The UR men’s soccer team has just been through the most tumultuous two weeks of its young season. The team stands with a record of 6-2-1 after two convincing victories and an overtime loss in a critical conference game. Additionally, freshman striker Nate Micklos was named the University Athletic Association’s offensive Player of the Week for the week ending Oct. 2. However, things were not all positive, as senior midfielder Paul Lehmann suffered a tragic season ending knee injury.
Things began well for the Yellowjackets on Sept. 28 as they won their first conference game over New York University by a score of 3-1. Micklos scored two second half goals only minutes apart and senior forward Mike Chen added one late in the second half. This game also marked the return of key defender Nate Rimmke from a preseason injury.
“We did to NYU in the second half what they did to us in the first half, only we put away our chances,” noted coach Chris Apple. He also noted the exceptional play of junior goalkeeper Brian Minehan.
Next up for the Yellowjackets were the Hobart Statesmen. UR dominated from start to finish with four different players scoring goals. Junior midfielder Ben Cross opened the scoring midway through the first half with a tremendous volley from 25 yards out. A few minutes later junior defender Mike Springer buried a bouncing ball in the box to take the game to 2-0. In the second half Cross once again got involved in the offense feeding senior forward Jacques Appleby before freshman midfielder Steve Maltzman finished up the scoring in the 84th minute.
This was the Yellowjackets sixth consecutive victory. After this stretch the team earned a national ranking of 14th. Also, Micklos was named UAA Player of the Week after his overtime goal versus Ithaca College and two strikes against NYU.
UR then went on the road to Atlanta, Ga. to face UAA opponent Emory University. The two teams battled ferociously in this critical conference game but Emory came out on top with a goal in the second overtime period. The Yellowjackets created many chances but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities, and returned to Rochester with their heads up high, knowing they had played their hearts out. The team did however suffer a major blow, as Lehmann had to leave the game with a serious knee injury. He is not expected to be able to return this season and his contributions will be greatly missed. Lehmann was noted for his tenacious defense and dangerous long throw-ins.
The Yellowjackets return home for Meliora Weekend with two more conference games versus Case Western on Friday night at 7p.m. and reigning UAA Champions Carnegie Mellon on Sunday at 1p.m.
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