When the Rochester Lady Lancers played their inaugural United Women’s Soccer game back on May 13, defending East champion New Jersey Copa FC showed little mercy in rolling to a 6-0 victory in the Garden State.
One club had been in existence for 17 years; the other for about 30 days. It showed.
The rematch came Saturday on Charlie Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Institute, and while New Jersey prevailed once again, the score was a fairly tight 3-1. The Lady Lancers had proven they’ve come a long way.
At the same time, Caitrin Rennoldson was showing why soccer may take her a long way.
Rennoldson, a senior at Pittsford Mendon High School, made her UWS debut for the Lady Lancers and assisted on the game’s first goal by Taylor Wingerden in the fourth minute.
Having spent most of the past five seasons playing for clubs based in Pennsylvania (Penn Fusion) or suburban Buffalo (Western New York Flash Academy), Rennoldson is glad to be playing back at home. The step up to the Lady Lancers provides solid preparation for her freshman year at NCAA Division I Longwood University.
“It’s nice to be playing at home,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of traveling; traveling has been completely the norm. I think the last time I played at home was U-12 or U-13. And even on those teams we were traveling a lot.”
To play for teams based out of town, or even out of state with Penn Fusion in West Chester, Pa., there’s a major time commitment. And since Rennoldson doesn’t have her driver’s license, mom and dad were her behind-the-wheel heroes.
“I have to give a big shout-out to my parents (Moira and Rick),” said Rennoldson, who can play at midfield or as a defender. “They’ve been wonderful driving me to where I need to be.”
It is soccer that is driving Rennoldson where she wants to be, starting with the Division I opportunity for, ironically, the Lancers … of Longwood University in the Big South Conference.
Playing for the Lady Lancers is giving a glimpse of the challenges that the next level will be present. Like the talent level of players such as Krystyna Freda. She scored all three goals for New Jersey on Saturday: in the 18th minute, the 21st minute and the 45th minute.
Freda is the reigning UWS player of the year and recently returned from a trial stint with Apollon Ladies FC in Cyprus of the Champions League.
“She’s very intelligent, she’s very good on the ball and unfortunately we got beat by the same ball three times,” said Lady Lancers coach Loren Inglese, whose team slipped to 0-4-1. “She doesn’t make mistakes and when you’re defending against her, you can’t make mistakes either.”
Since Rennoldson has been playing against top-notch national competition with her recent clubs, she’s had previous opportunities to go head-to-head against top-flight players. On Saturday she was given her first playing time with the Lady Lancers, when she was in the starting lineup.
“She’s shown enough in training that she can contribute and compete,” Inglese said. “She brought a work ethic and I thought she played well, especially for her first game.”
The Lady Lancers will have a chance to notch their first victory when they return to Aquinas at 1 p.m. Sunday to play the New England Mutiny (a 3-1 record heading into Saturday night’s game at the Western New York Flash).
The game kicks off another LancerMania doubleheader. The men’s team, on a 3-0-1 hot streak, plays AFC Cleveland at 4 p.m.in a NPSL match.