It has been said that in the sports world, defense wins championships. If that is indeed the case, then the UR women’s soccer team could be primed for a tournament run. The Yellowjackets have shut out each of their first four opponents in a 3-0-1 start to the season.
The ‘Jackets kicked off their 2006 campaign at the Roanoke College Invitational Soccer Tournament on Sept. 2 against Catholic University. In the rainy and muddy conditions left by Hurricane Ernesto, defense reigned supreme for both teams. In the 34th minute, however, senior Angela Heaney scored off a feed from classmate Stephanie Klenotich to put UR ahead. From there, the ‘Jackets defense took over and dominated Catholic, holding the Cardinals to just one shot in the second half and preserving a 1-0 win.
The win earned UR a trip to the finals against host Roanoke College the following day. Once again, the game was a defensive struggle. The teams battled through 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods without a single shot finding the back of the net. The 0-0 tie earned UR co-champion honors.
Rochester outshot the Maroons 15-4, but could not find a way past Roanoke goalie Erin Hansen, who made five saves. Junior goalie Molly Leitch made two saves for the ‘Jackets. Weagraff, juniors Ashley Van Vechten and Amy Thompson and sophomore Kelsey Turley were named to the All-Tournament Team.
After the strong showing in Virginia, Rochester came home to face the Herons of William Smith College on Thursday. After a scoreless first half, UR got on the board in the 60th minute when senior Ashley Weagraff scored off a cross from fellow senior Anne McMahon. The Herons came back with some impressive offensive pressure late in the game, but the UR defense would not break and the ‘Jackets held on to another 1-0 victory. William Smith was held to just two shots in the game.
On Saturday, UR welcomed rival St. John Fisher to Fauver Stadium as part of the Yellowjacket Weekend festivities. The first half seemed to be destined for yet another 0-0 score until junior Tammy Brewster put a header past the Fisher goalie with just eight seconds left in the half. That opened the floodgates for the UR offense, as they scored three more goals in the next 25 minutes of play.
In the 50th minute, senior Mary Walsh took a pass from junior Laura Morrison and struck a shot over the charging Fisher goalie and just under the crossbar to make the score 2-0. Three minutes later, Morrison took a pass from senior Emily Urbanczyk at the top of the box and rifled a shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 ‘Jackets lead. With 20 minutes left in the game, Brewster capped the scoring with her second goal, a header off a pass from junior Ali Streeter to make the final score 4-0 in favor of UR.
Head coach Terry Gurnett was pleased with his team’s start to the season.
“I believe the key to our start has been the outstanding leadership by our seniors – they came in fit and ready to play,” he said. “Another important part has been our commitment to being a real team, so attaining great chemistry has been a clear goal.”
The hot start has propelled UR’s ranking to eighth, according to d3kicks.com. The Yellowjackets continue their homestand against Union College on Saturday and Rochester Institute of Technology on Tuesday. Both games start at 4:30 p.m.
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