The UR women’s soccer team had a balanced week with a win over Ithaca College on Wednesday, Oct. 16 and a loss to William Smith College on Saturday, October 19.

The Yellowjackets demolished the Bombers with a 2-0 victory, despite inclement weather and daunting reputation of Ithaca’s defense. Kristin Kelly, sophomore forward for UR, capitalized on a pass from freshman midfielder Chris Michael to put the ball into the top right corner of the net.

Kelly continued to lead the Yellowjackets to victory with her second goal early in the second half, guiding the ball for a goal from sophomore midfielder Karen Forsythe’s corner kick. “Scoring early was huge,” Forsythe explained. “Kelly shot in the middle of the first half and then her goal in the second half solidified the win for us.”

The players on the team point to Ithaca’s competitiveness and physical nature as the biggest challenges of the game. “They were a very competitive and athletic team, but we played an awesome game and we just outmatched them,” sophomore forward Portia Bridges said.

Sophomore defender Pietrina Micoli concurred, stating that “of all the teams we have played, they were a very physical and quick team. Even though we’re not a team that gets pushed off the ball, we are nicer than a lot of other teams. They made us step up and take some hits and give some hits back.”

UR’s defense was vital to the team’s victory, as well as the strong offense. Junior goalkeeper Sarah Malecki halted all Bombers’ attempts to score on the Yellowjackets, securing UR’s eighth shutout of the season. Micoli described how the skill of defending junior Jenica Schmidt, a “solid force in our backfield,” strengthened the Yellowjacket’s defensive line. “It is hard for forwards to get through her, and she anchors our defense in a very aggressive and solid way. She doesn’t let just anyone get through ? it takes a very well-organized and tactical team to do that.”

Team performance

As in any game, it is not individuals who lead UR to success, but rather the team effort that emerges. “The fact that we were able to dominate them 2-0 was indicative of us playing together as a team,” Micoli continued. “When we play as a team, we are hard to beat.”

Following this success were some challenges that the Yellowjackets could not overcome in the game against William Smith. UR was ranked fourth in the NSCAA Poll, and their opponents were ranked eighth. However, the Herons managed to topple UR by scoring both goals within the first ten minutes.

“We had one mental lapse for eight minutes and they scored twice. We battled and that was hard to come back from,” Forsythe said. “”It is hard to come back when you have two goals on you.” Forsythe explained how the””mental errors” made during the contest put UR behind, but also helped establish the goal to play a full 90 minutes of soccer that would raise the level of play and success of the team.

The Yellowjackets struggled all day againstthe Herons’ All-American goalkeeper, Leah Cornwell. Both junior midfielder Sarah Crimmins and Forsythe had shots that were expected to put UR on the board, but Cornwell stomped on those opportunities. Forsythe had a shot that was similar to her previous goals, but Cornwell grabbed the ball in an impressive save. “That was a tough series of plays right there. Her size and ability in the goal was frustrating ? she saved her team on a number of occasions.”

William Smith also placed a great deal of pressure on the Yellowjackets that pushed the team throughout. Micoli stated that this pressure made her, as a defender, more cautious after the Herons took advantage of this earlier in the game. ‘”It took us out of our game because we play more patient and composed, but with the pressure they put on us, we were taken back,” Micoli said.

The Yellowjackets come away from this week with an 11-3 record and look towards future games to transform their goals and expectations into reality. UR has four more regular season games, with two this weekend at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Chicago on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The team is looking forward to crushing Nazareth on Wednesday of next week, as they are one of UR’s toughest opponents of the season.

Josephson can be reached at ejosephson@campustimes.org.



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