Bengals clinch No. 1 seed in stunning fashion

Junior forward Melissa Smith is third in the SUNYAC in points (19) and is tied for fourth in goals (7).

Dave DeLuca/The Record

Junior forward Melissa Smith is third in the SUNYAC in points (19) and is tied for fourth in goals (7).

Tony Callens, Staff Writer

The Buffalo State women’s soccer team added another achievement to the already impressive storyline of its record-breaking 2015 season by clinching the No. 1 seed in the SUNYAC playoffs for the first time in program history.

The Bengals clinched home-field advantage after defeating Oneonta, 1-0, in a matchup between the conference’s top two teams.

“It’s a good feeling, the girls have worked really hard and sometimes you don’t get what you deserve,” head coach Nick DeMarsh said. “I think this group has worked hard enough and earned the right to play at home.”

The win against Oneonta came a game after Buffalo State saw their 11-game win streak snapped by a 0-0 draw with the New Paltz Hawks.

In that game, the Bengals dominated play and outshot the opposition 24-0, but were still unable to come up with the winning shot after two overtime periods.

“It was frustrating to tie New Paltz, but we knew what our approach had to be going into the next game because we knew we were tied with Oneonta,” defender Kristina Change said.

Buffalo State came out of the gate strong and outshot the Dragons 6-2 in the first half, but were still unable to put the ball in the back of the net.

The breakthrough finally came in the 67th minute when midfielder Gabrianna Boldinski headed a throw-in from midfielder Alexis Carillo to tally the decisive goal.

“We knew this game would determine who had the higher seed and home field advantage for the playoffs,” Change said. “We took the field and just got the job done. It was definitely a team effort.”

For her efforts on the field, Boldinki was named the SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Week.

For the rest of her defensive teammates, the two games represented the seventh and eighth shutouts of the season.

The Bengals have clinched a first-round bye and will play the winner of the matchup between fourth-seeded Plattsburgh and fifth-seeded Brockport.

Buffalo State defeated Plattsburgh 2-1 and Brockport 2-0 at Coyer Field earlier this season.

“Those games were a long time ago. It’s important that we focus on the now. We know about them. They know about us. They’re both tough teams,” DeMarsh said. “There’s no secret approach to the game. It’s just our coaching staff will do their homework and study the film and we’ll prepare and try to do what we do well, and hopefully we’ll get the result that we want.”

The Bengals remain unbeaten in their last 13 games and will finish out the regular season on Wednesday at St. John Fisher.

“We’ll do everything in our power to win that game and continue to hone our competitive spirit. That game is a dress rehearsal for the playoffs, so we have to treat it as such,” DeMarsh said.

With a win, Buffalo State will have the most wins in a season in program history, just one more record to aim to break in a record-breaking season.

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