July 6, 2022
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Rochester Lady Lancers' playoff fate will come down to the final weekend of the season.
They continued to keep their hopes of reaching the United Women's Soccer postseason by connecting for a season-high five goals en route to an emphatic 5-0 victory over FC Berlin on Coyer Field at Buffalo State on Tuesday night.
Rochester (6-1-2, 20 points), which extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2), moved into a first-place tie with FC Buffalo (6-1-2, 20) in the Penn-NY Division, although the latter would get the nod if the season ended today due to superior goal differential. Buffalo enjoys a sizable lead (plus 13 to plus eight) in the standing and a plus two in the regular season series between the two sides.
On Saturday, the Lady Lancers need FC Buffalo to lose or draw with the Pittsburgh Hotspurs (0-6-2) in its regular season finale in Cheswick, Pa. before recording a win over the Erie Commodores (4-1-3, 15) in Rochester on Sunday.
"We've got to just hope to get a real positive result against Erie and gain some goals there," Lady Lancers head coach Adam Schwartz said. "Where there's a will there's a way. I just have faith that God will open the door for us. We'll see how it goes from there."
The Lady Lancers swept the season series with FC Berlin (0-6-3), winning all three of its contests by shutouts.
Caroline Kopp and Hannah Knych, who finished with two goals, found the net for Rochester within a four-minute span in the opening half to break open a close game. Kelsey Delola and Brooke Barbuto also found the net.
"A very, very good victory," Schwartz said. "It was a game that had all the makings of being a bit of a trap game, coming off a home win and then traveling. Our players have the right mindset, but teams can look past the next game. We took care of business, which was great."
Goalkeeper Kate Cappelletti recorded her fifth consecutive clean sheet and sixth overall of the season as she denied Tegan Morrison on a breakaway in the 53rd minute.
"That was good because soccer is a game of ebb and flow," Schwartz said. "You don't want to give them any sort of momentum in that match."
Cappelletti, who last conceded a goal in a 2-2 draw at the Erie Commodores on June 12, was helped by the woodwork as Celina Barnard rammed a shot off the crossbar in the 64th minute.
The opening kickoff was delayed for 45 minutes because the game officials were late arriving. But the wait was worth it for Rochester.
The Lady Lancers started slowly but picked up steam after the opening 10 minutes.
The visitors struck in the 26th minute when Kopp headed home a Barbuto corner kick past goalkeeper Hanna Johnson from six yards for her second goal of the campaign for a 1-0 lead.
Knych, off a brilliant individual effort, gave the visitors a two-goal advantage on the half hour. She ran down the left flank, made a move into the middle of the field before ripping a shot that went through Johnson for her third goal of the season.
Rochester refused to take its foot off the pedal in the second half. After Johnson saved Barbuto's shot, a poor Berlin clearance found Delola, who powered a left-footed shot home from the top of the box for a 3-0 margin in the 51st minute.
"We want to close the goal differential as well, "Schwartz said. "So that was that was helpful to not just settle in with two-nil at halftime, but to push on and try to get as many goals as we can."
Knych headed in a long feed from the back to lift the margin to 4-0 in the 73rd minute for her fourth goal of the season, before Barbuto, who has been dishing off assist after assist this year, tallied her first goal by lofting a curling shot from atop the right side of the penalty area past Johnson a minute later.
The Lady Lancers will return home for their regular season finale against the Erie Commodores at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y. on Sunday, July 10 at 2 p.m.
Admission is free for the 2022 season.
In place of purchasing a ticket, fans are encouraged to donate to the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. You can donation to the coalition at https://bccr.salsalabs.org/
Aquinas Institute is located at 1127 Dewey Ave., Rochester, N.Y.
For complete Lady Lancers information, visit www.RochesterLancers.com.
The Rochester Lancers are the longest serving brand in professional soccer in the United States, having started in the American Soccer League in 1967.