This past Saturday, the UMW men’s soccer team faced off against York College of Pennsylvania for their much anticipated Homecoming game at the Battleground Complex in Fredericksburg.
York College was greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic and energetic Eagle fans. “The fans were great…vocal and supportive – despite the weather… the support and excitement were as good as ever,” commented Head Coach Roy Gordon.
The game saw many quality shots made by both teams but the final score came to 0-0 leaving UMW in first place among the Capital Athletic Conference Standings. The York Spartans out shot the Eagles, 15-11. Emmett Rutkowski made seven saves for the Eagles, while York’s Ryan Hock made two stops.
Coming into Saturday’s game, the UMW men’s team knew they had a challenge ahead going up against one of the nation’s best. “The team had a great effort and played a terrific game against one of the top Division III teams in the country. Remember, York has lost only one game since sometime during the 2007 season,” said Coach Gordon.
A main concern that the UMW men had was York’s top notch offensive squad including what some might say is the best player in the nation among DIII teams, Jon Ports. Nevertheless, the Eagle men were able to shut down all attempts to the UMW net with key efforts from impressive defensive teamwork.
“We did a great job defending their midfielders and forwards, who are the best front six in the nation,” said senior co-captain Emmett Rutkowski.
Among the Mary Washington defense, Goal Keeper Emmett Rutkowski was honored as the CAC Player of the Week for his decisive saves.
“Emmett really deserved the honor; he played amazing throughout the York game and has played well all season. I’ve played with Emmett since we were 8 years old and he is playing his best soccer this year without question,” commented senior co-captain Matt Lawrey.
However, despite Rutkowski’s key contributions, he couldn’t take all the credit for the honor. “I wish our team defensively could be honored as a whole instead of me individually. We have played so well as a unit in the second half of the season that I hope more players become recognized for their stellar performances,” said Rutkowki.
Other teammates who had great games included Jae Park, Peter Toohey, Justin Weirich, Ryan Taibl, John Tarley, Duke Mensah-Abrampah and Matt Poole.
With one more game before the CAC conference tournament, the UMW men are finding themselves at a great position to capture the CAC title.
“This year it is tighter than ever with all three teams [York, Salisbury, and UMW] still currently undefeated in the CAC. I think all teams have an equal chance of winning the title this year and it will come down to execution in the postseason. All teams know that home field advantage is important,” said senior co-captain Peter Toohey.
“It’s in our hands,” added Lawrey.
Overall, the soccer team had a terrific game and saw this past weekend as an outstanding homecoming success.
“The atmosphere during the homecoming weekend was extremely enjoyable as there were many people at all of the fun activities leading up to the game…It was great to see a loud and chanting crowd and it’s such a great feeling playing such an impact game in front of a large crowd. We can only thank the fans and their support for that,” said Rutkowski.
The Eagle men’s next game is this Saturday, Oct. 24 at Salisbury University in Salisbury, MD.