Bengals boast 6-game win streak


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Junior forward Melissa Smith leads the SUNYAC with 51 shots this season.

Tony Callens, Staff Writer

The Buffalo State women’s soccer team keeps finding different ways to win.

On Saturday, they won their sixth straight game on a last-minute goal by midfielder Victoria Colotti to beat Battle by the Lake rivals, Fredonia, by a score of 3-2.

Colotti’s goal, her second of the season, came in the 86th minute when forward Melissa Smith delivered the ball on a corner kick and the sophomore connected on a header to tuck the ball in the back of the net.

“We worked hard to get the ball back on their side and we got another corner kick,” Colotti said. “With only a couple minutes left, I knew this could be one of last chances if we didn’t want to go into overtime. Melissa played a perfect ball right in front of the goal. I was so focused on it and made sure I was going to be the first to the ball and then I headed it in.”

Overtime has not been kind to the Bengals as the team is 0-2 on the season post-regulation. Colotti was aware of this and was relieved to score the winner when she did.

The win allowed the Bengals to jump off to a perfect 3-0 start in SUNYAC play and represents their best start to a conference schedule since 2010.

“We’re finding a way to get the win and getting the job done,” head coach Nick DeMarsh said. “It’s a player’s game and not a coach’s game. There are no time outs, so the coaches have to put the plan in during the week and the players have to go out there and produce.

“The players have been very high energy, very positive and very blue collar – just the way I like it. My coaching staff has done a magnificent job of motivating and maintaining energy levels.”

Tianna Hatch led the way in scoring for Buffalo State with two goals, tying Smith for the team lead (5).

“The chances have been there all season, it was just a matter of capitalizing,” Hatch said. “In practice we’ve been focusing a lot on individual finishing and it has definitely started to show. The finishes felt natural just like we rehearsed.”

The six-game win streak has been due in part by the change that Hatch spoke of. Many times in the early stages of the season, the Bengals would outplay their opponents statistically but fail to score goals when they had opportunities to do so.

They have only given up an average of 9.5 shots per game this season versus an average of 15.8 shots per game on the offensive end.

“We want to maintain that pressure going forward and keep creating a lot of chances,” DeMarsh said. “Statistically we’ve done well this year. Statistically I think we’ve been better than almost every team all year.”

With statistical analysis being a positive this season for the Bengals, despite the recent success the team has enjoyed, there is always room for improvement and naturally there are aspects of the game that DeMarsh believes can result in continued success the rest of the season.

“For me we have to have that continuity as a team,” he said. “We attack with four and defend with six. Long term, that could be a problem. We need players in back and wingers to go forward.

“We need our central midfielders to hold in support and keep the ball in our possession, so those are some little things we want to work on. We have to be sharp on set pieces and I think that will make us competitive — not winning, but competitive for the rest of the year.”

The Bengals (7-3) will travel to Allegheny for a 4 p.m. matchup on Tuesday before they move to the heart of their SUNYAC schedule.

email: [email protected]