The Bulls dropped to Mid-American Conference-rival Miami of Ohio in front of a standing-room-only crowd of UB faithful Friday night at RAC Field. The Bulls applied all the pressure early, but were unable to erase a goose egg from the scoreboard.
The chilly temperatures, however, did nothing to cool down the Miami Redhawks' snipers, who accounted for four goals on the evening in the romp.
Miami finally broke a scoreless tie at the 37:38 minute mark on a Danielle Altiero goal. With lightning quick speed, Altiero got ahead of the defense to get herself in position for a one-on-one with Emily Cox. Andrea Cunningham picked up the assist on the play by making a short punt kick to Altiero.
No sooner had the Bulls recovered from that goal, the Redhawks tacked on another. With only UB's Brenna McJury trailing, Cunningham darted to get a ball that seemed headed into Cox's arms. After Cox failed to cover the ball Cunningham's eyes got big as saucers, seeing an open net to shoot at. She did just that, and the Bulls went into halftime facing a 2-0 deficit.
Coach Jean-A. Tassy energized his troops at the half.
"I encouraged them that they played very well in the first half but I told them they need to look in terms of going to the flank more," said Tassy
The Bulls took their coach's advice and stormed the Miami net early in the second half. UB's offense kept the pressure on Miami's defense for long stretches in the beginning of the stanza.
The Bulls' aggressive mentality finally paid off in the 60th minute of the game.
Erin McGarry, on the end line, popped the ball out to freshman-phenom Brenna McJury. McJury, well out of the box, dialed long distance, kicking a long shot past stunned Miami goalkeeper Katie Karlander.
With the Bulls riding high off the goal they got themselves in a great position to tie the score up. Senior Paula Sinclair had a breakaway, and appeared to fake Karlander out of position. Her tap-in attempt, however, went wide right.
"I took a step, tried to go and got my foot on the ball. I didn't get it good enough and it just went shy of the post," explained Sinclair.
This seemed to take the life out of the Bulls, as they were unable to mount any more quality scoring chances.
At the 78:46 mark, the Redhawks reclaimed their two-goal lead. On an end line pass from Danielle Berkemeier, Shaedyn Cousino headed the ball past Cox.
Cox did give the Bulls hope when she made a beautiful diving save on a one-on-one penalty kick to keep the game within reach.
That was short lived, however, as the Redhawks scored their fourth and final goal within the last minute. Berkemeier hooked up with Cunningham at the 89:15 mark to add insult to injury.
The Redhawks succeeded at their defensive plan to shut down Player of the Week Nicole Olszewski, who had limited shot attempts.
"We needed to support Nikki on the ball but we didn't," said Tassy.
The Bulls are winless in series history versus Miami. Miami eliminated the Bulls last year from the MAC Tournament, beating them in the semifinals.
The women's soccer team came out determined not to drop two straight MAC games, and succeeded in their mission with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Ball State Cardinals Sunday afternoon.
The Bulls, who were down by 2-0 at one point, capped off a valiant comeback when Robin Aparo scored 3:13 into the first overtime period.
"We were working very hard to come away with a win. Nikki [Olszewski] got the ball and kicked it over to me and I just fed it across the goal to Robin [Aparo] and she hit a great shot," exclaimed UB's Elizabeth Pfeffer, who picked up her second assist of the game on Aparo's winning goal.
"Liz [Pfeffer] flicked the ball to me and I had an easy touch and go shot," said Aparo.
UB fought tooth and nail in the first half, not allowing Ball State to get on the board.
The Cardinals came out aggressively after intermission. Ball State's attack proved effective when they scored at the 52:33 mark. Dee Nocero slipped by Bulls defenders undetected to get her opportunity at goalkeeper Emily Cox. Nocero waited for Cox to commit and shot at the far-left corner.
Trying to take the will out of UB, the Cardinals went up by two at the 63:42 mark. Julie Pigozzo sprinted down the field to score the unassisted goal.
With less than 30 minutes to go in the game, the situation looked bleak for UB, but the Bulls lived up to their label as a second-half team.
Buffalo took less than two minutes to get their act together and cut the lead to one on Paula Sinclair's fourth goal of the season. Off a magnificent feed from Elizabeth Pfeffer, Sinclair booted the ball pass Ball State's Megan Swafford.
At the 77:43 mark, an in-the-box penalty was called against Ball State. Erin McGarry got the opportunity to tie the game up on the penalty kick and capitalized on it.
"I always have a set spot where I go for a penalty kick. In my mind I already made the goal before I kicked it and that's just how you have to mentally prepare yourself before an opportunity like that," McGarry explained.
McGarry never felt that Ball State had an insurmountable lead.
"I looked at the scoreboard after their second goal and I saw we had enough time to get back in the game."
Cox proved superior in the goalkeeper's match-up, recording eight saves to Swafford's one.
The Bulls are now 5-5 overall, and 4-2 in the MAC. Their next opponent is Northern Illinois on Friday Oct. 5 at RAC field.