As another year of UB athletics wraps up, there are plenty of moments and milestones that stand out across all sports. From football’s bowl win and the women’s soccer team’s success in the fall to the dominance of track and field this spring, the 2022-23 year has been eventful from start to finish.
While women’s soccer was the only team to bring home a Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship this academic year, there were still a number of highlights and landmark moments that will be remembered for years to come.
In no particular order, here are four of the best moments from UB athletics this year:
The MAC Championship win to cap off women’s soccer’s historic season
Finishing with an overall record of 15-2-4, the women’s soccer team had one of its best seasons in program history, winning the MAC Tournament and making it to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in team history. (The team first made the tournament in 2014.) The team strung together an astonishing 17-game undefeated streak that lasted from the start of September through the MAC Tournament in the middle of November.
Twelve players were named to the academic All-MAC Team at the season’s end, and two players were named to the United Soccer Coaches All-America team. Fifth-year goalkeeper Emily Kelly was named to the All-America second team, while fifth-year midfielder/defenseman Hannah Callaghan was named to the third team.
UB defeated Ball State in the MAC Championship Game before falling to Pittsburgh in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Football’s third bowl game victory in four years
After starting off the season with three straight losses in non-conference games, things looked bleak for the Bulls and second-year head coach Maurice Linguist.
But following losses to Maryland, Holy Cross and Coastal Carolina, UB rattled off five straight wins, highlighted by a thrilling last-second victory over Miami (OH). The Bulls were able to get back over .500 with a record of 5-3 before
finishing the regular season with a record of 6-6 (5-3 MAC).
But a .500 record was all it took for UB to become bowl eligible after a sluggish start to the season.
UB earned a bid to the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama for the second time in three seasons, where they ultimately defeated Georgia Southern — and former Bulls quarterback Kyle Vantrease — 23-21. The football program has now won three bowl games in the past four seasons.
Track and field members break school records
Members of both the men’s and women’s track and field teams broke a pair of school records just over two weeks ago at the Bison Outdoor Classic, hosted by Bucknell University.
Junior Evan Hilbert narrowly broke the men’s 1,500-meter record of 3:42.66 set by Brian Crimmins back in 2016, running the race in 3 minutes and 42.64 seconds.
In the women’s long jump, fifth-year high jumper Christina Wende emphatically set the new school record with a jump of 20 feet 5 ¼ inches. The previous record in the event was 20 feet 3 inches, set in 2009 by Fatimah Hill.
Swimming and diving’s NCAA Championships appearance
Three members of the UB swimming and diving team qualified and competed in the 2023 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in March.
Senior Victoria Franz and sophomore Marialis Kwak competed in both the 1- and 3-meter dives, while graduate student Toni Naccarella participated in the 50 and 100 freestyle.
Naccarella also competed in both events two years ago at the 2021 NCAA Championships.
Brandon Cochi is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com