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Thursday, May 30, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Women's Soccer Looks To Prove the Critics Wrong

The UB women's soccer team, on the wings of last season, which ended with a regular season record of 14-6-1 (8-2-1 MAC), is once again looking to soar despite the loss of seven seniors.

"This year we only have one returning senior, but 13 players overall returning, including sophomores and juniors. ... Everybody is well balanced," said head coach Jean-A Tassy.

"I am hoping that everybody else underestimates us because we lost so much depth," he said.

The team advanced to the semifinals of the MAC championships, hosted by UB, before ending its season with a loss to the Miami of Ohio RedHawks.

"My main concern this year is to bond the team unity," said Tassy.

The players, though, are confident they'll pull together.

"We don't have a lot of experience, but we have lots of juniors and sophomores and we have meshed well together," said sophomore sweeper Zita McKenna. "We all hang out outside of soccer."

The loss of their seniors is the main reason that the Bulls are only rated 5th in the MAC pre-season coaches poll. UB received a single first place vote.

"They (the pollsters) might be underestimating with that," said McKenna. "They don't realize the talent on our team."

Miami is rated number one in the poll, providing extra motivation for UB.

"A lot of girls want revenge on that game," said McKenna, reflecting on the Bulls' playoff loss to the RedHawks last season.

This season the team has 26 members, but there are a few bumps and bruises that may be cause for concern. Goalkeeper Emily Cox, who posted a 0.97 goals against average last season, popped a shoulder during the off-season; she has just been cleared to play and may miss the first game.

"The team is confident, but so many factors come into play. We are young for a Division-1 program, and young at heart. Our goal right now is to still be playing in December," Tassy said.

"Our major goal is to have a birth in the NCAA tournament," McKenna said.

The NCAA grants a national tournament bid to the MAC champion, which went to Miami last season.

The Bulls will get a heavy dose of nationally ranked soccer talent as both Syracuse and Boston University appear on the women's schedule.

"As long as we play the way we are capable we can beat them," McKenna said.

The Bulls open the season Friday night at home in a non-conference match against neighboring rival Niagara University. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. on RAC Field behind the scoreboard side of UB Stadium.



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