Bengals set for SUNYAC semifinals

Highest conference finish ever for Buffalo State women’s soccer

Bengals set for SUNYAC semifinals

After losing to Oneonta, 2-0, on Friday, the Buffalo State women’s soccer team bounced back Saturday with a 0-0 draw with New Paltz.

Linda Banfield recorded her 10th shutout of the season in the tie against New Paltz, which broke a 29-year-old school record for most shutouts in a season.

The Bengals headed into their match against Oneonta as the top team in the SUNYAC conference with an 11-4-1 overall record. Oneonta, who came into the game in second place, ended up unseating the Bengals by blanking them 2-0.

Oneonta’s Kayla Ceschini scored her fourth goal of the season on an assist from Karly DeSimone in the 22nd minute, putting the Red Dragons up by a goal. The Red Dragons dominated the Bengals for the entire first half, with the Bengals unable to muster a shot on goal.

Buffalo State did not fare much better in the second half, with Oneonta’s second goal coming in the 81st minute. The Red Dragons’ Jessica Lyden put it past goalkeeper Linda Banfield for her second goal of the year. The Red Dragons outshot the Bengals 12-3, and snapped the Bengals’ five-game winning streak.

The Bengals took on New Paltz the next day, in their last regular season game of the year.

Both teams piled up the shots throughout the game, but Buffalo State held a 24-18 advantage through the course of the game. Although there were many chances, neither team could capitalize on the offensive opportunities and the game ended in a 0-0 tie.

Goalkeeper Linda Banfield recorded her 10th shutout in the tie, breaking the school record for shutouts in a season. The previous record was nine, set in 1984 by Sue Hough. Banfield and the Bengals tied the record last week on Tuesday in a 2-0 win against Medaille. Banfield needed to make ten saves in the record-breaking shutout.

When asked if she was proud of her accomplishment, Banfield deflected all of the praise to her teammates.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of our team and we all worked our way into the record book this season,” Banfield said. “I give all the credit to my defensive line Marissa Lombard, Emma Laffey, Gabe Boldinski, Liz Malinowski, and Kristina Change. Without them I would have never been able to achieve the accomplishments I have so far in the season.”

The Bengals were unable to score a goal this weekend, the first time they were shut out in consecutive games the entire season. Still, head coach Nick DeMarsh was able to find positives in the two conference games.

“Oneonta was a really tough one to take because we looked off the pace, and they were really up and we were down but once again, the team bounced back and put in a great performance against New Paltz,” DeMarsh said. “We played really well and deserved a shutout and maybe even a win, but we just couldn’t put the final touch on goal.”

Senior midfielder Paula Jones thought that this past weekend wasn’t the team’s best showing, but is already looking towards next week’s game in the SUNYAC semi-finals.

“It wasn’t our best weekend but I think the Oneonta game showed us the level we need to compete at if we want to win the SUNYAC,” Jones said. “We have a long time off before the next game so we will have a hard week of training to make sure we stay mentally and physically sharp.”

The Bengals enter the SUNYAC playoffs as the second seed. They will play the winner of this Saturday’s Geneseo versus Cortland quarterfinal game. The semi-final will be played at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Coyer Field.

The Bengals ended the regular season with an 11-5-2 overall record, their best since 2010, when they had the same record. They lost in the SUNYAC semi-finals against Plattsburgh that season, something they hope to avoid this time around.

DeMarsh thinks that his team has a shot to win the whole thing this year.

“We are in a position to perhaps win the title,” DeMarsh said. “With some hard work and a little luck, we could represent the SUNYAC at NCAA’s.”