If the men’s soccer team’s 2-0 victory over the Nazareth College Golden Flyers on Tuesday night had to boil down to a single play, it would probably be an instance in the first half in which 5-foot-5-inch junior midfielder Timmer McCarthy outworked a 6-foot Nazareth midfielder to get his head on the ball and direct it back to the foot of his teammate. While the play might have seemed minor at the time, it signified a theme that was present in Tuesday’s match and that has permeated UR’s season as a whole the idea of hard work and effort.
On Tuesday, nowhere was this more present than in the ‘Jackets’ offensive play. UR who recently broke into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s national top-25 poll for the first time this season generated 20 shots throughout the game, nine of which were on Flyer goalie Ryan Platt. In the final minutes of the first half, UR’s persistence finally paid off. The ‘Jackets earned a penalty kick after Nazareth was called for a hand ball in the box.
Junior defender Phil Proud whose cool demeanor on the back line has earned him a starting position the past two years took the kick and beat Platt with a hard-driven ball to the top right corner of the goal.
UR pressed relentlessly after halftime in pursuit of an insurance goal. Senior midfielder Sean Hantes came particularly close a couple times, registering a header midway through the period that clanged off the crossbar.
Hantes was mentioned on the University Athletic Association Honor Roll this past week for his two-goal performance against St. John Fisher College last Wednesday.
The ‘Jackets broke Platt for the second time with 20 minutes left to play. Sophomore defender Misha Carrel-Thomas stepped by a Nazareth defender on the right side of the pitch and chipped a cross into the box for junior forward J.J. Dennstedt, who got his head on the ball and redirected it into the top right corner of the goal.
Dennstedt leads UR, along with Hantes, in goals for the season, registering three scores through six games.
UR’s defense was solid against a mediocre attack on the part of the Flyers. The ‘Jacket back line didn’t give up a shot or corner kick in the game, and Nazareth hardly possessed the ball past half field. Sophomore goalie Michael Peacock earned his fourth win and fifth shutout of the year.
The ‘Jackets’ first real test of the season will come on Saturday, when they take on No. 7 Hobart College, according to the most recent NSCAA national poll, in Fauver Stadium at 1:30 p.m. Last year, Hobart beat UR during the regular season, but the ‘Jackets got the better of them in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Following Hobart, UR has two more games before it begins conference play.
The ‘Jackets are slated as third in the UAA’s preseason poll behind Emory University and Washington University in St. Louis. UR is currently 4-0-2.
Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.