Men’s Soccer defeated the visiting Hobart Statesmen 2–1, running their undefeated record to 3–0–0.
In the words of junior midfielder Josh Cooley: “We strive for greatness in everything we do so we go into every match with confidence and a positive mentality.” Cooley, a biomedical engineering major from Wisconsin, has been a key contributor to the team over the last few years, most recently scoring the game winner against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Another in-form player is junior midfielder Mitch Volis, who has been a part of every goal for the team this season, scoring twice and providing one assist. Volis, a chemical engineering major from New Jersey said “we were pleased with our opening weekend performances, but we know there is still plenty of room to improve on both offense and defense.”
With the team focused in and ready to go, it lined up against Hobart College under the lights at Fauver Stadium.
As the game started, the ‘Jackets came out in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Its virtues are the two holding midfielders, who should be able to support the backline defenders but also hold possession in the midfield and boss the game from there. The disadvantage of the formation is that it leaves the striker responsible to apply pressure on the defense and often required to win the ball when isolated up top against three defenders.
The first 20 minutes of the game were uneventful as both teams struggled to establish any kind of possession or create any chances. The half ended scoreless, with six shots from the ‘Jackets and three shots from Hobart. Both teams seemed tired but not defeated as they moved into the remaining 45 minutes of play.
The beginning of the second half was also rather slow but Hobart applied the pressure, eventually forcing a save from ‘Jackets senior goalkeeper Patrick Conway.
The game changed around the 70th minute. Near the midline, the ‘Jackets won the ball and started a break towards goal. The ball was taken down the middle and kept along to the right side to senior midfielder Ryan Aspenleiter. Aspenleiter looked up, found his man, and whipped it across the box to find Cooley for the right-footed volley into the bottom left corner, breaking the deadlock of the game.
With the goal came a sense of urgency from Hobart as time was starting to wind down, but this urgency was equally matched by UR’s experience.
After a spell of pressure by Hobart, senior midfielder Bryce Ikeda received the ball in an attacking position on the left side of the field. Ikeda beat one defender, drew the Hobart goalkeeper off his line, and placed the ball at the back post where a lunging Aspenleiter was there to finish it in the 84th minute.
The game seemed to be all set and done until around the 87th minute, where in a fit of frustration, Hobart midfielder Nick Wigglesworth received a red card for attempting to stomp on a ‘Jackets player.
Despite playing down a man, Hobart scored in the 89th minute as a jumbled mess in the ‘Jackets’ defense led to Hobart midfielder Pete Critchlow finding pay dirt. However, Hobart was unable to tie the game back up, and the ‘Jackets held their one-goal lead.
Before the match, Coach Chris Apple had mentioned that the team had “been working on playing fast on attack to create quality scoring chances, and, transition quickly to defense if [they] lost the ball.” The team executed this plan throughout the game, providing excellent cover when losing the ball and moving forward with pace and purpose.
The team looks now to Sept. 11, when they face RIT at Fauver Stadium at 7 p.m. in the Hillside Community Shield Match.