BOWLING GREEN - Trailing by a goal at the half, the University at Buffalo rallied for a pair of second-half scores en route to a 2-1 win over the Bowling Green State University women's soccer team Friday night (Oct. 12). The Mid-American Conference match was held at Cochrane Field.
Kristin Markiewicz and Taylor Thompson scored for the Bulls (4-9-2, 2-4-1 MAC), who have won two games in a row after a five-match winless streak to begin conference play.
Junior Madeline Wideman scored the lone goal for the Falcons (1-13-1, 0-6-1 MAC), on a nifty individual effort in the first half.
Freshman Jenna Underwood made seven saves, the highest total of her young career, in goal for the Falcons. Several of those stops were of the spectacular variety.
The Bulls had a 21-12 advantage in total shot attempts, putting nine shots on goal to the Falcons' six. Wideman led the way for the hosts with four shots, and she had half of her team's SOG total.
Five of BGSU's conference losses have been by a single goal. The Falcons have lost seven of the team's last eight setbacks by one goal, and BG has suffered nine one-goal losses this season.
The Falcons had a pair of shots just under a minute apart in the early going, but the Bulls responded with a flurry as the match passed the eight-minute mark. Within the span of 64 seconds, the visitors forced Underwood into three saves. First, the BG 'keeper leaped to grab a long free kick by Shannon Algoe that sailed on frame.
Then, with nine minutes gone, Underwood made a spectacular play to keep the match scoreless. A pass by UB's Lauren Coviello put Katie Kerr in all alone behind the BG defense. As Kerr entered the penalty box on the left side, Underwood came off of her goal line to cut down the angle. The BG freshman read Kerr perfectly, diving to smother the UB senior's shot from close range.
The rebound was cleared out of the box, but the ball eventually went to Natalie Jurisevic on the right side of the pitch. Jurisevic put a long ball on net, but Underwood corralled it for her third save in just over a minute.
The Falcons looked to respond, but BGSU was whistled for offside three times in a span of two-plus minutes. The third such instance happened with just under 13 minutes gone, after senior Leah Johnson and freshman Demy Whitaker helped move the ball into the Buffalo end of the field. Whitaker hit a through-ball to Wideman, but the assistant referee's flag was raised.
Finally, Wideman took matters into her own hands.
The junior came up with a loose ball just on the UB side of midfield, facing away from goal. She turned and began a run down the field. Wideman's long run continued all the way into the box, as she beat a Buffalo defender, forced UB goalkeeper Ainsley Wheldon to vacate her goalmouth and placed a shot over Wheldon's head and under the crossbar. The unassisted goal came with 13:29 gone in the match.
The Falcons had a solid scoring chance just over halfway through the period, with Wideman again at the heart of the play. The Troy, Mich., native played a ball to Johnson down the right side of the field, and Johnson hit a nifty cross into the box. The ball met the head of the onrushing Kaitlyn Tobin, but the junior's header was just wide of the goal.
Two minutes later, the Bulls had a near miss at the other end, as a low cross rolled all the way through the six-yard box, past several players from both teams.
The visitors had a flurry of activity in the offensive end with roughly 11 minutes left before halftime. BGSU struggled to clear the ball as the Bulls had several shots, a corner kick and multiple chances during that stretch, but the Falcons kept the visitors off the scoreboard.
As the public-address announcer began his 10-second countdown toward the end of the half, the Falcons worked the ball into the UB penalty area. Junior Tracy Togba, sophomore Sidney Huth and freshman Jessica Jarvis all were involved in working the ball deep into the offensive end, but the Bulls were able to clear the ball out of the box as the clock wound down.
Three minutes into the second half, the ball came out of the 18-yard box and into the path of the Bulls' Courtney Mann. Mann hit a long shot that very nearly found the back of the net, but Underwood made an impressive leaping save, just tipping the ball over the crossbar.
At the other end, Wideman nearly got through for a breakaway in the 50th minute. But, as she looked to get a shot off, a Bulls defender blocked it at the last minute.
In the 55th minute, however, the visitors equalized off of a penalty kick. A UB midfielder played a diagonal ball through the box, but a BG defender could not avoid the ball, and it skipped off of her and out of bounds for a corner kick.
Sophire Therien took that kick, and her ball found Megan Giesen. Giesen redirected the corner kick toward the far post, where Markiewicz was waiting. The UB freshman hit a turnaround shot that tied the match at the 54:15 mark. Therien and Giesen drew assists on the play.
Wideman, who was a thorn in the Bulls' collective side all night, worked to win the ball back after BG nearly lost it in the 57th minute of play. The BG junior maintained possession while hounded by several UB defenders on the right side of the box, then fired a shot from a seemingly impossible angle. The shot was on frame, however, forcing Wheldon to leap and make the save.
As the match passed the hour mark, Wideman again looked to give her team the lead once again. Tobin found Johnson with a pass, and Johnson in turn gave the ball to Wideman down the left side. Wideman made a nifty spin move, cut back to elude a defender and brought the ball toward the center of the field. She hit a long shot that briefly seemed ticketed for the upper-right-hand corner, but Wheldon made the save.
In the 63rd minute of play, Therien crossed a dangerous-looking ball into the box at the BG end, with Kerr lurking at the far post. But, Falcon freshman Haley Parkinson not only headed the ball away from Kerr, but also directed it into space, avoiding giving up a corner kick and enabling a teammate to clear the ball out of danger.
The Bulls had another good chance with just over 20 minutes left, as Mann again fired a shot after a ball came to her just outside the box. The shot, hit with force, forced Underwood to dive to her left to make another impressive stop, and the BG defense cleared the rebound out of the danger zone.
Still, the visitors kept coming. With roughly 18 minutes left, Markiewicz got her head on a cross, sending the ball just over the goal, and Kerr fired a shot that hit the woodwork not long after. Kerr's shot hit the right goalpost where it meets the crossbar, and the ball bounded away.
Kerr had another chance just a few moments later, but junior Alyssa Carmack lunged to block her shot deep in the box. But, the Bulls had all the momentum, and the visitors eventually struck again.
A cross from the left side found the head of Giesen, who was facing away from goal near the end line. Giesen headed the ball behind her, and Kerr was waiting at the far post. Kerr and a BG defender battled for the ball near that post, and the ball popped up into the air. When it came down, Thompson was waiting on the doorstep, and she hit her shot into the top of the net for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
BG had three shot attempts over the final eight minutes, but efforts by senior Sarah VonderBrink and sophomore Sidney Huth were blocked by defenders. When redshirt sophomore Amanda Nelson's offering was saved by Wheldon with just over 20 seconds remaining, the Bulls had the victory.
Wheldon made five saves for the visitors, who had a 5-2 advantage in corner kicks on the evening.