The Oswego State women’s soccer team’s chances at qualifying for the SUNYAC playoffs were dealt a stunning setback after a 2-1 loss to Buffalo State Friday at Laker Field.
An own goal by defender Brooke Sherman in the 41st minute proved to be the game-winner for Buffalo State, as they dominated possession throughout the game to earn their first SUNYAC victory of the season.
Sherman’s own goal was the result of a mass scramble in front of the net, as each team battled for possession. The play started on Buffalo State sophomore forward Hannah Williams’s corner kick. She served the ball into the box where Laker and Bengal players fought for possession. The ball eventually found its way into the back of the net off the foot of Sherman. The goal proved to be a devastating blow to the Lakers’ confidence going into halftime.
"They just outworked us straight from the start of the game," coach Brian Mcgrane said. "They just had more energy than us. I don’t know what the problem was. This team does a lot of yapping away and then all of the sudden we come out and lay an egg. We’re a young team that’s not used to a lot of success and we haven’t (had much) in the past three of four years."
"I don’t even know what was going on with us today," senior midfielder and co-captain Julie McCloskey said. "We had a good week of practice and our attitude was right. We were pumped up, but then Buffalo State came out and scored the first goal, which always gets us down."
Coming off an impressive weekend that included wins over SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Potsdam, the Lakers didn’t appear to have the energy to keep up with the Bengals. Buffalo State drew first blood in the physical match at the ten minute mark of the first half when sophomore midfielder Kristina Boberskyj scored off an indirect kick. Off an Oswego State foul, Bengals junior forward Barb Kiliszek fired the indirect kick from the right side of the field to the box, where Boberskyj leaped up and headed the ball past Lakers freshman goalie Christina Fregosi.
"The only mistakes we made were off of re-starts," McGrane said. "When a team’s beating you in the midfield on anything in the air, the last thing you got to give up is restarts and free kicks inside of 25 yards. They got to shots right in the box and finished them both."
Despite the loss, the Lakers were able to accomplish something against Buffalo State that they hadn’t been able to do since Sept. 30, 2005: score a goal. Coming into the contest, Oswego State had not scored against the Bengals since a 2-1 double overtime victory in 2005; a span of 270 minutes. The goal-less streak finally came to an end in the 34th minute when freshman forward Michelle Bateman tied the game at one. Senior forward Tricia Sullivan dribbled the ball to the middle of the field where she found Bateman on the right side of the offensive zone. Bateman beat Buffalo State senior goalie Meghan Jarrell on her left side for her team-leading thirteenth goal of the season. The team’s only goal of the game ended the streak at 303:20.
"I thought (the Buffalo State defense) did a great job," McGrane said. "To our demise, we played slow and they seemed to be in a quicker mode. Some days I know if the girls are ready to go and some days I don’t and today they just didn’t seem to have it."
Bateman’s goal ties her for eighth all-time in Oswego State women’s soccer history in single season goals and puts her all alone in eighth in points in a single season with 30.
Buffalo State came into the game with a 2-3-5 overall record, but McGrane believes that his team did not look ahead to Saturday’s game on senior day.
"With tomorrow being senior day, I don’t want to say that we looked past this game but I don’t think we came out with the right mentality that we needed to," McGrane said. "That’s probably on myself and the coaching staff for not getting them ready to do but when it comes to conference play, we should know that every game matters regardless of if we’re playing a team that is 0-10 or 10-0. On any given day anybody can beat anybody."
The loss makes Saturday’s game against SUNY Fredonia that much more important for the Lakers. Oswego State sits in the sixth and final playoff spot, holding a two point advantage over both Buffalo State and SUNY Geneseo.