Women’s soccer clinches home playoff game with weekend sweep

Team has chance to secure home field throughout playoffs this weekend

Micky Tinnerman turns for a shot in Buffalo States 2-1 overtime victory over Plattsburgh Saturday.

Micky Tinnerman turns for a shot in Buffalo State’s 2-1 overtime victory over Plattsburgh Saturday.

The Buffalo State women’s soccer team guaranteed itself a home field playoff game this year with a 2-1 overtime win against Plattsburgh and a 1-0 shutout of Potsdam on their home turf over weekend.

The Bengals faced off against the Plattsburgh Cardinals at Coyer Field on Friday in their sixth conference game of the season. They entered the game with a 4-1 conference record, making them the top team in the SUNYAC.

The Bengals struck first, scoring in the 38th minute when Megan Chapple redirected a cross from Lauren Delaney. The Bengals held the ball for the majority of the second half, and it looked as though goalkeeper Linda Banfield’s lengthy shutout streak would continue.

However, a miscommunication between Banfield and the Bengals’ defenders allowed Plattsburgh’s Diana DiCocco put the ball into the back of the net with only 4:28 left in the game. The gaffe forced overtime, the Bengals’ second overtime game of the season.

Plattsburgh got a chance early in the extra frame but Banfield was equal to the test. Moments later, a foul on Plattsburgh four minutes into the overtime period gave Buffalo State a free kick.

Senior Jordan Dudish sent the ball toward goal from 28 yards out, and the shot bounced right under the Plattsburgh goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The goal gave the Bengals the 2-1 victory and a 9-4-1 overall record. The match did, however, end Banfield’s shutout streak at 353:22.

Dudish, who had assists on the team’s two previous game winners, has stepped into a leadership role on the team this season, and she has become a regular contributor. She still has a mindset that can ensure success for the rest of the season

“We’re doing what we’ve been doing all year,” Dudish said. “We’ve been working on the little things that need to be fixed and competing hard against each other in practice to stay tough.”

The next morning, the Bengals put their three-game winning streak on the line as they took on Potsdam at home.

The Bengals netted the only goal of the game in the tenth minute, when senior Shannon Yokopovich scored her third goal of the season off of a pass from Paula Jones. The Bengals dominated possession for the rest of the game, outshooting Potsdam, 20-5.

Banfield needed to make only three saves for her eighth shutout of the season. The mark puts her one shutout shy of the school record of nine, set by Sue Hough in 1984.

The win ensured the Bengals a home playoff game and retained their position at the top of the SUNYAC.

Although they are having a successful season, the Bengals are not letting the success get to their heads and are still looking to compete and rack up more wins.

“I’m thrilled that we are in first place as of right now, but as a team we are not taking our place for granted and know that we still have a lot of work to put in before celebrating anything,” Banfield said.

Still, the Bengals have played more consistently as the season has gone on, and have put together a four-game winning streak. When asked if they are finally putting things together, Paula Jones said things were improving, but there is still work to be done.

“I think we are starting to play a little more consistently, and at this point in the season we know our team’s strengths and we have learned what we need to do to win games,” she said. “Obviously there is still room for improvement but we just need to maintain our focus and keep taking it one game at a time.”

Head coach Nicholas DeMarsh echoed the sentiment, saying that his team cannot afford to become complacent.

“Well the second you start feeling too good is the second you lose your next game, so we’re cautiously optimistic,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Bengals beat non-confrence opponent Medaille at home, 2-0. Chapple and Shaunta Pyles scored for Buffalo State (11-4-1, 6-1 in SUNYAC).

The Bengals conclude their regular season this weekend, playing at 3 p.m. on Friday at Oneonta before travelling to New Paltz for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Saturday. Oneonta is currently in second place in the conference, and if the Bengals can tie or beat the Red Dragons Friday, they will clinch the top spot in the SUNYAC standings.