BUFFALO, NY - Despite a nearly 3-1 advantage in shots, the Bulls offense came up just short of handing Eastern Michigan its first Mid American Conference loss. A single goal off a deflected save proved to be the only score in the game as the Bulls fell 1-0 at UB Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Buffalo dictated play throughout the game, but Eastern Michigan capitalized with aggressive counterattacks in the first half, one of which led to its goal. Paige Sheridan, the Eagles' leading scorer this season, took a low shot to the left side of the net which was turned away by diving freshman keeper Ainsley Wheldon. But much like Wheldon's final goal allowed against Central Michigan, the rebound off the save landed on the wrong team's foot, as Sheridan followed her shot and put home the carom in the 15th minute.
The Bulls found much of its offensive success through set pieces in the game, with three solid attempts foiled just in front of the net coming from free kicks and corner kicks. The best chance for the team came in the waning minutes of the first half, as a free kick from sophomore Natasha Arana found its way in to the heart of the box, and a point-blank shot from senior Julie Dale was saved by the Eagles' goalie.
"Today I thought we did everything you needed to do to win a soccer game but put the ball in the net and I think we've had four or five games that way," coach Michael Thomas said. "I firmly believe that once we breakthrough with one or two goals, we'll break through with five goals."
The Bulls offense ran strong through junior Aubrey Stahl, who put three of her four total shots on goal, including a run off a through-ball in the first half that was barely snuffed out by the goalie. Buffalo ended up taking 21 shots while only giving up eight. The 21 shots set a new season high for the team.
"Aubrey had a great week of training, Thomas said. "This was a perfect game for her, she was active and she was winning tackles and I was really proud of her winning a couple headers. It was clear that Aubrey came to play today."
The loss drops the team to 0-5-1 in MAC play and 1-12-1 overall. Next up will be a Ball State team that has also struggled in conference action. Kickoff Friday will be at 7:00 pm at UB Stadium.