Call them the impenetrable fortress because that’s all the UR women’s soccer team has been this season.

They’re an unstoppable force boasting a 10-1-2 record, with a 3-0-1 conference record.

They’ve surrendered only three goals and shut down 12 different offenses so far this season. This does not include the ratio of shots made to shots allowed, which climbs higher each time the Yellowjackets take to the field.

“We’ve been holding teams to a few shots, which is beneficiary to great team defense,” head coach Terry Gurnett said. “With a great back four combined with our ability to defend at midfield and our forwards pressing, we’ve had the luxury of playing great defense.”

Some might think that the Yellowjackets just haven’t been challenged, but that’s hardly the case, especially since three of their opponents are top seven in the regional NCAA Division III polls and one is ranked in the national polls.

Pleased by his team’s ability to limit their opponents to just four shots a game, Gurnett jokes about the team’s real goal that playing spectacular defense entails being able, “to bore my goalkeepers to death.”

Well, his goalkeepers caught a glimmer of action, which included four shots in last Wednesday’s match against the Nazareth College Golden Flyers.

The defense did what they’ve always excelled at, and that’s been enough to shut down their competition.

The Flyers matched UR’s defense in the first half. However, the offense broke through in the second half. Sophomore Amy Thompson lofted a 45-yard free kick over the Flyers’ goaltender.

Thompson’s goal was all that the Yellowjacket defense needed to get behind to hold out a 1-0 victory giving the team its fifth straight shutout.

The Yellowjackets moved forward to host the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons this past Saturday during Meliora Weekend.

Junior Mary Walsh scored big for her team – twice actually. She initiated the scoring with an unassisted 20-yard floater that found the top left post.

Walsh finished out the scoring with a pass from junior Anne McMahon from 12 yards inside the box.

Thompson also added a goal in between Walsh’s with a 35-yard free kick from the sideline that curved its way into the net.

Once again, defense made life enjoyable for its goaltenders – senior Adrianne Hulchanski and sophomore Molly Leitch – making them spectators rather than players by allowing only one shot on goal.

After stopping the Red Dragons, the Yellowjackets took on Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute this past Tuesday.

The defense was unrelenting, holding RPI to just one shot on goal throughout the entire match.

The Yellowjackets remained hot, scoring 23 shots on goal and converting three of those shots into goals to seal the win.

Junior Maureen Dudiak got the offense started with a little help from junior Ashley Weagraff. Junior Angela Heaney doubled the team’s lead with a pass from senior Kristen Leskow late in the first half.

In the second half, Dudiak got involved in the Yellowjackets’ final goal by feeding the ball to Walsh, who headed it into the net, reaching the final score of 3-0. The win put her team into double digits in the win column giving the Yellowjackets a record of 10-1-2.

So far this season, the Yellowjackeets have outscored their opponents 24-3 which not only calls attention to their talented defense, but also their offensive prowess.

A big part of the team’s success this season can be attributed to the player’s persistence on and off the field.

“Their intensity and love of training combined with great team chemistry has kept us in contention for the playoffs,” Gurnett said.

The Yellowjackets are all over the NCAA ranking charts. They’re currently 17th in the nation and 3rd in their region based on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division III polls. They also have a seat directly at the top in the University Athletic Association rankings.

“We expect to come into [the playoffs] with confidence,” Gurnett said. “We’ll play at our very best. I ask everyone to peak at the right time.”

Their strong record makes them a threat to their competitors. Even with a spectacular record, they hope to improve on their conference record. They will have a chance to do so when they spend the last three games of the regular season against conference rivals. Two will be at home, the last on the road.

Serafini can be reached at jserafini@campustimes.org.</i.



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