The UR soccer team had an eventful week, going 2-1 against some quality competition with wins over St. John Fisher College and Nazareth College sandwiched between a loss to nationally ranked Hobart College.

Against the neighboring St. John Fisher Cardinals, the ‘Jackets had some initial trouble creating any scoring opportunities.

“Then we brought six guys in off the bench and they really sparked us with their energy and attack-minded play,” head coach Chris Apple said. “[Senior forward] Boston Nyer, [sophomore defender] Cliff White, [freshman midfielder] Steve Welles, [freshman midfielder] Jimmy Parrinello, [junior midfielder] Matt O’Donnell and [junior midfielder] Dominic Pellingra collectively turned the game in our favor and we were up 2-0 at the half and remained in control throughout the rest of the match.”

The standstill was broken in the 33rd minute when Welles found the back of the net off of an assist by Nyer.

In the 38th minute, the ‘Jackets received a little help from the Cardinals. As a Yellowjacket player threw the ball in from out-of-bounds, Fisher headed the ball and knocked it into its own goal, making the score 2-0.

Midway through the second half, Fisher attempted retaliation by scoring a goal at 63:55. However, this was the only goal they were able to make all day. White rounded out the final score of 3-1 when he took the ball to the goal unassisted.

With help from the strong defensive line and a potent scoring offense, the win took the men into Saturday’s game against Hobart College with confidence.

However, in Geneva, N.Y. a number of injuries weakened the team and they struggled to keep possession and generate any scoring plays.

“We didn’t play very well; we all know we can play better,” senior back Nick Mikolenko said. “They were a very offensive team and they pressed us very well and we didn’t handle the pressure very well.”

The ‘Jackets fell behind 1-0 to the sixth ranked team in the nation and could not recover.

“We were under intense pressure in the first half and our seniors responded by holding the team together, being vocal and digging in defensively,” Apple said. “Guys like [seniors] Matt Sulkin, Nick Mikolenko, Eric Meister and Paco Corbalan showed great leadership by inspiring the team to withstand a barrage of Hobart attacks to go into half-time without conceding a goal. The second half we responded by taking over the momentum and creating several great scoring chances which we were unfortunate not to convert.”

In spite of the tough loss, Apple is confident in his team.

“I’ve been very pleased with our progress and especially with the way we have handled all the injuries and early season adversity we have faced,” Apple said. “We have had seven key contributors out with injury already during a stretch where we played four of six games on the road and three of six games against regionally or nationally ranked opponents. The team’s depth and the players’ mental toughness have been monumental in getting us through these challenges.”

“The new players are all doing great,” Apple said. “They have settled in well, they compete every day in training and their respective personalities have strengthened our team. In addition, guys like Jimmy Parrinello, Steven Welles and Matt O’Donnell have already made significant contributions on the field.”

“After the loss to Hobart, we knew we had to change and be more aggressive from the start of the game,” senior and team captain Eric Meister said. “In the game yesterday we came out flying and just put Naz under pressure.”

The pressure certainly paid off as junior forward Sean Hantes planted a hard shot past Nazareth goalkeeper Trey Barresi just three minutes into the game.

The ‘Jackets didn’t allow the pressure to stop there. The men kept their defensive pressure up all game and played with a creative passing game, creating another opportunity when Welles lined up a scoring opportunity for White. White scored his second goal of the season, solidifying the final score of 2-0.

The ‘Jackets continue their march toward the postseason by playing Salisbury University on Sunday, Sept. 23 before beginning their University Athletic Association schedule against the Brandeis University Judges next Saturday, Sept. 29.

Paret is a member of the class of 2008.



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