The women’s soccer team overcame a one-goal deficit on two separate occasions this past Saturday at Fauver Stadium, beating cross-town rival St. John Fisher College, 3-2. Senior forward Ellen Coleman scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime.
Despite the win, head coach Terry Gurnett was not entirely content with how his team performed.
“We need to play better,” Gurnett said. “Perhaps we thought because of Fisher’s [5-9-2] record, they weren’t going to be as tough. But they are a well-coached and very tough team and we know we’re going to get their best every time we play them.”
Coleman scored her game-winning goal just 53 seconds before the first overtime period was set to end.
The play began when senior forward Bridgette Varin passed the ball to junior midfielder Beth Martens, who was near the left side end line. After receiving the ball from Varin, Martens drew Fisher’s freshman goalie Jessica Plukas out of the net and sent a perfectly timed pass to Coleman, who put the ball into a wide-open net.
“When I got the ball from [Vann] I looked up and [Coleman] was in the box with no one around her,” Martens said. “We actually did [positional] slotting on the field the practice before the Fisher game, so it was pretty textbook to look up and see [Coleman] there.”
Fisher opened up the scoring in the 10th minute when freshman midfielder Laura Burgstrom took a 35-yard free kick and placed the ball just over the reach of sophomore goalkeeper Bridget Lang, giving Fisher an early 1-0 lead.
Twenty-five minutes later, UR evened up the contest after Coleman scored her first goal of the game off an assist from sophomore forward Rachel Wesley.
Initially, Wesley’s pass looked like it was going to be scooped up by Plukas. But Coleman ultimately scored after she outmuscled several defenders and Plukas to the ball.
“[Coleman] just doesn’t give up,” Gurnett said. “Ninety-nine percent of players would have conceded that ball to the goalkeeper, but she went right through three defenders and the goalkeeper and then just walked it into the net.”
After freshman forward/midfielder Alexa Capozzi gave Fisher a 2-1 lead in the 67th minute, the Yellowjackets had a few tremendous scoring opportunities, including one in the 71st minute when Martens directed a beautiful header toward the net, only to be saved by a diving Plukas.
UR finally tied up the contest for the second time when, in the 78th minute, senior midfielder Kirsten Ross let a shot loose from about 35 yards out. Ross’ long, looping shot hung in the air just long enough to prevent Plukas from knocking it away, making the score 2-2.
“In practice, we have been working on taking shots from anywhere on the field,” Ross said. “Coach is always telling us that if you have a half chance to score, take the shot. [On the play], I just looked up and didn’t really see anyone. No one was pressuring me or anything so I just shot it.”
This game was especially important for Gurnett. Fisher’s head coach Jill McCabe is a UR alumna who played for the ’Jackets under Gurnett in the ’80s. In 1986 and 1987, she was a pivotal part of UR’s back-to-back National Championship teams, and in ’87 she was named to the All-American First-Team.
“It is always a better and more meaningful game when you have a deep respect for your opponent,” Gurnett said. “And I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jill.”
With the win, the Yellowjackets improve their season record to 10-3-2 (2-1-1 UAA), while Fisher falls to 5-10-2 on the year. The ’Jackets are currently No. 24 in the country according to both d3soccer.com and the National Soccer Coaches Association of American (NSCAA). UR will return to the field this Friday when they travel to Atlanta, Ga. for a huge UAA matchup versus No. 6 ranked Emory University.
Mulberg is a member of the class of 2014.