Women’s soccer wins again by familiar 1-0 scoreline

The Buffalo State women’s soccer team is preparing for its first two conference games of the year after splitting two games last week.

On Sept. 18, the Bengals travelled to Meadville, Pa., to square off against the Allegheny Gators. The game was a hard fought defensive battle, but Allegheny pulled out a 1-0 victory.

The Gators broke through in the 42nd minute when Alison Buzzard faked a direct kick and set up Emily Byers, who drilled it home for the game’s lone goal.

The Bengals played their second game of the week in New Wilmington, Pa., on Saturday against Westminster.  Buffalo State prevailed, 1-0, after outshooting the Titans, 13-2. The Bengals played strong defense and were backed by goalkeeper Linda Banfield, who only needed to make one save for her fourth shutout of the season.

Freshman Micky Tinnerman netted the only goal of the game, stealing the ball from a defender and shooting it into the wide-open net. The weather played a factor in the game, as heavy rains made it difficult to control the ball on the wet turf.

“The conditions were bad, and it’s difficult to play on wet turf,” midfielder Paula Jones said. “But we limited the other team’s chances and we capitalized on our one good chance.”

The Bengals head into their first conference game Friday with a 4-2-1 record, with all of their games having been decided by one goal. Despite outshooting their opponents, 83 to 44, the Bengals have only scored five goals this season.

“Defensively we’ve been stubborn, we don’t allow a lot of goals, let alone shots,” assistant coach Brian Knapp said. “We need to maximize on our opportunities and finish on our chances that we’re creating.”

Their first SUNYAC opponent, Geneseo, is 2-3-2 this season. While that isn’t a daunting record, the Knights have not allowed a goal in their last 361:18 of play.

Geneseo goalkeeper Julia Sanger has played a big role in her team’s stellar defensive play, notching a shutout in each of her last three games.  The Bengals will need to focus on scoring more goals, as well as continuing to play solid defense when they begin conference play.

When looking at the Bengals’ season so far, one cannot ignore the play of the defense. Opposing teams haven’t outshot Buffalo State yet this season, and when shots have gotten past the defense, Banfield has been there to make stops.

“We’ve set a goal of allowing less than 10 goals in our conference games,” Jones said. “Right now we’re working on staying tough defensively.”

Head coach Nick DeMarsh stressed the importance of strong defensive play now that SUNYAC play is starting.

“SUNYAC is ranked fifth in the United States out of 45 conferences,” DeMarsh said. “These games are more about mental strength, and it’ll be important not to give the other teams the opportunities to score.”

Buffalo State will play its two conference games this weekend at Coyer Field. Both Friday’s matchup with Geneseo and Saturday’s against Brockport will begin at 4 p.m.

Chris Losey can be reached by email at [email protected]