After defeating Amherst College in the Sweet 16, UR Men’s Soccer fell 2–0 to Messiah College in the Elite Eight on Sunday, ending the team’s postseason run. Rochester faced Messiah on its home turf in Grantham, Pennsylvania.
The first scoring opportunity for the Yellowjackets came in the 18th minute when sophomore midfielder Josh Cooley worked his way from the left side of the pitch, but his shot was blocked to the side for a corner kick. The first half remained scoreless.
In the second half, the ‘Jackets came up short. In the 62nd minute, the Falcons chipped the ball toward the right side of the net. Senior goalkeeper Redd Brown jumped back to catch the ball.
But two minutes later, the Falcons crossed the ball from the left wing and headed it into the net. The ‘Jackets were down 1–0, but they had come back before in the playoffs.
In the 81st minute, hopes of a comeback were silenced. Colby Thomas of the Falcons drove into the box from the right wing and passed it to Nick West, who shot a goal past the dive of Redd Brown. West nearly had another goal in the 88th minute, but his shot hit the post.
In the Sweet 16, the ‘Jackets faced Amherst College. They started off with a strong attack with a header by sophomore midfielder Zach Lawlor off a corner that barely missed the net.
The Mammoths struck first. In the 21st minute, Amherst set up for a corner kick. Off the cross, Kyle Kelly perfectly timed his jump and headed the ball in, despite the several defenders in the area. The Mammoths kept the score at 1–0 for the remainder of the first half by focusing on defense to protect their lead.
In the second half, the ‘Jackets were finally able to break through. In the 72nd minute, senior midfielder Alex Di Perna got off a low shot, which was blocked, but senior forward Geoffrey Rouin scored on the rebound, tying the game.
Just a couple minutes later, the ‘Jackets went on the offensive again, forcing a corner kick. On the corner, senior Stefan Sarkovich made a short pass to junior midfielder Bryce Ikeda, who sent the ball into the box where it was headed in by Rouin. Rouin’s two-goal game moved him into the top-10 for single-season goals for Rochester. It was also the third straight game that the ‘Jackets won 2–1 with the winning goal coming late in the game.
Across their season, the ‘Jackets defeated fifth-ranked SUNY Oneonta and no. 16 Amherst College in the playoffs. They made it to the Elite Eight, just the second time the team had gone so far in the tournament. They end the season 14–4–3, and have high hopes for the next one.