Over Meliora Weekend the women’s soccer team gave the alumni something to celebrate. In their second University Athletic Association conference game, the Yellowjackets pulled out a 1-0 victory over a tough New York University squad.
The key to many soccer games is a successful start. Knowing NYU was a hot and cold team, UR wanted to shut them down at the beginning.
“Even though we didn’t score in the first half one of our biggest positives was that we started off the game with some real fire,” Head Coach Terry Gurnett said.
“For the first time this season the entire team came out with that fire and ready to go.”
The first half of the game closed in a scoreless draw and revolved around a defensive battle on both sides of the ball. NYU had one shot, while UR had three in the first half – however, none of the shots made it into the goal.
NYU came out game and ready to play. Part of NYU’s success came from double teaming UR senior forward Alison Collins.
“We saw they were marking Ali, and we had to adjust to that,” Gurnett said. “[NYU] stuck to their game plan and were determined. They never gave up.”
Double-teaming Collins should have opened up opportunities for the rest of the Yellowjackets, but in the end Collins would be the one to do the damage.
“NYU only made two or three mistakes on Ali all day, but she [Collins] made them pay for their biggest mistake,” Gurnett said.
In the 76th minute of play, Collins slipped free on a missed defensive assignment. Freshman forward Anne McMahon made a crisp pass to Collins who put the ball cleanly in the back of the net on the inside right post.
“Alison Collins played outstanding again. Her goal was great to watch,” Gurnett said.
After the goal, the UR defensive back four shut down the Violets. Their strong play combined with the efforts of sophomore goalkeeper Adrianne Hulchanski kept NYU out of the game, allowing the Yellowjackets to hold on for a 1-0 win.
Hulchanski recorded four saves, all in the second half, to pick up the shutout victory. The victory was Hulchanski’s fifth of the season, and it was her sixth shutout this year.
“We would have liked to generate a bit more of an offensive punch,” Gurnett said. “We will use the NYU game as a good stepping stone for the two games this weekend.”
The win moved UR to 6-4-1, 1-1 in the UAA. Despite the win, the Yellowjackets have no time to sit back and relax. This week includes focus on increased offensive pressure so they can deliver that offensive and the team will have to mentally prepare for two high quality UAA soccer games as Carnegie Mellon University and Emory University come to town.
UR will face Carnegie Mellon Friday evening. The Tartans are a quality program. They are coming off of a tie against University of Chicago – the number three team in the nation. On Sunday, UR will run into an Emory team that is currently 15th in the national poll.
To say the least, this weekend will be a defining one. Two wins will put UR well in the hunt for the UAA title, but two losses could mean the end of a tournament bid.
Fitzsimmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org