Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Rochester Athletics

Defenders Misha Carrel-Thomas and Phil Proud scored on free kicks three minutes apart early in the second half to spark the University of Rochester to a 3-0 victory over Plattsburgh State in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championships at Edwin Fauver Stadium.

Rochester improved to 13-1-3 overall. The Yellowjackets are ranked eighth in the final regular season poll of the National Soccer Coaches Association. Plattsburgh State, ranked 19th in the NSCAA Poll, finishes 13-3-6.

All three Yellowjacket goals came from free kicks. The first Rochester goal, scored by Scott Cady at 16:36, came after Timmer McCarthy played a long ball to Steve Welles at the back post. Welles nodded it across the goalmouth and Cady redirected it into the left side of the goal.

"We talked about limiting free kicks by Rochester," said Plattsburgh coach Chris Waterbury. "But the vast majority of good chances for both teams came from free kicks."

The match was barely 12 minutes old when Plattsburgh's Chris Taylor hit a long free kick into the box and John LoGuirato headed the ball at Rochester goalkeeper Michael Peacock. It was Peacock's only save of the match.

Waterbury was more impressed with what Peacock did before the Cardinals could shoot. "Shot-blockers are a dime a dozen," Waterbury said. "Goalkeepers who can stop a team before a shot can be taken are golden. I thought he ruled his box."

Proud, as one of the men in front of Peacock, agreed. "He's a real vocal leader for us," Proud said. "He can see everything develop in front of him. We know if he's coming out for something, he'll get it."

Rochester answered the first Plattsburgh chance with the game's opening goal. "It was a great back-post ball," said Rochester coach Chris Apple. "I thought at first the cross went too long, but Wellesy jumped and got to it."

From there, it went to Cady and he headed home his sixth gamewinning goal of the season. "Cady finds the ball very well in the box," Apple said.

Waterbury's concern about giving up set pieces deepened early in the second half when Rochester scored twice. Four minutes into the half, Plattsburgh pulled down Welles inside the circle. Proud and Carrel-Thomas stood over the ball. Carrel-Thomas hit the underside of the crossbar with the free kick. The ball caromed down, bending over the line. Plattsburgh's David Hickman protested vehemently to the linesman for awarding the goal and drew a red card.

"I don't have the best angle (from the bench)," Waterbury said. "But when I saw it, I said `That's in.' The one thing is I noticed is that our goalkeeper didn't argue the awarding of the goal."

Three minutes later, Proud stretched the lead to 3-0 when he hit a free kick from five yards outside the box inside the far (left) post, off the hands of Plattsburgh goalie Andy Heighington. "The first free kick was a little too close for me," Proud said. "Misha's a power-driven shooter. It was right there for him. The second one was from a completely different spot. I put it (to the ) back post and it stayed in."