June 3, 2022
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - When the Rochester Lady Lancers take the field for their home opener against FC Buffalo in their United Women's Soccer opener at Aquinas Institute on Sunday at 2 p.m., head coach Adam Schwartz will feel right at home.
And for good reason - he also directs the Aquinas' girls’ soccer team there.
Schwartz said he was "very excited" about the home opener, and there were several reasons why.
"I train myself during the week at Aquinas," he said. "I walk and do some running. This week I saw the advertising signs and it really is starting to take on that flavor. It brought the hair on the back of my neck stood up, that we have a great opportunity this weekend and to be playing at Aquinas. Which is near and dear to my heart. And to be able to represent the Lancers ... it's just an honor."
The Lady Lancers will be playing on the football field in back of the school. The field was made for multiple sports, including soccer.
"It's a professional size pitch. So, it's very big," Schwartz said. "So, that that is a plus because we train there. We're familiar with the pitch how big it is. It just has a real cozy feel to it. It has a real professional atmosphere to the stadium, even though it's just a high school stadium."
And Schwartz has enjoyed great success on that field at Aquinas. In 2017, he guided the girls’ team to the New York State Class B soccer championship while earning state coach of the year honors.
Rochester will be bolstered by three players from the Syracuse area who missed last week's 4-0 season-opening loss at FC Buffalo. That includes 2018 UWS MVP and midfielder Brooke Barbuto and center backs Caroline Kopp (University at Albany) and Jenna Tivnan (Syracuse University).
"We're really excited to see the three of them add a different dimension, add a veteran presence and leadership on the pitch," Schwartz said.
"That gives us a lot of leadership on the backline and Caroline, in particular, has a lot of speed. Buffalo has a lot of speed up top. It'll be a good matchup. I think we'll match up better."
So, expect the Lady Lancers will have a slightly different look this week.
"I think they [Buffalo FC] may be a bit surprised," Schwartz said. "They handled us pretty good the first match and that was their third match. But we've refocused. I think it's going to be definitely a different game this weekend."
The Lady Lancers look to bounce back from their 4-0 loss at Buffalo last Saturday.
"We trained last night. We had a two-hour session, and we were able to look at our match on Saturday and identify areas that we wanted to address," Schwartz said. "We talked about defending as a group and individually. We talked about when we win the ball, keeping the ball possessing it. Fitness is an ongoing topic as well."
Now, it’s about putting that all together.
"The ladies are back home from college for the most part, and they're refocusing on our season, but probably on their fall season as well," Schwartz said. "The focus and commitment have been good. We went from our first training session with about eight players. We're getting to near 20-22 players, so the pool of players is excellent."
Admission is free for all Lady Lancers games 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/
The first 500 fans on Sunday will receive a free t-shirt, courtesy of the IDE Family of Dealerships
There also will a be bounce house and in-game promotions for the family to enjoy.
Aquinas Institute is located at 1127 Dewey Ave., Rochester, N.Y.