Men?s soccer won its third Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship on Sunday Nov. 12 with a 1-0 victory over Nazareth College at SUNY Fredonia.
Sophomore Jacques Appleby scored for the Yellowjackets midway through the first half as UR was able to hold on to its lead for the rest of the game thanks in part to freshman goalkeeper Peter Schatz who made 13 saves. Senior Matt Frank assisted on the goal.
?We were ready for it. We practiced hard leading up to the tournament,? freshman Brandon Laws said.
?Not making NCAAs didn?t change our preparation. We were ready,? Laws said.
The goal for Appleby was his ninth on the season.
The ECAC crown was the second under head coach Mike Pilger?s tenure. His first title came in 1994. UR?s first-ever championship was captured in 1983.
?It was great to win the ECAC?s,? said Laws. ?It took the sting out of missing the NCAA tournament.?
The Yellowjackets found its way into the finals of the tournament after disposing of SUNY Geneseo 3-0 Nov. 11.
In the game versus Geneseo, senior co-captain Dan Ruegg notched one assist on his way to earning the Most Outstanding Player award for the tournament.
His steady play on defense and the leadership he displayed was the deciding factor in the award going his way.
The ECAC title was particularly sweet for the Yellowjackets, who were in position to make the NCAA tournament at season?s end. A devastating loss to St. Lawrence University in the final regular season game of the year dashed the Yellowjackets? hopes of making an NCAA tournament appearance.
?We were really upset that we didn?t make the tournament,? said junior Ramzi Sidani.?When we saw who we were playing and the quality teams that were in the ECAC tournament, we refocused and all we thought about was winning it.?
Win is exactly what the Yellowjackets did. All season UR found ways to win even after trailing in many games going into the second half and late into the game.
The Yellowjackets climbed to No. 10 in the national rankings this season on their way to a 14-3-1 overall record.
?Even though we didn?t make NCAAs, this season was big success for us,? Sidani said.
?It has been a huge improvement from the last two seasons and with the great freshman we got, we?re going to look to take it farther next season,? he added.