A coach will always tell his or her players that defense wins games, and this was the case for the women’s soccer team when they won the Flower City Tournament this past weekend. Throughout the two games of the tournament, the Yellowjackets allowed a total of three shots on goal, two of which were saves by the sophomore goaltender Molly Leitch.Game One of the tournament featured No. 15 Mary Washington College, a team respected for its defense. The Yellowjackets chipped away at MWC with six shots on goal in the first half. The offense applied similar pressure in the second half getting off another six shots on the net. However, the team was able to convert one of those shots into a goal.With 16 minutes of regulation time remaining, junior Mary Walsh launched a pass from freshman Kelsey Turley into the back of the net scoring the lone goal of the game.Defense for the Yellowjackets came up big, which Leitch extolled as a important factor for the weekend victory.”Our defense is tough,” Leitch said. “We win balls in the air, and we attack a lot out of the back, which catches a lot of teams off guard.”The team continued to show its defensive prowess going into game two of the tournament against No. 21 Gettysburg College. Offense applied light pressure in the first half, challenging the Gettysburg goaltender with two shots. The Yellowjackets turned up the heat in the second half though with six shots, one of them turning into a goal.The game-winner and lone goal came from the defensive end of the Yellowjackets. It was junior Stephanie Klenotich who grooved a 30-yarder just under the crossbar to help the Yellowjackets secure the Flower City Tournament title. Throughout the span of the two games, the defense played an integral part in the team’s victories. Their level of performance set the tone for the entire weekend. “They clear balls and shut down so many opportunities for the other team and help the offense,” Leitch said. The culminating point of the tournament came at the awards ceremony where the Yellowjackets took the title and Klenotich took home the Most Valuable Player award, capping an excellent stint for the defensive squad. Klenotich credits her team for achieving the award, but also views the title as an acknowledgement of her skills on the field as a Yellowjacket. “In looking back at the player I was when I got here, it made me reflect on the player I have become and it certainly felt good,” said Klenotich.The University Athletic Association also recognized Klenotich’s performance in the Flower City Tournament by naming her the Univer-sity Athletic Association Athlete of the Week.This season, the women’s soccer team looks forward to a lot more competition in the Division III. Sixty teams are competing for a spot in the NCAA tournament, which leaves little room for error. Capturing the Flower City title gets the team off to a great start before the regular season commences this Saturday. “[The win this weekend] gives us momentum and confidence going into the season,” said Leitch. Right now the team is ranked 6th in the NCAA Division III National rankings for this week. On Saturday the team travels to take on the cross-town rival St. John Fisher College Cardinals. Serafini can be reached at jserafini@campustimes.org.

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