The UR women’s soccer team traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to close out its regular season on Saturday against the Case Western Reserve University Spartans and came away with a 1-1 double-overtime tie. The Spartans were 6-11 going into the game, 0-6 in the University Athletic Association and had held an eight-game losing streak. UR had just returned from a brutal midwest road trip the weekend before in which they dropped games to Washington University in St. Louis and University of Chicago.
The ‘Jackets kicked off the scoring midway through the first half. Freshman forward Bridgette Varin put the ball past Spartan goalie Kirsten McClain to give UR a 1-0 advantage in the 19th minute of play. Varin is the ‘Jackets’ leading goal scorer for the season with five.
The Spartans didn’t tie things up until midway through the second half on a corner kick. Junior defender Caitlin Miller knocked the ball into the UR box, where Spartan senior midfielder Bridget Mason was ready to put the ball past ‘Jacket senior goalie Molly Leitch. Case scored, despite being outshot 6-3 in the second half.
In the first overtime, the ‘Jackets held a 6-2 advantage in shots, but were unable to finish. The second overtime proved scoreless as well, giving the game its final score of 1-1.
McClain was very good for Case Western in goal, coming up with 15 stops in 110 minutes. For UR, Leitch also played well, saving nine shots in the game. The ‘Jackets had 20 shots during the game, while the Spartans had 14. UR also held a 10-4 advantage in corner kicks.
UR finished the regular season 10-5-3 and 3-2-2 in the UAA. The season included a nine-game unbeaten streak in which the ‘Jackets allowed only one goal. Leading the Yellowjackets with 12 points and six assists on the season was senior midfielder Ali Streeter. Varin and senior midfielder Tammy Brewster finished the season in second place for points with 11.
Leitch has been an anchor in net for the ‘Jackets all year long. She played in all 18 games, notched seven shutouts and gave up 13 goals during the course of the season, giving her a goals-against average of 0.77. UR was second to nationally-ranked Emory University in shutouts on the season in the UAA.
Varin’s five goals on the season put her in the top 15 in the UAA in goals scored and top 20 in goals per game. Streeter tied for seventh in the conference in assists, while freshman forward Laura Morrison and junior midfielder Laura Bojko ranked in the top 20 in assists with four apiece. Bojko also led the team in game-winning goals on the season with two.
Leitch was one of two ‘Jackets to be voted to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District One First Team this past week. The other was senior defender Ashley VanVechten, who had been elected to the All-District team once before. VanVechten has been a First Team All-American according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for two years running and was also an All-UAA First Team selection as a freshman, a sophomore and a junior. She has started 77 of 79 games in her career as a Yellowjacket and has helped UR post 48 shutouts over those four years.
In the UAA, the ‘Jackets finished fourth, just 11 points behind Wash U, Emory and Chicago.
The ‘Jackets started their postseason play on Wednesday against SUNY Fredonia as part of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship quarterfinals. Fredonia went 8-7-3 and didn’t play UR during the regular season.
The two teams battled to a 0-0 tie during regulation on Wednesday night. Both keepers’ plays made the difference during the first 90 minutes of the game. Fredonia goalie Becky Scroger had eight saves, including stopping two breakaways. In the first overtime, her save on a well-placed Varin shot was what forced the second overtime. Leitch also played well in net, tallying three saves and preserving a shutout through 110 minutes.
With the score tied after two overtimes, the game went to a shutout. The first shooters from both teams made their first shot. For UR, it was VanVechten, whose shot was to the lower right corner. Fredonia put their second shot past Leitch as well, but Scroger managed to come up with a stop against Streeter. Brewster was the next ‘Jacket up and put the ball past Scroger to tie the shutout at two. The next shot for the Blue Devils hit the post, then Varin scored giving the ‘Jackets a 3-2 lead. Scroger saved UR’s next two shots, however, and the Blue Devils capitalized, scoring on their final two shots, and winning the shoot out by a score of 4-3.
UR held a 16-4 shot advantage and a 6-1 corner kick edge. Fredonia advances to take on SUNY Brockport on Saturday. The ‘Jackets finish their season 10-6-3.
Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.