The world of athletics has always been thought of as one ruled by probability. If a team is constantly taking shots on goal, making attempts at a hoop, or putting for a hole, basic statistics dictates that eventually one will go in. Eventually the team’s efforts will earn them the reward they’re after. It seems only fair.

The world of athletics, however, is not always so just. On occasion, teams will have a great many opportunities and yet somehow come up short.

In such cases, an athlete on the losing end of this conundrum must stop to grapple with the unexplainable — how, despite all the team had done, had they come up empty-handed?

The home team was forced to do just that last Saturday at Fauver Stadium. Facing University Athletic Association rival Brandeis University in front of a packed crowd, the Yellowjackets dominated possession throughout the game, taking seven corner kicks to the Judges’ one and taking nearly three times as many shots on goal.

And yet, when all things were said and done, Brandeis — who is 7-3 overall, handed UR its first loss of the season, 1-0. UR fell to 6-1-4 overall and 0-1-1 in the UAA.

While the shortage in offensive production resulted in the home team’s first loss, the Yellowjackets’ offensive struggles have been a season-long trend.

“The game was almost identical to how our season has been going,” junior midfielder/forward and the team’s leader in assists Josh Richards said. “We are struggling to find the back of the net lately, but we are outplaying our opponents. It’s been pretty frustrating.”

Richards was not far off. UR has outshot their opponents by a combined 183-102 margin in just 11 games this season, while requiring sophomore goalie Scott Garfing to make only 23 saves to the opposition’s 58.

“I thought our attack did well to create chances,” Garfing said. “If not for some great goalkeeping by Brandeis’ keeper, we would have been right back in it.”

Unfortunately for the home team, that’s exactly what the Judges’ keeper did. Brandeis goalkeeper Taylor Bracken protected his team’s lead by racking up a total of nine saves, two of which took place in the last minute, to shut down the ’Jacket’s offense and prevent any retaliation from the home team as the clock ran out.

The Yellowjacket forwards were not short on opportunities. The opening minute of the second half featured a cross from senior right midfielder Jimmy Parrinello to the left-hand side of the net.

The ball hit the left hand bar and crossbar junction before bouncing out of bounds. In the game’s final few seconds, Parrinello had a second promising shot deflected by a Brandeis defender.

Head coach Chris Apple pointed to his team’s 12 shots in the second half, compared to four on the Judges’ part, as an indicator of his team’s increased play intensity as the game progressed.

“In the second half we played with even more urgency and resolve,” Apple said. “We controlled play for long periods and created numerous scoring chances. We were just unfortunate not to finish.”

Despite the recent trouble, the team seems fully poised to make a strong run at the NCAA tournament come late October. The first step is this weekend, when UR takes on UAA powerhouses University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis.

“Going forward, we hope to erase the loss to Brandeis from our heads and start scoring some goals starting next weekend against WashU and Chicago,” Richards said.

“We have a strong group and our best soccer is still ahead of us,” Apple said. “When we put all the pieces together we are going to be a formidable opponent.”

Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014.



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