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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Women’s soccer falls to Pittsburgh in first round of NCAA Tournament

UB ends its season with only two losses

Sophomore forward Arianna Zumpano dribbles the ball in a recent game.
Sophomore forward Arianna Zumpano dribbles the ball in a recent game.

Women’s soccer (15-2-4, 7-0-4 MAC) lost at Pittsburgh (13-4-3, 5-3-2 ACC) 1-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening. 

The No. 13-seeded Bulls, who were coming off their second Mid-American Conference Championship in program history, couldn’t pull off the upset over No. 4-seeded Pittsburgh, who made the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

The loss is UB’s second of the season, the last being a 2-1 defeat to then-No. 3-ranked Rutgers in August. 

Fifth-year goalkeeper Emily Kelly ranked No. 1 in the nation with 13 shutouts heading into the contest, but she and her defense faced multiple challenges from the start.

In the fourth minute, the Panthers put up a shot as Kelly tried to block it. The ball rolled across the face of the goal and went out wide. But even with the press from Pittsburgh, the Bulls still had a fair amount of chances at the goal. 

Sophomore forward Jasmine Gurerber recorded four shots throughout the game, but none managed to hit the back of the net. One of her best looks came in the 18th minute when she shot the ball from the edge of the box, sending it just left of the goal. 

The Panthers put up 11 shots against the Bulls, forcing Kelly to come up for five saves to keep the game at 0-0 by half time. UB’s defense stayed organized as Pittsburgh recorded six offsides in the first half. 

The Bulls gained more control in the second half, with Pittsburgh only managing to take six shots. 

Gurerber had another good look at goal in the 83rd minute when she shot a ball on frame from outside of the box, but Pittsburgh goalkeeper Caitlyn Lazzarini made the save. 

Pittsburgh’s senior forward Leah Pais went down in the box in the 85th minute, but the game continued with Pittsburgh’s senior midfielder Anna Bout receiving the ball and making a cross to Pais. 

Pais got up in time to head the ball past Kelly and into the back of the net. The Panthers were up 1-0, and the Bulls were unable to tie the score in the remaining five minutes. 

UB ended its season with the MAC regular season title, a MAC Tournament Championship and a record-breaking 15-game unbeaten streak. 

The team said goodbye to Kelly, Hannah Callaghan, Abbey Callaghan, Taylor Caridi, Cashlin Copley, Tess Ford, Annie Judasz and Jennifer Mandarno, who all played the final match of their UB careers on Saturday. 

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