The Lady Lancers’ defense was outstanding on Friday night. (Photo courtesy of the Rochester Lancers)
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Rochester Lady Lancers extended their unbeaten streak to five games, but they could not make up any ground on FC Buffalo on Friday night.
The rivals played to a scoreless draw in a United Women’s Soccer match on Dobson Field at Buffalo State University.
The Lady Lancers (3-1-2, 11 points), who played their fourth consecutive road game, remained three points behind Buffalo (4-1-2, 14) in the Penn-NY Division after the tightly contested match. Rochester has a game in hand in the 10-game regular season.
The teams split the first two meetings, with Buffalo winning the season opener, 4-0, on May 28, and the Lancers registering a 2-0 victory in their home opener on June 5.
“It was just two very evenly matched teams,” Lady Lancers head coach Adam Schwartz said. “Each team had a couple of probably two to three really quality opportunities. Both teams have really quality keepers so it takes a significant shot and play to score and to win in a match like that.”
“This was our fourth match on the road. Out of the four matches, we came away with eight points. That’s significant progress. We still hold our destiny our own hands if we can win out the rest of the way.”
Despite another solid performance by the Lady Lancers, Schwartz said the result was “frustrating in a sense, because our coaching staff and the players were all fierce competitors.”
“The ideal situation would be to get three points, but it would have been significant if we lost and they gained three and we didn’t gain any,” he added. “Yeah, it’s disappointing, but at the same time to get a negative result would have been really difficult to deal with.
“They have a couple of tough matches ahead of them. We have four matches still that would be difficult. It’s anyone’s division still.”
FC Buffalo enjoyed a good deal of possession in the opening 20-25 minutes but could not get a shot on target thanks to a strong swarming defense by Rochester.
Schwartz felt his backline and goalkeeper Katie Cappelletti were stellar.
“Katie in goal is solid as a rock and then Caroline [Kopp] and Jenna [Tivnan] our two center backs. They had an outstanding match defensively. They’re just locked down, shut down players. And also Kendrick [Tarmino] out wide played very, very well for us on the backline too.”
Slowly, but surely, the Lancers tried to find some holes in the hosts’ defense, combining a counterattack with some long balls to use the speed of their forwards and midfielders.
The strategy almost worked on the half hour as Hannah Knych ran onto a long ball from the back, but she was unable to get a foot on it for the finishing shot as goalkeeper Emily Kelly corralled the ball.
Both teams had some decent opportunities in the second half.
The Lady Lancers had two chances early on as Kelly denied an onrushing Channel Alexander in the 52nd minute and saved a Caroline Kopp header off a Brooke Barbuto corner kick two minutes later.
Buffalo’s Carissima Cutrona, who scored twice in the first encounter, was held in check for most of the match, but found some room in the later stages. Her shot from outside the box hit the crossbar in the 71st minute. Ten minute later, Cutrona forced Cappelletti to make a two-handed save that turned into a Buffalo corner kick.
On the final touch of the match, Buffalo’s Hannah Callaghan headed a ball just wide left.
“That’s why I have gray hair on my head,” Schwartz said. “It was nip and tuck the game. We had a couple opportunities, and they did. They gained a bit of momentum later in the game. So, you’re on pins and needles, for sure.”
The Lady Lancers return to Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y. to host winless FC Berlin (0-4-3, 3) on Sunday at 2 p.m. as they will play three of their final four matches at home.
“We have a 24-hour window to recover,” Schwartz said. “The girls are very experienced. They know how to prepare their bodies and minds for a quick turnaround. I have faith we’ll be ready to go. It’ll be a blessing to be at home. It’s just we’re looking forward to playing some matches at home.”
Admission is free for all games this season.
In place of purchasing a ticket, fans are encouraged to donate to the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. You can donation to the coalition at https://bccr.salsalabs.org/ladylancers
Aquinas Institute is located at 1127 Dewey Ave., Rochester, N.Y.
For more Lady Lancers information, visit RLancers.com.