NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY - In its final game before Mid-American Conference play begins, the Buffalo women's soccer team faced a tough test against rival Canisius in the championship match of the Big Four Classic Sunday morning on the campus of Niagara University. Following 90 scoreless minutes, the Bulls were able to score a goal early in the second overtime period to beat the Griffs.
Freshman midfielder Megan Giesen took a pass from classmate Sophie Therien and put it past a Canisius keeper who had been a brick wall through regulation and the first overtime period, stopping 11 UB shots on goal among Buffalo's season high of 22 total shots. It was Giesen's first career collegiate goal and Therien's second assist of the season.
"Megan did a great job of getting deep into the box and she did a good job of keeping her shot low to tuck it away in the corner," said head coach Michael Thomas. "The Canisius goalie played a terrific game and was saving everything high. She took away a lot of shots that I thought were destined to be goals"
It was a typical rivalry game for the two teams, with plenty of chances on offense and a physical atmosphere that led to 21 total fouls and three yellow cards. Within the first ten minutes of the game, each team had two shots on goal each, setting the tone that would continue through the rest of the way.
In the 83rd minute, Katie Roberts laced a shot off the post and was able to earn the team a corner kick from Therien. Her boot set up a flurry that gave the team several quality chances to score. Katie Kerr to a shot that went high, and 30 seconds later put another shot on goal that was saved. In the 89th minute Kerr took one last shot, but again it was saved to force overtime for the second time this season for Buffalo.
Canisius controlled the scoring chances in the first overtime period, with a shot that was blocked and another shot that was turned away from goalie Ainsley Wheldon. It was one of seven total saves from the sophomore and it helped her secure her sixth shutout of the season, extending her conference lead in the category.
"Not enough can be said about the way the defense played, and even with Shannon Algoe out this weekend we were able to plug new players in a center back and there wasn't any dropoff," Thomas said. "It hasn't been just the back line though, as a team we're playing great defensively."
Now riding a four-game win streak - the longest for the team since the first four games of the 2008 season - the Bulls have concluded its non-conference schedule with a sterling 7-1 overall record. Next weekend the team returns to UB Stadium for a Friday game against Bowling Green at 8 pm, with Miami (OH) coming to town Sunday.