They may not have qualified for the NCAA tournament, but the men’s soccer team will have an opportunity to defend their Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship this weekend at SUNY Platts-burg.

The UR men , who are 11-4-2 overall, are seeded third among four teams competing for the ECAC championship. The tournament pairs Rochester and Skidmore College, who is 12-3-1, to start off a double header at Plattsburg at 11 a.m. this Saturday.

Immediately following the game, SUNY Plattsburg, who now stands 13-4-2, and SUNY Fredonia, 14-5, square off for the second half of competition. The championship will pair the winners of both games for a Sunday afternoon match starting at 1 p.m.

Head coach Chris Apple is enthusiastic about the benefits of post-season competition in ECACs. “We have an opportunity to play two great games against great opposition,” Apple said.

“The tournament field for [the] ECACs is so strong, it might as well be the national tournament,” he added.

Skidmore enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed after finishing second in the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association based on regular season results.

Plattsburg and Fredonia finished first and second, respectively in the State University of New York’s Athletic Collegiate conference after the regular season, but were ousted from contention for an automatic NCAA bid when SUNY Cortland won the SUNYAC championships last weekend.

The Yellowjackets won last year’s ECAC competition, and are looking to finish strong at this year’s competition.

“In the NCAA tournament, there is only one opportunity for a team to finish with a win, with ECACs we have that opportunity,” Apple said.

UR concluded it’s regular season with a 2-0 loss to St. Lawrence University this past Saturday in Canton, N.Y.

The Saints have been ranked as one of the top teams in the nation all season, and are currently ranked No. 2. UR gave up one goal in each half, as St. Lawrence improved to 16-1 overall, while UR fell to 11-4-2.

“We battled and played strong defense, but didn’t mount as many offensive opportunities as I would have liked,” Apple said. “The result was fair. St. Lawrence is one of the top five teams in the country, and a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be.”

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