It had been seven years since Canisius College women's soccer last beat the University at Buffalo, and when the Bulls' Carissima Cutrona scored four minutes into Tuesday's clash, the trend seemed likely to continue.
Not so fast.
Canisius freshman Emily Porteous equalized on a right-footed blast in the 69th minute, then classmate Shauna Lee finished a counterattack spurred by Gretta Dry in the first overtime to send Todd Clark's team to a 2-1 victory at Demske Sports Complex. The Griffs' record improves to 2-1, while UB falls to 0-3.
"Our seniors haven't beaten UB. It's always been a 3-0 loss," said junior defender Melanie Linsmair. "[To win,] especially after going down a goal, we have great players coming in off the bench and making a difference."
Clark juxtaposed his team's performance at home Tuesday with the Griffs' 2-0 loss on the road against Toledo.
"This team [from today] didn't show up against Toledo," Clark recalled. "We weren't as gritty, we weren't as nasty, we weren't as tough.
"Against a better UB team [than Toledo], we were resilient - definitely a day of bending and not breaking. Who knows what would happen if we played them tomorrow, but we're not going to play them tomorrow."
1-0, UB, 4': A dream start for Shawn Burke and his Bulls, as a short pass from Rebecca Bramble found Carissima Cutrona with a bit of space on the left side of the box. The Williamsville South alum curled a left-footed shot over the head of Canisius goalkeeper Alana Rossi for the early advantage.
It was Cutrona's first goal of the fall season after potting 11 for the Western New York Flash of United Women's Soccer this summer, which earned her a place on the all-league first team.
1-1, 69': Canadian freshman Emily Porteous made the most of her first minute on the field, settling a deflection about 25 yards out, dribbling a few yards forward and rifling a right-footed shot off the left upright and into the back of the net.
2-1, Canisius, 98' (first OT): Sophomore forward Gretta Dry dribbled at speed at the heart of the University at Buffalo defense before picking out freshman forward Shauna Lee for the golden goal.
"TC [head coach Todd Clark] was telling everyone that we had time and not to just kick it," Dry explained after the match, "so I got the ball and saw I had time in front of me and I drew the defender in, saw [Lee] and just laid the ball off."
GAME FLOW: UB was all over the Griffs from the get-go and sustained pressure even after Cutrona put the visitors in front. Four minutes after the goal, a smart overlapping run by UB freshman fullback Marcy Barberic was picked out by Julia Benati, and Barberic's cross narrowly missed Cutrona's head for a brace.
Seconds after, a wise pass from Petrie found Gianna Yurchak alone in front of Rossi, but the Griffs' backstop came off her line to smother. In the 10th minute, a curling shot by Moira Petrie seemed destined for the left upper-90, but Canisius' Rossi backpedaled then left her feet to push the ball over the crossbar.
Canisius finally dug their heels in and disrupted UB's offensive rhythm. Linsmair, center back partner Emily Czechowski, outside back Emily Kuta and terrific freshman Maggie Canitia all raised their level for the final 65 minutes, preventing the golden chances that the Bulls found early on. The defensive responsibility of Dry and Lee also made it more difficult for the Bulls to build out from the back.
"Some of the other teams two or three years ago probably would have [been defeated] because of our own youth," Clark explained, "but now we're a little more resilient because we're a little more experienced - we've been through it a little more."
DISCONSOLATE UB: An uncomfortable silence lingered around the Bulls bench after the match, as the team that expected to win came to grips with a troubling defeat against a local rival. Head coach Shawn Burke didn't mince words.
"The result speaks for itself," he said flatly. "I think we have a lot of girls right now that need to take a good look in the mirror. Canisius changed a few things on us and we got rattled - we didn't adjust - and when it got hard we became very individualistic, and they abandoned everything that they worked on."
Burke wasn't impressed by his team's significant edge in possession, largely because it didn't produce enough goals - or even threatening chances.
"I think our team is OK with having the ball for good spells, then it becomes a race when we get into the final third," the Bulls' fourth-year head coach said. "That's where we need the most composure. Yeah, we had the ball whole time but I don't know how dangerous we were. I still don't know if our goal was even off our foot.
"[The game] got to what Canisius wanted - a frantic pace - and it became a track meet, and we couldn't deal with a simple ball in."
Canisius: Alana Rossi; Maggie Canitia, Emily Czechowski, Melanie Linsmair, Emily Kuta; Hope Gilchrist, Maddie Good, Madeline Beaulieu, Shawna Adams; Gretta Dry, Shauna Lee. Subs used: Emily Porteous, Taylor Kugler, Lexi Henderson, Savannah Jonathan, Amanda Wisbeck, Paige Buscaglia, Alicia Larsson-Vahlberg.
University at Buffalo: Laura Dougall; Rebecca Bramble, Meghan Simmons, Gurjeena Jandu, Marcy Barberic; Julia Benati; Rebecca Bramble, Carissima Cutrona, Moira Petrie, Kara Daly; Gianna Yurchak. Subs used: Mairead Martin, Kaitlyn Walsh, Mackenzie Allen, Rachel Villalta, Kayla Hospodka.
NEXT MATCHES: Canisius remain at home for a 5 p.m. match Sept. 1 vs. Oakland. The Bulls host Youngstown State at 7 p.m. Sept. 3.
COMING SOON: Season outlook posts for all four Big 4 women's programs.