VESTAL, NY - The 2011 women's soccer season started with fireworks Friday afternoon, as freshman Sophie Therien banged home a double-overtime goal on a free kick to lead Buffalo to a 1-0 win over the Binghamton Bearcats. It was the team's first season-opening win since a 2008 shutout of rival Niagara.
After entering the game as a sub and seeing 66 minutes of action, Therien stepped up for a free kick just outside the right of the 18 yard line. The Kirkland, Quebec, Canada native bent her shot around a wall of Bearcat defenders and sent the team home in style with her first collegiate goal.
Therien was one of five new faces to take the field for the Bulls, with fellow freshman Courtney Mann making the start and Jackie Hall, Katie Roberts, Megan Giesen and Therien playing key reserve roles. Giesen and Roberts registered shots on goal. The Bulls also welcomed back Stephanie Velez, who returned to the team after missing all of 2010.
The Bulls were saved in the first half by sophomore goalie Ainsley Wheldon, who made four saves and turned away four corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes. The defense tightened up in the second half, holding the Bearcat attack to only five shots for the rest of the game to give Wheldon her second career shutout.
With the win, UB moves to 1-0 for the season thanks to its first double-overtime win since 2005. It will have a week to prepare for its home opener against Bucknell. Kickoff will be at 7 pm in UB Stadium.