A lively and lengthy game ended in a 1–0 victory for the Yellowjackets over the SUNY Geneseo Knights on Tuesday.
The large and excitable crowd contrasted sharply with the pace of the match. Over the first 108 minutes of play there were many near misses, but not a single goal was scored. This did not stop the players, the coaches, or the crowd from bringing excitement and energy to the game. The Yellowjackets’ persistence carried them to a 1–0 win with barely a minute remaining.
This was not the first close game for the Yellowjackets, and that experience may have helped them prepare. In an email, UR Head Coach Chris Apple wrote, “Four out of our five games [were] decided by a single goal. Tight games are always demanding physically and emotionally […] I’ve been really pleased with the way the team has responded to these challenges.” At the start of the game both teams had offensive opportunities, but neither could take full advantage. Several crosses from the Yellowjackets’ wingers sailed right across the goal before the Knights sent the ball back down the field. Much of the Yellowjackets’ early offensive production built through captain and senior midfielder Mitch Volis, who also worked hard on defense to maintain possession. Later in the game first-year midfielder Tony Hysper made his presence known, leading to a strong advantage in possession for the Yellowjackets in the second half.
The ‘Jackets’ back four created a wall, holding the Knights scoreless, and only requiring two saves from junior goalie Hugh Curran. When Curran’s efforts were required, he delivered in spectacular fashion. Following an excellent display of touch on the ball which carried him through more than one Yellowjackets defender, SUNY Cortland’s first-year forward Adam Astarita had a one-on-one with the goalie from only a few yards away, only to have his shot smothered by Curran who laid out to stop the shot.
Early in the game there was a heated exchange between Apple and a referee, who regularly stopped the flow of play to correct the locations of throw-ins and free kicks from both sides. A missed call midway through the second half for a trip on senior forward Aiden Miller left Miller seething, but he returned to play impressively, if angrily.
Fans cheered the home team, and had some lighthearted (and some slightly less light-hearted) taunts prepared for the visitors. One fan asked if Knights’ senior captain Matt Pike shared an acquaintance and Pike replied, “Yeah, actually, I do.” Some other comments included questions about SUNY Geneseo players’ hair styles and the officials’ eyesight.
After two full halves of play, one overtime and the better part of another, the Yellowjackets found their opportunity. A throw in from the baseline was knocked out by the Knights’ defense only to be sent back in by senior defender Mouhammed Thiam for a sudden death win in at minute 108.