BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's soccer team will look to lock up a Mid-American Conference Tournament spot on Thursday afternoon at 12:00 pm as they welcome the Akron Zips to UB Stadium in both teams regular season finale. With a win or a draw, the Bulls will secure their third straight trip to the conference tournament.
The Bulls control their own destiny but can also receive some help to earn the MAC Tournament bid. A Bowling Green loss/tie or a Northern Illinois loss will secure a spot in the conference tournament for the Bulls regardless of UB's result against Akron.
Buffalo has been playing some of their best soccer of the season as of late but haven't been rewarded with the results that they would have hoped. UB has notched three straight draws including a heartbreaking 1-1 draw on Sunday against Central Michigan in which the Chippewas scored with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the match after the Bulls completely dominated the first 89 minutes of the match.
The Buffalo offense continues to be powered by redshirt sophomore Carissima Cutrona who netted her team-leading 10th goal of the season on Sunday as she now has a team-high 21 points on the year. With her 10th marker, Cutrona becomes just the second UB player in the last 13 seasons to notch at least 10 goals in a season. Junior Julia Benati returned to the starting lineup after missing a couple of weeks this weekend and made an immediate impact as she became a threat offensively right away. Benati has notched two goals and two assists while fellow junior Moira Petrie has been playing at a high level as she has notched two goals and two assists for a career-best six points. Senior Andrea Niper has recorded a career-high five points while Nicole Gerritz has notched a team-high four helpers on the year as she made the move to the midfield after the opening weekend of the season.
Despite conceding the late marker to Central Michigan on Sunday afternoon, the Buffalo defense has been impressive as of late as they have allowed one goal or less in nine of their last 10 matches. The backline of Adrianna VanCuyck, Angel Hart, Gurjeena Jandu and Ashley Evans have become one of the best units in the MAC while goalkeeper Laura Dougall has continued to add to her impressive resume at Buffalo. The junior goalkeeper currently holds the program record for shutouts in a career (26) and ranks second in program history in wins (31).
The Akron Zips enter Thursday's regular season finale with a 4-10-4 overall record and a 1-5-4 MAC mark after going 1-1-0 this past weekend. Despite collecting a 3-2 double overtime victory over Central Michigan on Thursday, the Zips have been eliminated from MAC Tournament contention. The Zips are led offensively by freshman Chloe Allen who has netted six goals for 12 points while fellow freshman Ashley Amato ranks second on the squad with four goals and eight points. Senior Sarah Sivic has netted three goals while recording a team-high 19 shots on the year. 15 of the teams 18 goals scored this season have come from underclassmen. Between the pipes, Annabelle Hegeman owns a 1.72 goals-against average to go along with 74 saves and one shutout on the year.
Thursday's match will be the final match at UB Stadium for the seven seniors. If Buffalo is able to secure a MAC Tournament berth on Thursday afternoon they will be on the road as they can be no higher than a six-seed in the tournament.