Toledo (2-7-1, 0-1-1 MAC) looks to get back on the winning track this weekend when the two-time reigning Mid-American Conference regular-season champions travel to Buffalo and Akron. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. on Friday at UB Stadium and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field, respectively.
UT has been picked to successfully defend its MAC West Division crown and capture a league-record fifth tourney title according to the coaches' preseason poll, while UB and UA are tabbed to finish third and fourth in the East Division, respectively.
The Midnight Blue & Gold are winless in their last five matches (0-4-1 record) for the first time since 2006. Not to worry though Rocket fans, Toledo recovered quite nicely following that winless period in 2006 and went on to win the first of their league tournament championships.
Last weekend, the Rockets opened conference action with a 0-0 double-overtime draw at Western Michigan on Friday before suffering a 3-0 setback vs. Eastern Michigan on Sunday. The Midnight Blue & Gold had quality scoring opportunities in both matches and combined to finish with an 8-6 edge in corner kicks and trailed by a slim margin in total shots, 26-21, but the MAC-best four-time league tourney champions were unable to put the ball into the back of the net.
Junior Rachel MacLeod tops the UT scoring charts with three goals, followed by junior Emily Tustin, sophomore Rio James and sophomore Sarah Seig with one goal each.
As a team, UT is 10th in the MAC in shots (105), 11th in goals (6) and 12th in total points (15) and assists (3).
On the backline, freshman Sam Tiongson (2-2-0 record) and sophomore Kelsey Borowitz (0-5-1 mark) continue to share time. Tiongson has seen action in 393:28 minutes, allowing four goals (0.91 GAA) while making 14 saves. Borowitz has accumulated 543:35 minutes between the posts, giving up 11 scores (1.82 GAA) with 20 stops.
As a unit, UT is tied for sixth in the league in shutouts (2) and 10th in goals-against average (1.44) and goals allowed (15).
Buffalo begins the weekend with a 2-7-1 overall mark, 0-2-0 in the MAC. Last weekend, UB opened league play with a 2-1 loss at Ball State on Friday and a 2-0 loss at Miami on Sunday. The Bulls are led offensively by Katie Roberts with seven points (three goals, one assist). In goal, Ainsley Wheldon has played every minute and ranks tied for third in the league in saves (40), tied for sixth in shutouts (2) and ninth in GAA (1.15). Toledo has won the last seven matchups between the schools and leads the all-time 11-5-1. Last fall, the Rockets claimed a 2-0 home victory during the regular season and a 3-1 triumph in the MAC Tournament Semifnals at Scott Park.
The Zips, which host Northern Illinois on Friday before entertaining Toledo, begin the weekend with a 4-5-0 overall mark, 0-2-0 in the MAC. Last weekend, UA dropped a pair of matches on the road to Miami, 4-1, and Ball State, 2-1. Ashley Hughes (three goals, three assists) and Megan Waskowski (three goals, three assists) lead the squad with nine points each. In goal, Alex Luevano-Harden has seen a majority of the action and is tied for third in the league in saves (40), fifth in save percentage (.800) and tied for sixth in shutouts (2). The Rockets lead the all-time series with the Zips, 9-1-1, playing to a 2-2 double-overtime draw last fall.