to fire one off.
“We didn’t play very well in the first half, although this is when we got our goal,” Thomas said. “We didn’t do a great job of coming out to play. We must come out faster.”
The Bulls were outshot 11-4 in the first half, but took advantage when given the opportunity. Sophomore forward Katie Roberts put Buffalo’s first shot of the game into the back of the net. Roberts was able to pick off a passin the 17th minute and put one past St. Francis’ keeper Brianna Butcher.
Roberts currently leads the team with three goals in the season, despite battling knee and ankle injuries all season.
“She is our leading scorer from last year and when she’s on the field, we expect big things from her. She always comes through for us,” Thomas said. “It’s a shame her injuries have limited her.”
The Bulls threatened St. Francis early in the second half. They had seven shots within the first 20 minutes of the second half, but only one was on goal.
Buffalo’s inability to extend the lead kept St. Francis in the game. In the 65th minute, St. Francis’ Beatriz Maros de Carvalho was able to capitalize on an opportunity and tied the game at 1-1.
St. Francis continued their attack on offense and finished with 22 shots, none bigger than their 21st shot of the game.
St. Francis capitalized on one of its seven corner kicks of the afternoon. Defenseman Brianna Brancato scored on a rebound for what would be the game winner in the 84th minute.
The loss marks the last match before the Bulls begin conference play. Thomas expects the competition to be more intense as the season progresses.
“We have made adjustments to find our identity throughout the non-conference season,” Thomas said. “The only difference now is that the games are quicker, faster and with more on the line.”
Buffalo will travel to Ball State (3-2-2) on Friday at 4 p.m. to begin their Mid-American Conference play.