The UR men’s soccer team’s latest University Athletic Association road trip only added to the momentum they’ve been building over the past month. A lot of credit for the ‘Jackets’ success this past weekend goes to senior forward Jeremy Mann, who scored the lone goal in a 1-1 double overtime tie against Washington University in St. Louis on Friday and then added another score against University of Chicago, whom the ‘Jackets beat 3-1 on Sunday. UR is now 12-2-2, hasn’t lost in 10 games and is alone atop the UAA with a 5-0-1 record.

On Friday against Wash U, it was a defensive standstill for the first half. No goals were scored in the first 45 minutes, and the teams combined for only eight shots – five for the Bears and three for UR. Wash U didn’t even register a corner kick until after halftime.

The Bears finally opened the scoring just over 12 minutes into the second half. The play began when Wash U forward John Hengel’s shot was deflected.

The ball went right to sophomore midfielder Nat Zenner, who put the ball past UR sophomore goalie Michael Peacock to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. It was the first goal Peacock had given up in four games.

It didn’t take the ‘Jackets long to even the score, however. Less than three minutes later, UR was awarded a corner kick. Senior defender Nick Mikolenko put the ball into the Wash U box, where it was guided along by senior midfielder Patrick Ripp to Mann, who headed it past Bears goalie John Smelcer to tie the game at one.

Good defense on both sides of the ball highlighted the remainder of play. UR was forced to clear the ball off of its goal line only once during the entire game, and Peacock finished with three saves. Smelcer also had three saves for the Bears, who sit behind the ‘Jackets and Emory University in the UAA standings with 13 points.

Washington was ranked 19th in the nation according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America until last week, when they dropped a game to unranked St. Norbert College, and is now 13-4-1.

The Bears held a 12-10 advantage in shots for the game but had only one corner kick to five from the ‘Jackets. Sophomore forward J.J. Dennstedt and sophomore midfielder Timmer McCarthy led in the shots category for UR with two apiece.

Against Chicago on Sunday, Mann kicked off the scoring early in the game. Just three minutes in, McCarthy crossed the ball into the Chicago box.

The pass found Mann about 15 yards out from the goal, and he put the ball past goalie Steven Baron to give the ‘Jackets the early 1-0 lead.

Chicago countered 25 minutes later to tie the score 1-1. Maroon sophomore forward Edger Friloux passed a ball ahead to freshman midfielder Kenzo Manners, who hit a shot from just inside the box that got past Peacock.

UR took the lead again less than 30 seconds later. This time it was freshman midfielder Steve Welles who put the ball past Baron. Junior midfielder Dominic Pellingra hit a cross into the box that Welles connected on, recording his sixth goal of the season.

The ‘Jackets finished off the scoring 11 minutes later when Patrick Ripp fed a ball into Dennstedt, who shot the ball from about 12 yards out, beating Baron to give the game its final score of 3-1. Dennstedt has three goals on the season and is second on the team in points with 12.

Peacock had three saves for the ‘Jackets. UR held a 13-10 advantage over the Maroons in shots and a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks. Leading the ‘Jackets in shots were Dennstedt with three and Mann and Welles with two apiece. Baron made three saves for Chicago in a losing effort.

UR was most recently ranked fifth based on the NSCAA poll. The two goals scored on the ‘Jackets this past weekend are the only they have allowed in the past seven games. Welles has been especially strong during this stretch on the offensive side of the ball. His four goals in the past five games have helped UR rise to its highest national ranking of the season.

The ‘Jackets’ final game of the regular season is away this Saturday against Case Western Reserve University, most recently tied with UR in fifth place according to the NSCAA.

With a win, the ‘Jackets can clinch the UAA title. If they lose, then they can still be UAA champions if Emory loses to Carnegie Mellon University.

Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.

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