Searching for consistency
The women's soccer team was twice in position over the weekend to win its first game since early September. However, they couldn't put it together for a whole game and dropped a pair of home matches.
The Bulls (1-13-2, 0-6-2 Mid-American Conference) hosted two conference opponents this weekend at UB Stadium. While striking out in the win column, the team broke its scoreless streak that stood at four games.
In a hard fought game on Friday night, the Bulls fell just barely short of victory in a 2-2 draw with Ball State (6-8-2, 0-6-2 Mid-American Conference).
The scoreless streak was ended in the 29th minute of the game when sophomore midfielder Natasha Arana put the Bulls on the board with her third goal of the season. Sophomore defender Shannon Algoe followed suit with a long-range goal in the 43rd minute to give the Bulls a two-goal lead heading into the break.
"It was sick," Algoe said. "I was pretty excited about it [scoring a long-ranged goal]. I did it all the time in high school, but I have not been able to do it since."
However, the Bulls failed to hold their lead in the second half, as the Cardinals posted two goals early in the half.
Algoe was happy to see the early improvement but felt her team needed to keep the pedal down and really try and finish off the Cardinals.
"We came out as a team in the first half, and after the two goals we sat back a little," Algoe said. "I know we picked right back up in the second half, and I think it was just a matter of playing the full 90 [minutes], instead of just playing parts of it."
The Bulls stopped the bleeding, however, and picked themselves up to force overtime.
Buffalo regained momentum in the overtime period, outshooting the Cardinals three to two. But they were still unable to put away the winner.
The game ended after two scoreless overtime periods, but head coach Michael Thomas was pleased with their effort.
"Having been in a goal scoring draught, it is nice to see the kids come out and battle so hard to create those chances," Thomas said. "It would have been really easy to fold up and go home after going down 2-0. I thought the team showed a bit of backbone, by regrouping and making it a soccer game again."
The Bulls didn't carry their performance over into Sunday's game, as they dropped a 2-1 battle against conference leader Toledo (12-2-2, 8-0 MAC).
Although they were outplayed for the entire first half and outshot 9-2, the Bulls limited the damage by allowing only one goal, which came on an unassisted blast by senior forward Erin Flynn.
The Bulls have largely relied on the performance of freshman goalkeeper Ainsley Wheldon to keep them in games this season. On Sunday, however, she had to leave the game in the first half with an injury. Wheldon was replaced by junior Danielle Quigley.
"Quigley started the season as a starter, so we have all the confidence in her that we need," Thomas said.
Freshman defender Natalie Jurisevic had a chance to put the Bulls up in the 80th minute. She ripped a shot from 30 yards out, but the shot was punched away by the Toledo keeper.
"We always want to get our backs up at the attack," Thomas said. "Natalie is such a fantastic athlete that when she covers all that ground she covers it well, and she was about a quarter of an inch from a potential game-winning goal."
The game-winning goal came in the 83rd minute when Rockets forward Brittany Hensler knocked a cross into the net. The goal gave the Rockets a lead they did not relinquish, extending their winning streak to nine games.
The Bulls will play their final home game this Friday against Ohio at 5:30 p.m.