Mother Nature couldn’t stop the UR men’s soccer team Saturday night against SUNY Cortland.

The Yellowjackets came away with a 2-0 victory in steady rain and biting wind that kept many fans in their dorms and hotel rooms.

While the weather was not kind to those who did attend the game, it gave the home team an extra advantage.

“Any team coming in here has to adjust to the speed of the turf, and when it’s wet it’s that much quicker,” sophomore Paco Corbalan said. “We have some great speed on this team, so we could utilize the wet turf.”

UR came out strong, keeping the pressure on Cortland’s defense for much of the first half. They held their opponent to just one shot in the opening half, while booting five of their own.

This constant pressure, however, did not translate into early goals for the Yellowjackets. Cortland’s defense bent, but did not break while spending the majority of the first half on their heels.

“We knew Cortland was tall, athletic and that they would be well organized defensively,” head coach Chris Apple said. “We did not create enough scoring opportunities [early].”

The best first half chances for both teams came in the 42nd minute. Senior Gary Stom had an open look from the left side, but his shot sailed wide on the short side. Off the ensuing goal kick, Cortland had a three on two advantage heading into UR territory.

Corbalan came off his line to neutralize the threat, and the two teams headed to the locker rooms at halftime with no score.Apple said that the team planned a stronger offensive strategy to be more aggressive at the goal during halftime.

They came out of the break and did just that. The first goal came off a free kick in the 52nd minute. The kick was curled into the box and after Cortland failed to clear, sophomore Nick Mikolenko somehow found Stom in the middle of the scrum in front of the goal. Stom punched a shot past Cortland goalkeeper Sean Trask to give UR the lead.

Four minutes later, Cortland had a chance to tie. The team had an open shot from the top of the box, but the small crowd exhaled in unison as it sailed just over the crossbar. The two teams traded possessions with limited opportunities until the 62nd minute.

It was then that senior Steve Maltzman saw Stom in the box and fed a perfect cross from the right side. Stom one-timed the pass for his second goal of the game and his ninth of the season. Coach Apple praised his team for the execution of the play that led to the goal.

“The second goal was one of the best of the season,” Apple said, referring to how his offense set up the shot. “When we attack like that, with speed and numbers, we are hard to defend.”

Apple went on to praise Stom’s individual contribution to the team.

“Gary has been playing well all year and he came through for the team in the match,” he said. “He is smart, quick and has the ability to create goals.”

For the game, UR outshot Cortland 16-4 and held a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks. Corbalan made two saves for his sixth shutout of the year. The win puts UR at 13-0 on the season and they will likely keep their No. 3 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Addidas Division III poll.

Moeller can be reached at amoeller@campustimes.org.



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