The UR men’s soccer team had a tough task ahead of them this week and they more than rose to the challenge. They faced two road games in four days against quality opponents, and came home with two huge victories.
Last Saturday the Yellowjackets continued their winning ways, defeating the Clarkson University Golden Knights 2-0 in Potsdam, N.Y. Freshman striker Jon Allen scored his second goal of the season by capitalizing on a defensive error by the Golden Knights. Senior midfielder Alex Haas sealed the victory in the early second half with a well placed volley from outside the box.
The Yellowjackets dominated the offense, outshooting the Golden Knights 11-2 and winning 10 corner kicks. Junior goalkeeper Brian Minehan, last week’s UAA defensive player of the week, recorded his second straight shutout.
Head Coach Chris Apple said, “We played well for 90 minutes, we controlled play and created more chances.”
Next up for UR was the Ithaca Bombers on Tuesday night. The Yellowjackets traveled to Ithaca knowing that the Bombers had forced the game into overtime in their last two meetings. The two teams again needed overtime to decide their contest, and UR prevailed for the third consecutive time 2-1.
The Yellowjackets started strong, controlling play in the first half. Apple commented, “We had the ball the whole time.” Finally, the deadlock was broken in the last minute of the half when senior midfielder Matt Lillienfield received a pass from junior midfielder Ben Cross and buried his first time shot.
The Bombers began the second half applying heavy pressure and were rewarded for their efforts in the 56 minute when Benjamin Visnyei found space at the top of the box and finished well. UR had some good chances from freshmen striker Jon Allen and senior striker Jacques Appleby, but regulation time expired with the teams deadlocked at 1-1.
Six minutes into the first overtime period six Yellowjackets combined in what Apple described as “some of our best soccer of the year.” The play ended up with junior midfielder Nick Wheeler driving a hard cross in from the left wing that freshmen striker Nate Micklos finished with a skilful deflection off his chest for his third goal of the year.
Immediately the bench was cleared as the team stormed the field and swarmed Wheeler and Micklos.
Wheeler, one of the heroes of this game played a similar role last season when his clinical finish two minutes from time forced the extra period. He said, “Ithaca is always a tough game. We wanted it more when it counted, we were just hungrier.”
The Yellowjackets improve to 4-1-1 and have broken into the national rankings for the first time this season at number 21. They return home this Saturday, September 28th to take on University Athletic Association rival New York University at 7:30 p.m. at Fauver Stadium.
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