The Lady Lancers have been tough to beat this UWS season. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester Lady Lancers kept themselves in contention for a United Women’s Soccer League playoff spot by recording a 2-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Hotspurs at Charles A. Schiano Field at Aquinas Institute on Saturday afternoon.
The win extended Rochester’s unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2).
The Lancers (5-1-2, 17 points) need to win their remaining two matches and hope for FC Buffalo (5-1-2, 17), to drop points in its final two contests to win the Penn-NY Division and earn a playoff spot. Buffalo and Eric Commodores (4-0-3, 15) played later Saturday afternoon. Last-place Pittsburgh fell to 0-7-2.
“It was a needed victory,” Lady Lancers head coach Adam Schwartz said. “We had moments where we looked very, very good. And then there were moments where we didn’t take good care of the ball. It speaks to the ladies’ resilience, that despite it all, we were able to come out with a 2-0 win.”
Meg Root and Kelsey Delola scored for the Lady Lancers.
“It is an important win for us,” said goalkeeper Katie Cappelletti, who registered her fourth consecutive clean sheet. “We’re still fighting for that playoff spot. I’m excited and hopefully we can take care of business the last couple of games.”
“We’ve got to win our both matches, and we’ll see how it goes from there,” he said. “But we’re right there in the race with FC Buffalo and Erie. We’re in a quality division and it’s exciting to see how it all unfolds.
“It puts pressure on Erie and Buffalo to continue to win as well. We talked about controlling the controllable and so we took care of what we needed to take care of today. We hope to do the same for the last two matches.”
Cappelletti allowed only two goals in her past seven matches after Rochester’s 4-0 season-opening loss at FC Buffalo.
“I’ve got a great backline playing in front of me,” said Cappelletti, who made a 90th-minute save to preserve her clean sheet. “I’m really comfortable playing with them and I clean up whatever I need to.”
Schwartz lauded his keeper.
“She made a couple of quality saves that were huge for us,” he said. “She did her part; the backline did their part. Everyone did their part.”
The Lancers had trouble solving the Pittsburgh defense in the early going as Hotspurs players swarmed around Rochester players when they had the ball in the attacking area. The visitors particularly targeted captain Brooke Barbuto, using Natalie Maver and Taylor Hamlett to thwart her passes and shots.
The Hotspurs, however, could not stop Barbuto in the 36th minute as she set up Root’s first goal of the campaign, from the right side of the box as she beat goalkeeper Sydney Caldwell.
“The more diversified you are as an attacking team, the more players you have contributing and scoring goals or assisting on goals, you make sure that you’re more of a dynamic team,” Schwartz said.
Delola gave the hosts some breathing room with her third goal of the season in the 64th minute as she lofted a shot from the top right of the penalty area over the 5-foot5 Caldwell.
“Pittsburgh played well. I tip my hat to them,” Schwartz said. “They’re very organized and they played a quality match. We were grateful to get the win. There are no easy matches in this league.”
The Lady Lancers will play their final road match of the regular season at FC Berlin in Buffalo on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before hosting the Erie Commodores in their home finale at Aquinas on Sunday, July 10 at 2 p.m.
Admission is free for the 2022 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 complete Lady Lancers information, visit www.RochesterLancers.com.
The Rochester Lancers are the longest serving brand in professional soccer in the United States, having started in the American Soccer League in 1967.