Yellowjackets battle Washington to OT tie

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For the sixth straight time in the all-time series, the University of Rochester men’s soccer team and Washington University battled in an overtime game, ending in a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon at Edwin Fauver Stadium.

Rochester (8-1-1, 0-1-1 UAA) rallied after falling behind 2-0, tying the match up with goals five minutes apart midway through the second half from Zach Lawlor (Aquinas) and Aidan Miller.  The tie is Wash U’s first of the season as the Bears move to 5-4-1 and 1-0-1 in the conference.

Throughout the opening 20 minutes, each team only took one shot, with Rochester being able to generate some dangerous crosses.  Washington goalkeeper Connor Mathes would hold strong on the back line, punching out many of the passes away to safety.

UR’s first genuine scoring opportunity of the match came in the 37th minute when after a long free kick, a punch came out to Bryce Ikeda who took a shot from 20 yards that sailed wide of the Bear net.

The Bears then were able to break through with five minutes left in the opening half.  An initial header from Ryan Sproule was saved by UR’s Patrick Conway, but the rebound made its way to the foot of Will Sproule who chipped a shot into the left side of the net for the 1-0 Washington lead.

To open the second half, Rochester’s Miller deflected a right wing shot from Mitch Volis right on net, but Mathes was there for the save in the 50th minute.

Washington then doubled the lead at 56:10 when Andrew Brunetti dribbled along the left side and found some open space before sending a cross into the crease towards the far post where Ryan Sproule out jumped the defense and headed in his team leading seventh goal of the year.

Rochester turned on the offensive pressure following the second Bears goal.  In the 62nd minute, some good hustle and 1-on-1 win by Patrice Douge along the right wing gained UR possession in deep and led to a corner after a sliding shot was saved away by Mathes.

On the ensuing corner by Ikeda, UR’s Lawlor was left alone in the box and headed in the goal, the third of his career, trimming the WU lead to one.

UR’s next chance evened the score in the 68th minute.  The Yellowjackets earned a throw in deep in Bear territory, with first-year Will Eisold taking the throw.  Eisold’s throw made it all the way into the crease where it bounced around before Miller chipped it into the net with his back heel, just over the goal line.

In the 76th minute, Rochester’s Ulrik Koren had a 22 yard shot straight on which he volleyed to himself, but his blast was saved by Mathes.

Three minutes later the Bears had their final good chance in regulation time when Ryan Sproule out ran his defender on the right wing and sent a cross body shot on net, but Conway sprawled and tipped the save wide of the net.

With one minute left on the clock before overtime, Ikeda and Josh Cooley made some nifty give-and-go passes in the midfield, leading to a low, hard shot from Ikeda at the edge of the box, one which was saved.  For the game, Mathes ended up stopping six shots.

UR controlled most of the possession in both overtime periods, generating three of the four solid scoring chances.  In the first OT at the 92 minute mark, a turnover in the Wash U defensive third led to a Douge shot which ended up deflecting right on goal.

Just 30 seconds into the second overtime, Ikeda sent a cross from the right side into the box, but Miller’s one timer sailed wide.

Nine minutes later, with just 30 seconds left, a high ball into the box was fumbled around by Mathes, leading to a loose ball for the taking, but no UR player could get to it, leading to a final counter by the Bears.  Wash U then ran the length of the field, and sent a dangerous ball into the crease which found the foot of Aidan Ryan, but his attempt at the open net with under 10 seconds remaining flew just over the crossbar.

Overall, Rochester held a 14-11 advantage in shots and 8-4 edge in corners.  UR’s Conway finished the game with five saves.

UR heads back on the road next weekend for UAA conference matchups at Brandeis on Friday and at NYU on Sunday.  The Bears also will play two on the road, taking on Case Western Reserve on Friday before squaring off with Carnegie Mellon on Sunday.

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