Bulls Drop Season Opener 2-1
BUFFALO, NY - The 2012 Buffalo women's soccer team opened its season Friday evening, welcoming Patriot League power Colgate to UB Stadium. After finding its rhythm late in the first half, the Bulls (0-1) and Raiders found themselves embroiled in a highly competitive game before a late goal sealed a 2-1 win for Colgate (1-0). Freshman defender Kristin Markiewicz scored the team's lone goal in her first collegiate game, and junior goalie Ainsley Wheldon kept the team in it with seven saves against the aggressive visitor's attack.
"I think that the fans were treated to a really nice soccer game tonight," said head coach Michael Thomas. "Both teams created opportunities and several chances and battled hard, but tonight was a game where whoever did the little things better would win. I'm not satisfied and I know that no one in our locker room is satisfied with this result, but there were a lot of good things that we can build off of."
The Bulls were put on the defensive early in the game by a Colgate offense that spent much of the first 30 minutes in the attacking third of the field. Wheldon was able to hold them off with five first-half saves, but was beaten in the 43rd minute with a flick over her head to put Colgate up heading into the half.
"Their ball movement is very good and they control the ball," Thomas said. "If one defender is caught watching they're capable of punishing you and that's something that we preach to the kids and it was nice to see that on the field as a learning lesson."
Wheldon was tasked with keeping the 1-0 score despite some quality chances created by Colgate. 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year Jenn Raepple was testing the defense all night, with four shots to go along with her first-half goal. The UB defense held off the Raiders long enough for an equalizing goal in the 76th minute by Markiewicz. Playing up on the attack, the freshman from Erie, PA blasted a shot from just outside the box but it was smothered by a Colgate defender. After regaining possession of the carom, Markiewicz took a bit off and curled a soft shot into the top left corner of the goal to knot the score at 1-1.
The momentum was snatched back just over three minutes later, as a perfectly executed corner kick from the right side found the head of Colgate's six-foot defender Sarah Henderson for what would become the game-winning goal.
Despite the result, Thomas was encouraged by the team's response as the game went on and is excited by the potential offered by the offense.
"The big takeaway is how much faster we played as the game went along," Thomas said. "For the first 20-25 minutes we were playing at almost a training speed, but I think we played ourselves into game speed and when we got into that speed we showed that we can do some special things in the open field."
The Bulls will be back at it next Thursday, welcoming in Big Four rival Canisius to UB Stadium for a 7 pm game.