Saturday night the UR men’s soccer team closed out its University Athletic Association campaign with a solid victory over the visiting Brandeis Judges.
The Yellowjackets fought through the bitter cold and unrelenting snowfall to emerge as 2-1 victors, and finished 4-3 in the UAA. It was Senior Night, but the freshmen stole the show in the form of two timely goals from midfielder Nate Micklos and forward Colin Fernie. Micklos notched his eighth goal of the season when he coolly slotted home the rebound from a Fernie shot in the 76th minute.
Shortly after the goal, in a near white out, the referee stopped the game to meet with the coaches about continuing the game. The unanimous decision was to play on, despite the harsh conditions. This proved a good move for the Yellowjackets, when Fernie scored four minutes later to make it 2-0. The cap came off an assist by junior captain, Ben Cross ? the assist was Cross’ 12th of the season.
Head coach Chris Apple said of the game, “We are playing some of our best soccer of the year. Against Brandeis we dominated possession and created numerous good scoring chances.” The Yellowjackets outshot the Judges 16-3. The Yellowjackets’ only concern came right at the end of the game when Brandeis scored with 86 minutes left. According to Apple, “We need to improve our managing late in the game, it got crazy in the last five minutes.” Junioe defender Brandon Laws was responsible for containing the Judges’ leading scorer, and for his performance, along with Fernie’s, they were both named UAA Players of the Week.
This game marked the last appearance in Fauver Stadium for the team’s seven seniors. This class has left a positive legacy, consisting of a work ethic and camaraderie, which has made an impression on the underclassmen. They have set the precedent for men’s soccer, earning over 40 victories, three postseason appearances, two ECAC championships and a place in the national rankings each season. For now, however, emotions need to be put on the back burner, as UR faces Rochester Institute of Technology on Friday.
The game is traditionally a physical game, and a win will increase UR’s chance of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Currently UR is 11-4-2, with a national ranking of 16 and regional ranking of two.