BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's soccer team (7-8-2, 5-4-1 MAC) will hit the road on Thursday afternoon for their final regular season match as they travel to Akron to take on the Zips. The Bulls need a win coupled with a loss or tie by Toledo to earn the #4 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and host the quarterfinal round at UB Stadium on Sunday at 1:00 pm.
The Bulls are coming off of a 1-1-0 weekend which saw them lose a heartbreaker to Ball State on Thursday 2-1 before capping the weekend with a dramatic 1-0 overtime victory against Miami (OH) on Senior Day at UB Stadium. Senior Moira Petrie stole the show on Sunday for the Bulls as she took a great feed from Kara Daly and ended the match with a beautiful goal to the left corner of the net to give UB the win and positioned themselves nicely for a home MAC Tournament match on Sunday.
The Buffalo offensive attack has been spearheaded by a pair of dangerous players in Carissima Cutrona and Julia Benati. Cutrona leads the Bulls with six goals, four assists, 16 points and 62 shots but Benati has been on a tear as of late as she has posted career-highs with six goals, three assists and 15 points. Benati has notched eight points in her last six matches for the Bulls.
The UB defense continues to show improvement down the stretch of the regular season and it showed on Sunday as they earned their sixth clean sheet of the season while allowing just five shots on goal, all from the outside and not from dangerous positions. The Buffalo back line is anchored by a pair of sophomores in Gurjeena Jandu and Adrianna VanCuyck while the junior duo of Rebecca Bramble and Meghan Simmons have grown into reliable options on the outside. Freshman Marcy Barberic has matured into a great defender in the holding midfield position as the Bulls are limiting their opponents to just 1.18 goals/game.
Senior goalkeeper Laura Dougall has proven to be one of the best keepers in not only UB history but MAC history as well as her name is etched throughout both record books. On Thursday, Dougall set the MAC record for career minutes played while she also owns the UB record for wins (39), shutouts (33) and goals-against average (0.79). With her next shutout, Dougall will tie the MAC record for shutouts in a career with 34. On the year, she owns a 7-8-2 record to go along with a 1.18 goals-against average while making 91 saves and notching six clean sheets.
The Zips enter Thursdays match with a 2-13-3 overall record and a 1-7-2 MAC mark as they went 1-0-1 this weekend. Akron was able to earn the 1-0 win over Miami (OH) on Thursday night at home before battling Ball State to a 0-0 draw on Sunday afternoon. The Zips are led offensively by Ashley Amato who has notched a team-best five goals and 39 shots while Ally Brown has chipped in with a goal and a team-high four assists for six points on the year. In goal, Amanu Jiu has started all 18 matches for the Zips and owns a 1.88 goals-against average while making 92 saves and earning four clean sheets.
Thursday will mark the 17th meeting between the two programs in the all-time series with both sides earning eight wins. Buffalo has been dominant in the series as of late as they have won four straight against the Zips including a 1-0 victory in the regular season finale last season at UB Stadium.
The Bulls qualified for their fourth straight MAC Tournament for just the second time in program history on Sunday but will have to wait on Thursday's results to see if they will be hosting a MAC quarterfinal match or hitting the road for one. Regardless of home or road, the MAC quarterfinal matchup for the Bulls will be on Sunday at 1:00 pm.