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5 home college matches to watch: Oct. 19-23

1) University at Buffalo men (9-3-1, 1-1 MAC) host Western Michigan University (8-4-3, 0-0-2 MAC), 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at UB Stadium.

Why you should go: Bulls-Broncos is the marquee local match of the weekend, as the Mid-American Conference gauntlet continues to unfold.

UB helped itself with a 2-1 win over West Virginia on the road, but three points at home against a perennial title contender would put the Bulls on the cusp of clinching a playoff spot [MAC standings here]. In fact, six points in the MAC has been enough for the No. 4 seed since the conference shrank to six squads after 2013.

I'm sure UB head coach Stu Riddle would prefer to go into the final two MAC matches - especially the finale at Bowling Green - with a playoff spot comfortably locked up. Talking points abound before Friday's tilt, as Riddle guided the Broncos from 2009-2012 before arriving at UB in 2013, taking Western to the conference finals in two of those four years. The New Zealand native originally recruited star midfielder Russell Cicerone to Western before convincing him to follow his path to Buffalo.

The Broncos have bitter recent memories of the Bulls, who came back at the death to draw Western in the 2015 MAC semifinals, then beat them on Cicerone's wind-aided overtime golden goal.

Russell Cicerone is one point away from 100 for his career. (Don Nieman/Special to The News)

Russell Cicerone is one point away from 100 for his career. (Don Nieman/Special to The News)

[Related: A likely pro, Russell Cicerone took an unusual route to stardom]

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2) Buffalo State women (12-1-2, 7-0 SUNYAC) host Oneonta, 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at Coyer Field.

Why you should go: Quick - what local college soccer team owns the best win percentage so far this year? That's the Buffalo State women, who are unblemished in conference play, recently carried a shutout streak that lasted over 14.5 hours of game action and are now ranked No. 22 among D3 teams in the nation. The Bengals trot out talent all over the pitch and boast an entire team that's willing to defend.

Oneonta, though, was the last SUNYAC team to topple the Bengals, ending their 2015 season in the conference finals. This year, the Red Dragons dropped a conference tilt to Cortland, but they've won four straight SUNYAC matches, allowing just one goal in that span. Both teams start a terrific true freshman in goal - Taylor Carillo for Buffalo State, Emilie Mull for Oneonta.

[Related: 5 reasons to be excited about Buffalo State women's soccer]

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3) Canisius College women (6-7 overall, 4-3 MAAC) host Monmouth (10-4-1, 7-0 MAAC), 1 p.m. Oct. 22 at Demske Sports Complex.

Why you should go: The Griffs, perhaps the biggest overachievers of any Big 4 team this year, are in the thick of the playoff race in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, but they cannot afford to drop points this week. Their first match, at 3 p.m. Oct. 19 vs. St. Peter's (0-6-1 MAAC), shouldn't be overlooked, but a trouncing of the Peacocks is expected.

Saturday's clash, however, pits the Griffs against conference leaders Monmouth, winners of seven straight. Canisius lost decisively, 5-0, to the Hawks last season, but the resurgent side - while still heavy underdogs - won't back down in 2016.

[Related: More about Canisius' young, feisty squad]

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4) University at Buffalo women (6-7-3, 3-4-1 MAC) host Eastern Michigan (5-8-3, 3-4-1 MAC) at 7 p.m. Oct. 20, then Central Michigan (13-1-2, 5-1-2 MAC) at noon Oct. 23 at UB Stadium.

Why you should go: It hasn't been smooth sailing for Shawn Burke's Bulls this year, as consistent results - and consistent offense - have been tough to come by. UB has scored one goal over its last three matches - and have scored 16 goals in 16 games this season - and the continued absence of creative midfielder Julia Benati has been felt.

While eight of the 12 Mid-American Conference teams reach the postseason, UB is in a three-way tie for sixth place with three matches remaining. Williamsville South grad Carissima Cutrona has been the main source of offense, potting nine of the team's 16 tallies. You can read more about her emergence here.

Both home matches this week are important, but collecting three points from Thursday's match appear to be more manageable and would have the Bulls feeling better about their playoff chances, even if they come away with nothing on the weekend against the nation's co-leading goal scorer in Alexis Pelafas and her Chippewas.

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5) Hilbert College men (2-10-1, 0-6-1 AMCC) at D'Youville College (1-13, 1-5 AMCC), 7:15 p.m. Oct. 19 at Dobson Field at D'Youville.

Why you should go: Even though neither team looks likely for the AMCC playoffs, Hilbert and D'Youville go toe-to-toe under the lights in a match-up between area and conference rivals. There's bragging rights up for grabs, for sure, and Hilbert must deal with a D'Youville team that tasted victory for the first time this year, in a 1-0 win over Pitt-Greensburg last weekend.

Dobson Field is a gorgeous place to watch a soccer game, and there's enough names recognizable to the fairly dedicated local soccer fan.

Email Ben Tsujimoto, who's weighing if he would rather be a Jasper or a Peacock, at btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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