Bulls lose in heartbreaker

Ohio soccer beats the Bulls 2-1 in overtime

soccer

Seven minutes into overtime, junior Ohio Bobcats midfielder Alivia Milesky cut inside to pass senior Buffalo defender Gurjeena Jandu. Milesky faked a shot as freshman goalkeeper Emily Kelly dove in front. Milesky easily dribbled around her to shoot the ball into the empty net and defeat the Bulls 2-1 in overtime.

The Bulls soccer team (9-4, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) was defeated by the Ohio Bobcats (5-5-3, 3-1-2 MAC) 2-1 Sunday afternoon. The Bulls led for the first 87 minutes before Ohio was finally able to get a goal past Kelly. Buffalo was unable to keep up its offensive pressure without senior forward Carissima Cutrona and eventually crumbled for its first home loss of the season.

“The focus has to be on the next game,” said assistant coach Casey Derkacz. “It's difficult coming back from these kinds of losses. The focus needs to be on next weekend, that's the only way we get beyond it.” 

The damp and misty weather led to terrible field conditions from the start. Ohio started with the ball in the first half and put pressure on the Bulls right away.

The Bulls responded quickly, scoring their only goal of the game in the 14th minute. Sophomore midfielder Marcy Barberic sent it into the box and sophomore midfielder Gianna Yurchak beat the keeper to the right corner of the net.

The Bulls defense played well and limited the work for Kelly as they held off the Bobcats attack and kept the ball on the Ohio side of the field for the majority of the half. 

Outside of the set pieces, the team struggled setting up runs. Buffalo was called for offside three times in the first half. 

The Bulls started the second half under pressure from Ohio. The pressure remained for the first 15 minutes but the Bulls remained strong.

Ohio got a fastbreak led that to a one-on-one situation with Kelly. The attacker put a shot past Kelly but Jandu made a goal line sliding clearance. 

The defense, led by Jandu, kept Ohio's attacks under control and got their midfield the ball to keep the pressure on the Ohio midfield and defenders. The Bulls’ attacks resulted in four fouls against Ohio in the half but the Bulls struggled to capitalize on the ensuing set pieces. 

“We were on the back foot for a lot of the second half and that's a credit to Ohio, putting us under a little more pressure,” Derkacz said. “At the end of the day we just got away from doing a lot of the things that were good at too and that's passing the ball and being able to string passes going forward, we just weren't able to relieve a lot of that pressure.”

During the last 10 minutes, the wall blocked Ohio’s freekick and kept the team from scoring. The Bobcats finally broke through and scored their first goal of the game with two minutes remaining to send it to extra time. 

In extra time, both teams had chances. Ohio had three corner kicks in a row. The Bobcats were able to get the ball in the box each time but it was deflected out by Buffalo’s defenders twice before being headed out by a Ohio player. 

Just three minutes later, Milesky put it past Kelly to secure the upset victory.

“I think it's just about regrouping and making sure we stay focused and on the same page for the whole 90 minutes,” Jandu said. “It's a long game so I think one second just of someone not being focused really affects the whole team, so moving forward we have to make sure we’re all playing together and staying focused.”

The Bulls will hope to bounce back against Miami (OH) (3-9-1, 1-5 MAC). The game scheduled to begin at 4:00 Friday in Oxford, Ohio.

Andrew Rasimas is a staff writer and can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com