Women’s soccer wins opener, drops next two


Buffalo State Sports Information

Senior forward Melissa Smith scored a goal in each of Buffalo State’s first two games.

Tony Callens, Staff Writer

A new season with new players made their opening slate of games a feeling out process for the Buffalo State women’s soccer team this past weekend, as they started the season 1-2.

“There are some new players this year and we are still trying to work out some kinks but we are really starting to jell. Every game we have looked a little better,” forward Melissa Smith said.

The week started off on a high note with Buffalo State defeating Elmira 3-0 and dominating control of the ball, outshooting the Eagles 18 to 3.

“Every season is a journey and that was the first step,” said head coach Nicholas DeMarsh. “There are some positives, but there is still stuff that we need to work on.”

Following the opening win, the Bengals traveled to Farmingdale, NY for the Farmingdale Classic, where they lost to the hosts by a score of 3-1 Saturday. Farmingdale State got off to a hot start when they scored in just the fourth minute, but Buffalo State responded with a 24th minute goal by Smith. The Rams added two goals to put the game out of reach in the second half and clamped the Bengal offense in the half as well, only allowing three shots.

Smith was one of the key additions this offseason, and she has fit in to help the Bengals thus far.

“It was a tough transition at first because it was a whole new environment and level of play, but all the girls were really welcoming and understanding,” Smith said.

“It made it easier that I played for Coach Nick in club soccer for three years,” Smith said. “He’s been very good with helping me get adjusted.”

After being outshot 16 to 6, the Bengals needed to refocus for the third game on Sunday.

“I think we’re still trying to define the way we want to play,” senior defender Kristina Change said. “We have been playing well in the formations, we’ve been trying, but individual mistakes on the field have cost us our goals against. I think we’re comfortable with our personnel and I think we’ve adapted well with our new players joining us this year.”

An aspect of the transition this season has been the implementation of two new formations at the back. In the first two games, the Bengals fielded a team with three defenders at the back to open up the flow of play from last season.

“We’re trying the two systems this year and setting up our tactics based on what we’re trying to achieve in the game,” DeMarsh said. “The first two teams were teams I thought we could press. Other games, we’ll try four. It all depends.”

As one of the leaders on defense, Change feels good about the new systems.

“We have been playing with the three in the back all season so far. We decided to try something different against Western (Connecticut State) since we lost to Farmingdale the game before so we switched to four in the back,” she said. “I think we played really well in both systems but we really need to find a way to finish well.”

There was a response after the loss in the final game of the weekend against Western Connecticut State, and it made for a back-and-forth game. The Bengals opened up the scoring in the 40th minute with a goal off a rebound from junior midfielder Catherine Mammoser. The Colonials answered in the second half with a goal in the 65th minute to level the score. Neither team could put the ball in the back of the net, so the game went to overtime.

In overtime, the teams were still in a stalemate and the game went into a second overtime. Finally, in the 105th minute, Western Connecticut State was awarded a free kick from 30 yards out. Midfielder Celia Defoe capitalized to win it for the Colonials.

“The feeling, as a group, was disappointment and frustration,” senior forward Meghan Allen said. “But there is a willingness to fight harder as the season goes on.”

As Smith stated, the team has improved with each game. In the third game, the Bengals outshot their opposition 13 to 11 in a relatively even affair. Overall, the team improved from their loss against Farmingdale State.

“Obviously, we want to win, but I’d like to play good soccer and I want the girls to have a good experience and enjoy themselves,” DeMarsh said. “We always want to go to the playoffs and maybe take that next step past the semifinals as we’ve been there the past few years.”

The Bengals look toward a pair of home tilts against Rochester on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and against Pitt-Bradford at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Tony Callens can be reached by email at [email protected]