The Rochester women's soccer team claimed its biggest win of the season on Saturday evening with a 1-0 victory over top-ranked William Smith.
It is Rochester's fourth shutout of the season and boosts the Yellowjacket record to 5-1. William Smith is now 4-1-1. That win total includes a 2-0 win in early September over Messiah College. Messiah is currently No. 2 in the NCAA Division III Coaches Poll.
This was a complete team effort. Everyone worked on defense. Goalkeeper Emma Schechter made two saves, but she commanded the penalty area, coming out to challenge when necessary, diving on crosses sailing in, and corralling through balls pushed forward from defenders or midfielders.
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The goalscorer was Madison Drenowatz in the 47th minute. She caught the Heron defense a half-step off kilter. Schechter came off the line to the edge of the crease to pick up a long lead pass meant for Amanda Adams. She waited for the defense to retreat then punted down field.
The ball bounced just past midfield. It glanced off a William Smith defender and kept going, right onto the foot of Drenowatz. She accelerated away from a defender. As goalkeeper Amanda Kesler came out to challenge, Drenowatz faked, then cut to the left. From 10 yards off the endline, she rolled the ball into the open net.
Schechter put a stamp on the match early. In the first 30 seconds, WSC counterattacked down the left wing –Grace Gillian sending the ball to Julia Keogh racing down the wing. Keogh reached the box and whistled a cross into the middle with a teammate step for step with a Yellowjacket defender. Schechter dove on the cross and covered up.
Katrine Berg hit the juncture of the right post and crossbar in the 10th minute. The defense cleared it. Rochester's Robin deJong settled the ball outside the box at the midpoint of the period, but her shot sailed past the right post.
Drenowatz nearly set up an opening goal 12 minutes before intermission. She cut down the right slot and whipped a cross through the area. Jorie Freitag struck it over the crossbar. Merilyn Hinrichs had a chance for a goal in the final minute of the first period. She got behind the defense and roared at Schechter on a breakaway. Schechter stood her ground, waited for the right moment, then dropped to the turf to make the save.
With the Rochester players doing everything they could to disrupt the Herons, they hung in. Hinrichs had a pull-up shot from more than 30 yards just over an hour into the match. It went over the bar.
Two minutes later, WSC angled a cross into the area looking for Katrine Berg. Schechter came out, dove, and covered up. She was in the middle of another chance for the guests. Eileen Rath hit a long ball from deep on the left sideline, about 40 yards from the end. It almost hooked in with Katrine Berg rushing the post looking for a header.
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Twelve minutes before time, Maialen Martinez chipped a ball into the box, but Schechter beat Phoebe Wade to it. The last opportunity came in the final minute. The pass was sent over from left wing and Keogh tried to flick it, but was denied.
In 12 of the last 13 meetings, William Smith has been ranked in the top 10. The Herons have been ranked third or higher in five of the last nine matches. Rochester won, 2-1 in Geneva last year.
The Yellowjackets are home on Wednesday evening against Alfred, and then on Oct. 1 vs. Houghton College. The UAA season opens on Oct. 6 at Washington-St. Louis.
William Smith plays at RIT on Wednesday afternoon in a Liberty League opener, then hosts Skidmore, Ithaca and Clarkson through Oct. 5.