The women’s soccer team began their regular season with hopes of a national tournament bid, but after a rough tour in the stacked UAA conference and disappointing non-conference performances, the women would have been fortunate to come away with any postseason invite.
This past Monday, the Yellowjackets received the news that they would be participating in the East Coast Athletic Conference Upstate Northeast Regional Championship this week as the fifth seed in the six team field. The trip to the ECAC tournament extends UR’s streak of playoff appearances to 21 straight.
The Yellowjackets – winners of the 2002 ECAC Northeast Regional Title – began their road to a second straight ECAC title with an opening round victory over fourth-seeded Elmira College.
UR shut down Elmira from the beginning and opened up the scoring in the 23rd minute when senior forward Alison Collins, unassisted put the ball by the Elmira, keeper. Collins – coming off a huge game in UR’s final regular season contest against Case Western Reserve University – recorded her 15th goal of the season, her sixth game-winning goal of the season.
Collins then assisted junior sweeper Sarah Tarka on the final goal of the first half in the 43rd minute, putting UR on top 2-0.
Heading into the half, the Yellowjackets outshot Elmira 12-2, and in the entire first half Elmira could not even muster one shot on goal.
The second half led to more domination by UR. Junior forward Kristin Kelly opened up the scoring off another assist from Collins in the 61st minute, to put the Yellowjackets on top 3-0.
The mercy ended in the 79th minute when freshman sweeper Stephanie Klenotich put the ball in the net, leaving UR with a commanding 4-0 victory.
The win sets the stage for a match-up with the tournament’s number one seed – local rival Nazareth College – at Nazareth, Sat. Nov. 15 at 11 a.m.
In the last meeting between UR and Nazareth, the two teams battled 110 minutes in Edwin Fauver Stadium and both squads walked off the field with a 1-1 draw.
If UR is able to come away with a win at Nazareth, the team will move on to defend their title in the finals against the winner of the SUNY Geneseo-William Smith College game.
In order to secure a bid into the ECAC tournament, the Yellowjackets needed to make sure they took care of business in their last regular season game – a UAA conference game against Case Western. “If we beat Case then we can talk about the ECACs,” Head Coach Terry Gurnett said.
The tale of the Case Western game was similar to that of the Elmira game – utter domination.
The Yellowjackets jumped on top of Case Western early on. Just 2:10 into the game Collins scored and kept pouring it on afterwards.
She would go on to score three more goals – all unassisted – en route to UR’s 4-1 victory. Her performance earned her UAA and Rochester Area Collegiate Athletic accolades as Player of the Week.
The win moved UR to 3-4 in the UAA and 9-7-2 on the year. Currently 10-7-2 the Yellowjackets are just two wins away from a second straight post season title.
Fitzsimmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org