The UR women’s soccer team is now ranked 19 in the country after opening the season by winning the Flower City Classic Labor Day weekend in dominating fashion and beating St. John Fisher and SUNY-Cortland this week.
In the first round of the Classic, junior forward Alison Collins scored late in the first half to give UR a 1-0 victory over Skidmore.
The game was not as close as the score would indicate, however, as the Yellowjackets outshot Skidmore, 46-2.
Explaining the discrepancy, Gurnett said “it’s just the nature of the game. What we do is work very, very hard to make sure we’re the ones dictating the pace of the game and looking for areas to exploit the weaknesses of other teams.
“If we play our game, goal opportunities will come,” he concluded.
Goals came in the second round as the Yellowjacket blasted Clarkson 8-1. Junior midfielder Sarah Crimmins scored goals 11:32 apart in the first half and was named the tournament MVP. Junior Lindsey Reilly, who had two assists, was named the tournament’s best defender.
The girls continued their success from the Flower City Tournament as they hit the road and pounded St. John Fisher last Saturday 7-0 and beat SUNY-Cortland 2-0 Tuesday.
Sophomore forward Kristin Kelly scored a career high three goals during UR’s rout of St. John Fisher. Collins, sophomore forward Portia Bridges, freshman midfielder Kristen Leskow and senior defender Amy Kelmenson each added single goals for the Yellowjackets.
Collins opened the scoring at St. John Fisher with a blast into the top cornet of the net 2:09 into the game. The Yellowjackets never looked back, when Kelly doubled the lead at 10:24, heading in a corner kick from sophomore midfielder Karen Forsythe. Kelmenson’s chip into the box was deflected into the net by a Fisher defender at 14:50 making the score 3-0. Kelly completed her hat-trick later in the half, scoring two goals at 18:30 and 24:30. The half ended with UR up 5-0.
“We scored five goals on 10 shots in the first half,” Gurnett said. “Everything we hit was golden.
The team continued to pour it on in the second half as Bridges kncked in a headed at 56:17 and Leskow finished the onslaught at 75:23 with a 25-yarder from the left side.
In all, UR outshot the Cardinals 23-3.
Tuesday night, UR took its offensive show to Cortland, winning 2-0 and outshooting them 23-8. Collins scored both goals two minutes apart early in the second half to lead the Yellowjackets. Malecki continued her domination in goal, shutting out her third game of the season, bringing her career total to 11.
Last year’s successes
The Yellowjackets had a very successful campaign last year as they made it to the NCAA Div. III national tournament for the first time since 1998. They also went undefeated (7-0) against UAA opponents, finishing the year 13-4. The playoff run short-lived, however. They were defeated in the first round by Nazareth College 2-1.
“We had an outstanding year, it was an awful lot of fun,” Gurnett said.”We had a disappointing loss to Nazareth. They beat us in a tough game and there’s no excuses on that.”
He said that his young team had learned a lot last year and especially losing in the first round to Nazerth.
“We learned we are capable of playing well and on a high level, we learned we have to come to play every day,” and, he continued, “we learn it is so hard to win and so easy to lose.”
The team lost three seniors from last year’s team, but Garnett credited them for planting the future seeds for success.
“Anytime you lose three senior leaders like we lost it changes the dynamics of the team. But, they involved the next two classes in their decision-making process so they saw how they could make decisions and why,” he said.
Also, despite the hot start, the team hasn’t had all the right breaks this year. In the spring, sophomore defender Sarah Tarka injured her ACL and during the Fisher game, Reilly suffered a similar injury to her ACL.
Reilly is likely to be done for the year, Tarka is trying to rehab so she can make it back to the field to contribute later in the season.
“She’s trying to come back, she’s made a remarkable recovery to date,” Gurnett said.
The injuries haven’t changed the team’s goals.
“We want to compete for the leaguer championship, we want to make NCAA Div. III national tournament and we want to advance deep into the bracket there,” he said. “If we play the best soccer we’re capable of playing, it will happen.”
This weekend, UR hits the road again to play SUNY-Geneseo Saturday afternoon.
“If we go down and play the way we’re capable of playing, we can win the game,” he said. “It is just a matter of everyone making up their mind and playing our game.”
Hildebrandt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.