Sophomore midfielder Scott Zorn wasn’t the only one stunned 1:07 into a windy, rain-drenched men’s soccer game against Rochester Institute of Technology Tuesday night.
Probably because when you send a ball into your opponent’s zone when you’re 70 yards away from their goal, the ball isn’t supposed to go into the back of their net.
But Zorn’s intended clear did just that against the Tigers two nights ago, skipping over the head of RIT goalie Ben Frazier and leaving the entire RIT team shocked by the sudden 0-2 deficit it found itself in so early in the matchup.
‘We knew the field was going to be slick, so if we could get a lot of shots, the goalie would struggle with the skip, and it showed on Zorn’s goal,” senior forward Scott Cady said.
Zorn’s score wasn’t the first tally the ‘Jackets registered on Tuesday night, as the team took advantage of a three-goal first half en route to a 3-1 victory over its cross-town rivals.
A mere 13 seconds into the game, senior forward J.J. Dennstedt played a leading pass to Cady, who ran onto the ball and hit a shot past Frazier into the left corner of the net.
After UR established a 2-0 lead, play settled down, but the physicality of the game picked up. By the end of the first half, the Yellowjackets held an edge in a number of statistical categories, including one you don’t necessarily want fouls.
Five minutes into the game, Dennstedt attempted to run onto a ball played into the RIT box. Frazier came out of the goal to go for the ball and met Dennstedt, who tried to kick the ball past Frazier. The two collided, leaving Dennstedt on the ground and the RIT players irate at the Yellowjacket forward for running into their net minder. One Tiger player retaliated, but neither Dennstedt nor the RIT player were carded for their conduct.
Nevertheless, the play set the tone for how the match would be played. By the end of the game, UR had accrued 18 fouls, RIT had seven, and both teams saw a number of their players hit the turf.
‘There is more emotion in the game, every ball is fiercely contested and neither team wants to concede an inch,” head coach Chris Apple said of the rivalry. ‘It makes for a fast-paced, high intensity match.”
With just under 27 minutes left in the half, the Tigers narrowed the Yellowjackets’ lead. RIT forward Dom Coleprete lofted a ball over the heads of UR defenders into the box, ran onto it and hit a shot that made it past Yellowjacket senior goalie Michael Peacock. The goal was just the fifth allowed by Peacock and the UR defense in nine games this season.
The ‘Jackets soon rebuilt their two-goal lead. Eight minutes after the Tigers cut the deficit to one, Dennstedt put the game out of reach, scoring the final goal of the game on a turn-around shot from the left side of the box that slid past Frazier into the lower right corner of the box.
Dennstedt and Cady lead the team in goals scored this season with four apiece.
With the win, UR enters University Athletic Association play this weekend 6-0-2 and as the only UAA team still undefeated. The ‘Jackets also moved up seven spots this past week to No. 13 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll.
On Saturday, the men will host New York University, who enters the contest at 4-5. But while the UAA one of the toughest conferences in Division III soccer will undoubtedly offer a challenging schedule, Cady is enthusiastic about UR’s chances.
‘Our team is freaking awesome,” he said. ‘Once we really get rolling, I wouldn’t be surprised if we scored 15 goals in a game.”
Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.