by Jen Seferiadis
Campus Times Staff
Undefeated through their first three games, the men?s soccer team is off to a strong start under the guidance of new head coach Chris Apple, UR alumnus of 1991.
The Yellowjackets, who are now 3-0 overall, tallied wins against local competitors Nazareth College, St. John Fisher, and SUNY Geneseo this past week.
On Sept. 1, after falling behind early in the first half, UR rallied to capture a 3-1 win against Nazareth away from their home turf. Senior midfielder and captain Ramzi Sidani scored the equalizer at the end of the first half off a pass from sophomore defender Mike Springer.
Sophomores Nate Giordano and Matt Lilienfeld clinched the win for the Yellowjackets, as they both scored within seven minutes of each other in the second half.
Apple praised the team?s efforts against Nazareth, in what he feels has been the team?s best overall performance so far.
?We controlled the ball and the tempo of the game,? said Apple. ?Other than the early mistake, we were very much in control of the entire game.?
UR continued their winning ways as they host-ed St. John Fisher College Tuesday, Sept. 4 at Fauver Stadium.
Once again, the Yellow-jackets were forced to come from behind after allowing a goal within the first two minutes of play. Springer tied it up with his second goal of the season off a corner kick from junior midfielder Jeff Parrinello, and junior forward Jacques Appleby followed suit nine minutes later off a pass from junior midfielder Alex Haas to put UR up 2-1.
The Cardinals were able to equalize the score at the end of the first half, but Springer put home the game-winner midway through the second half off a pass from junior midfielder Paul Lehmann, as UR finished with a 3-2 win.
Apple commended the team?s efforts in the second half, as they ?showed a lot of character in responding to a lot of adversity, and didn?t allow external factors to knock them off their game.?
UR finished off a three-game week Saturday with a 2-1 overtime victory against SUNY Geneseo. Sophomore midfielder Mike Chen scored both goals for the Yellow-jackets, including a game-winner that Apple described as a ?fabulous goal.?
?[The goal] was especially rewarding because he had had such a great game,? said Apple. ?Getting the game-winner was the icing on the cake.?
Rounding out a busy week, Apple was pleased that the team was able to ?get the result against such a motivated opponent after a long week.?
In their upcoming games, UR will face ?much tougher opponents,? Apple said.
?We?ll need to clamp down defensively and work to string together some shut-outs,? said Apple. ?We have four very good defenders and a great keeper. We need to eliminate mistakes out of the back and work to execute all 90 minutes without losing focus.?
Overall, pleased with his team?s recent success, Apple was especially impressed with Springer?s performance as he has tallied two goals and two assists in the first three games.
?Mike Springer has had a great early part to the season. He has been dominant defensively with tackles and in the air.?
Key to the team?s continued success will be contributions from the bench, said Apple, who credited players like Giordano, Sidani, Haas and sophomore midfielder Nick Wheeler for ?sparking? the team off the bench.
?We?ve got to have the mentality that guys off the bench improve and not just sustain the level of play in order to have a great season,? Apple said.
Jen Seferiadis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org