After losing their top two scorers from last year’s 16-1 squad, there were a lot of questions surrounding the UR men’s soccer team on the offensive side of the ball. Thanks in part to senior Tyler Green, it looks as if those questions have been answered with authority. Green racked up five goals in four games to start the season, helping the team to a 2-1-1 record.
The men started their season by hosting the Flower City Soccer Tournament at Fauver Stadium on Sept. 1 and 3. They took on SUNY Oswego in the first round and it didn’t take long for the ‘Jackets to get on the board. Just 3:20 into the game, senior Brian Tuohy rifled a free kick into the penalty area and Green redirected the ball just inside the top left corner of the goal to give UR the early lead.
In the 28th minute, the Rochester offense struck again. Freshman Robin Hargadon took a pass from junior Nick Mikolenko and snuck a low shot into the back of the net, giving UR a 2-0 lead.
Oswego answered less than three minutes later with a goal to make the score 2-1, but they would not crack the Yellowjackets’ defense for the rest of the night. Green added an insurance goal in the 70th minute, which made the final score 3-1 in favor of UR.
Two days later, the ‘Jackets returned to the pitch to face University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the championship game. Once again, Rochester’s offense struck first. In the 22nd minute, sophomore Mike Harris fed the ball across the mouth of the goal off a corner kick and Mikolenko pushed it past the Platteville goalie to give UR the early lead.
The lead would not stand, however, as Platteville scored the equalizer at 61:34 off a corner kick. The score stayed knotted throughout most of the second half until the Pioneers scored the game winner with less than four minutes to play. Tournament MVP Ben Terpening scored off a free kick to give Platteville a 2-1 win and the tournament crown. Rochester junior Bobby Milenovici was named defensive MVP of the tournament.
The Yellowjackets had to regroup in time to battle St. Lawrence University, the team that knocked UR out of last year’s NCAA tournament on Friday. The visiting Saints scored just 1:25 into the match, putting UR in an early hole.
Rochester roared back, thanks in large part to the foot of Green. Early in the second half, he scored off assists from junior Patrick Ripp and Tuohy to even the match. Twenty minutes later Green scored again, this time putting in the rebound off a Mikolenko shot.
As the seconds passed, a UR victory seemed imminent. Then, with less than a minute left, UR earned a throw-in on their half of the field. As the ball was thrown, however, the referee awarded St. Lawrence the throw-in, apparently claiming the Rochester player moved too far up the field on the throw. This controversial call proved costly, as the Saints tied the game on the ensuing sequence with just 33 ticks on the clock.
In the overtime periods, neither team held a decided advantage and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. Head coach Chris Apple refused to blame the officials for the outcome.
“Officials are human and they make mistakes,” he said. “As a team we need to control what we can control which means we should have marked up, defended the throw-in and cleared the ball out of danger.”
The ‘Jackets were back in action the following afternoon to take on Clarkson University. It was an evenly matched contest early, but in the 33rd minute UR took the lead. Mikolenko took a shot off a Rochester corner kick and found the back of the net after a Clarkson player deflected the shot.
The Yellowjackets padded their lead early in the second half and once again Mikolenko was a part of the action. He passed to Green in the Clarkson penalty area, and Green put it away for his fifth goal of the season. Clarkson converted a penalty shot with four seconds remaining to make the final score 2-1 in favor of UR.
On Saturday, UR hosts Hobart College at 7 p.m. The Yellowjackets return to the field on Tuesday night to take on Nazareth College at 7 p.m.
Moeller can be reached email@example.com.