BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo women's soccer team (5-1-0, 0-0-0 MAC) will close out their non-conference slate on Friday night as they welcome Big 4 foe St. Bonaventure to UB Stadium at 7:00 pm. The Bulls will be in search of their sixth straight win while the Bonnies will be looking for their first win of the 2018 campaign.
This meeting will mark the 31st meeting of all-time between the two programs with the Bulls holding the 15-13-2 including winning four of the last five matchups against the Bonnies. UB was able to collect a 3-0 road victory over St. Bonaventure last season in Olean.
The Bulls are coming off of another strong weekend that saw them earn a pair of victories over Canisius and St. Francis (PA) as UB has only allowed one goal against over their last 508 minutes of game time. The Bulls dominated the Canisius Golden Griffins on Thursday night at UB Stadium as they raced out to a 2-0 lead before allowing a late goal as they earned the 2-1 victory. On Sunday, the Bulls put together a complete game as they handed St. Francis (PA) the 3-0 defeat.
The stingy Buffalo defense has also earned weekly recognition from the MAC in two straight weeks as Emily Kelly and Tess Ford have earned MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks as the UB defense has led the charge for their strong start to the season.
Offensively, the Bulls are off to their best start since head coach Shawn Burke took over the reins of the program in 2014. Through six matches, the UB offense has produced 13 goals including outscoring their opponents 12-1 across their current five-match winning streak. Senior team captain Carissima Cutrona is once again leading the UB offensive attack as she leads the team with three goals, a career-high six assists and 12 points while recording a team-best 19 shots. Sophomore Marcy Barberic is adjusting nicely to her move up top next to Cutrona as she ranks second on the team with three goals, an assist and seven points while fellow sophomore Kaitlyn Walsh was having a huge impact early on, netting two goals and two assists through her first four matches. The offense has also received some help from their backline on set pieces as Tess Ford and Gurjeena Jandu have combined for three set piece goals through six matches.
Buffalo has been just as impressive in the defensive third of the field this season as they have recorded four clean sheets over their last five games. Freshman goalkeeper Emily Kelly has impressed not only her coaches and her teammates but also opponents this season as she owns a 5-1-0 record to go along with a 0.67 goals-against average and a MAC-best .886 save percentage on the year. Her athleticism has been on full display but her back line of Rebecca Bramble, Tess Ford, Gurjeena Jandu and Abbey Callaghan have put together a strong start to the season. Hannah Callaghan has continued to improve at the holding midfield position through the first six matches, making it difficult for opponents to get to dangerous positions on the pitch.
The Bonnies enter Friday's rival match with a 0-4-4 overall record as they have now played in six straight overtime matches and are yet to come out on the right side of things. St. Bonaventure is coming off of back-to-back overtime losses to Wright State and Niagara after they battled Canisius to a 2-2 tie.
Leading the Bonnies offensive charge is Sydney Cerza who has started all eight matches and has notched three goals, two assists and eight points while recording a team-high 16 shots. Sabrina Sousa-Sampson and Gretta LaCouture rank second on the team with two goals each while Jessica Scruggs is enjoying a strong start to the season with a goal and two helpers.
In goal, Lauren Malcolm has started all eight matches while owning a 1.63 goals-against average, a .773 save percentage and one clean sheet while making 51 saves.
After Friday's non-conference finale, the Bulls will open up their 2018 MAC campaign next Friday evening as they head to Northern Illinois for a 7:00 pm showdown with the Huskies. The Bulls will then travel to Kalamazoo, MI to wrap up the weekend with a clash against Western Michigan on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm.