BUFFALO, NY – Despite dropping their regular season finale at home on Thursday afternoon, the University at Buffalo women's soccer team (11-7-0, 5-6-0 MAC) earned their fifth straight trip to the Mid-American Conference Tournament this weekend. The Bulls will be the No. 7 seed and will travel to Muncie, IN to take on the No. 2 seeded Ball State Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm.
After the Bulls fell 3-2 to Akron on Thursday in their regular season finale, they needed some help to get into the MAC Tournament and they received it. The Bulls, Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan were all tied with two spots up for grabs and since UB defeated each of the other two, they received the No. 7 seed while Eastern Michigan took the No. 8 spot due to beating the Chippewas on Thursday.
UB finished off the regular season with an 11-7-0 overall record and a 5-6-0 MAC mark, matching the second most wins in a season since head coach Shawn Burke took over the program prior to the 2014 campaign.
The Buffalo offense had an impressive regular season as they were able to net 34 goals through 18 matches, the most goals scored in a season by the Bulls since 2003 when they also netted 34 goals. Leading the offensive charge before sustaining an injury was senior Carissima Cutrona who led UB with eight goals, eight assists and 24 points while sophomore forward Marcy Barberic had a career-year for UB as she netted seven goals, seven assists and 21 points to go along with a team-high 53 shots. Cutrona and Barberic are the first set of Buffalo teammates since 1999 to each record 20+ points in a single season.
The spread out Buffalo attack has also received some strong play from sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Walsh who has netted six goals, two assists and 14 points while fellow sophomore Gianna Yurchak has chipped in with four goals and an assist while starting all 18 matches. Defenders Gurjeena Jandu and Tess Ford have also helped out offensively, chipping in with five goals and eight assists combined on the year.
The UB backline have played consistent all season long as Jandu, Ford and Rebecca Bramble have played all 18 matches together on defense for the Bulls with Andrea Judasz, Adrianna VanCuyck, Meghan Simmons and Abbey Callaghan also playing big minutes. Freshman Hannah Callaghan is enjoying a strong first season at the holding midfield spot as she has started 17 matches and chipped in with two helpers.
In goal, freshman Emily Kelly has enjoyed a strong first season as she owns an 11-7 record to go along with a 1.50 goals-against average, a .761 save percentage and seven clean sheets. The Wilson native has recorded 83 saves on the year including a season-best nine stops in the Bulls 2-0 win over Cornell earlier this season.
The Cardinals earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament after closing out the regular season with seven straight victories and posting a 12-3-2 overall record and an 8-2-1 MAC mark. The Ball State offensive attack is led by Tatiana Mason who leads the team with six goals, three assists, 15 points and a team-best five game-winning goals while Jenna Dombrowski ranks second on the squad with three goals, two assists and eight points. In goal, the Cardinals are led by Tristin Stuteville who owns a 12-3-2 record to go along with a 0.74 goals-against average, a .819 save percentage and six clean sheets.
The Bulls and Cardinals faced off earlier this season in Muncie with Ball State taking home the 1-0 defeat of UB on an own goal by Buffalo. The game was an even affair with the Cardinals holding the slim 15-10 edge in shots and the 6-3 advantage in corner kicks. The Bulls have lost four straight matches to Ball State with UB's last victory coming in 2014 in the MAC Tournament semifinals when Buffalo downed the Cardinals 2-1 in overtime as they went on to claim the MAC Tournament title.