BUFFALO, NY - After being outshot by Bowling Green in a dramatic late loss Friday, the Buffalo women's soccer team faced an even stiffer challenge Sunday as offensive juggernaut Miami (OH) came to UB Stadium with a conference-leading 20 goals in its first eight games. The young Buffalo squad responded in full, shutting out the Redhawks and earning the 1-0 win on an overtime goal fromAubrey Stahl.
Just over a minute into the extra period, Taylor Thompsonwon a 50-50 ball at midfield and quickly passed it left to a sprinting Stahl, who took it all the way in and beat the keeper 1-on-1 with a shot to the high right corner, ending the game. It continues the team's season-long streak of overtime wins that now stands at three.
"Taylor made a great tackle and I really had the easy part," said Stahl, who scored her second goal of the season in as many games. "The team worked really hard to shut them down and give us that opportunity. I had a bit of a slow start (this season) but I'm really starting to get my feet under me."
"Taylor Thompson's ability to battle and hold the ball was one of the difference makers in the game," said head coach Michael Thomas. "Aubrey has it in her to be one of the most prolific scorers in the conference and we've always felt that it was just getting that first goal that she would do big things."
The game as a whole could hardly be any closer, with Buffalo holding a slight advantage in shots (16-12) while the Redhawks had five corner kicks and four shots on goal. In the first half, it was Miami that had quality chances on offense but hesitation cost them opportunities. The UB defense held back the initial attack and was able to smooth out its rhythm as the game progressed. The Buffalo offense improved as well, taking ten shots in the second half and putting four on goal.
In the 71st minute, goalie Ainsley Wheldon was removed due to a nagging illness and was replaced by McKenzie White, who was immediately put under fire from the Redhawks. In the 80th minute, Miami's Jess Kodiak put a shot on goal from the right side and White snuffed out what would have been a sure goal.
"McKenzie has been training at an extremely high level, she just has the misfortune of playing behind somebody who is nationally ranked in shutouts right now (Wheldon). We had all the confidence in the world that she would come in and do great, and she did," Thomas said.
The defense was stout against a Redhawk attack that had yet to be shutout this season and offered three of the top ten goal scorers in the entire Mid-American Conference.
"All the players just came out and just refused to lose this game," Thomas said. "Miami is one of the best teams in the conference and they're just a class act so its something that our kids were definitely up for after the way that Friday ended."
"I think we played great on defense," Stahl said. "Everyone stepped up and did their part and that's important to take responsibility and worked together and McKenzie played great. We shut down a really strong offense. The great thing about this conference is you can't take any games off but there isn't a team in this conference we can't play with."
Now 8-2 (1-1 MAC), the Bulls won its first conference game since a 2-0 win over Northern Illinois in October of 2009. The eight wins this season also matches the team's win total from the past three seasons combined. Next up will be the first conference road trip of the season, with two tough games against Central Michigan (9/30) and Eastern Michigan (10/2).