Soccer Hits The Road For A Pair Of Crucial MAC Matches This Weekend

Rebecca Bramble

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's soccer team returns to the road this weekend as they finish a season-long stretch of five road matches in their last six matches. The Bulls will head to Bowling Green on Friday night before closing the weekend with a trip to Toledo to take on the Rockets at 1:00 pm on Sunday.

Buffalo is coming off of a 1-1-0 weekend that had its ups and its downs as UB is now 5-6-2 overall and 3-2-1 in MAC play. On Thursday at Ohio, the Bulls were able to post a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind victory after trailing 1-0 with just over five minutes left in the match. UB tied the match in the 85th minute as Gianna Yurchak deflected home her first career goal. Just over a minute later, Julia Benati netted the game-winner with a great shot into the upper left corner of the net. On Sunday, the Bulls couldn't generate a shot on target as they fell to the defending MAC champs, Kent State, 1-0 on a fluke goal in the second half.

The Bulls offense is once again being paced by junior Carissima Cutrona who has netted a team-high five goals, four assists and 14 points on 51 shots. Benati has picked up her offensive efforts as of late as she has netted four goals and two assists for 10 points while recording 33 shots. Sophomore Kara Daly has two goals and three assists for seven points while Yurchak has been strong of late, notching a goal and three assists on 20 shots.

The Buffalo defense has continued to grow throughout the season as the backline consists of two sophomores and two juniors who are playing together for the first time this season. The anchor of the UB defense is sophomore Gurjeena Jandu who has made it difficult for visiting forwards all season long. Adrianna VanCuyck has been strong of late while Rebecca Bramble and Marcy Barberic are quietly having nice seasons for the Bulls while playing a lot of minutes. Between the pipes, Laura Dougall owns a 1.11 goals-against average with a .826 save percentage while making 71 saves and earning four clean sheets for the Bulls.

Bowling Green enters Friday's match with a 8-5-0 overall record to go along with a 3-3-0 MAC mark after splitting a pair of conference matches last weekend. The Falcons lost at Eastern Michigan 2-1 on Thursday before returning home on Sunday and earning the 3-1 win over Central Michigan. The Falcons have split all three MAC weekends this season.

The Falcons are led offensively by Skylar Fleak who has notched eight goals and four assists for 20 points while taking 41 shots on the year. Erica Hubert is having a nice season for Bowling Green as she has a team-high 51 shots while recording five goals and two assists for 12 points. Marissa Swindell has come off the bench for most of the season and has produced three goals and three assists for nine points. In goal, Victoria Cope owns a 7-5-0 record while posting a 1.31 goals-against average with two clean sheets.

This meeting will mark the 22nd in the all-time series between the Bulls and Falcons with Bowling Green holding the 12-8-1 record against UB. The Bulls have been strong as of late in the series as they own the 4-1-0 record in the last five meetings including a 2-0 victory at UB Stadium last season.

Toledo enters this weekend with a 6-5-3 overall record to go along with a 3-1-2 MAC mark after splitting a pair of conference matches last weekend. The Rockets were downed 5-0 on the road at Central Michigan on Thursday before returning home on Sunday and earning the 4-1 victory over Eastern Michigan.

The Rockets are led offensively by Hannah Scafaria who has notched eight goals and an assist for 17 points while taking 19 shots. Isa Echeverri has started all 14 matches and has produced three goals and two assists for eight points while Sophie Pohl has two goals and three assists for seven points and a team-high 28 shots. In goal, Madison Perrin has started all 14 matches and owns a 1.28 goals-against average with a .793 save percentage while making 73 saves and earning five clean sheets.

The meeting on Sunday will be the 24th meeting between the two programs with Toledo holding the slim 12-10-1 advantage over the Bulls all-time. The Bulls have been dominant as of late against the Rockets as they have won five straight in the series including a 1-0 victory last season at UB Stadium.

After this weekend, the Bulls will return home for their final two MAC home matches of the regular season. UB will host the Ball State Cardinals on Thursday, October 19 at 7:00 pm before welcoming the Miami (OH) RedHawks to UB Stadium on Sunday, October 22 for Senior Day at 12:00 pm.