A COMPLETE PERFORMANCE: Lady Lancers blank FC Berlin, extend unbeaten run to 6 games

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Taylor Ashe and Hannah Knych scored on either side of halftime to lift the Rochester Lady Lancers to a 2-0 victory over FC Berlin in a United Women's Soccer game at Charles A. Schiano Field at Aquinas Institute on Sunday afternoon.

The third-place Lady Lancers (4-1-2, 14 points), who extended their unbeaten streak to six games, moved into striking distance of second-place C Buffalo (4-1-2, 14), which has a better goal differential (+10 to +2) in the Penn-NY Division. FC Berlin (3) fell to 0-5-3. Erie Commodores FC (4-0-3, 15) lead the division.

Playing their second game in less than two days and in the heat, the Lady Lancers put in their most complete performance of the season.

"It was very good," head coach Adam Schwartz said. "In terms of possessing the ball, it's something we tried to improve on. Today, trying to play simple rather than making the game real complex, especially in this heat. In terms of possession, we were good. Could we have been better? Absolutely. But we did what we needed to do to win, and this was a really critical victory."

Goalkeeper Katie Cappelletti, who rarely was tested, registered her third shutout of the season for the Lancers, who have allowed only three goals during their streak.

"Defending is something that we articulate to the players," Schwartz said. "If you defend as a unit, if you communicate defensively, we're going to be hard to be really. The backline and then the midfielders and even our forwards defending make a significant difference. People will say this, and I have a tendency to believe it. Generally speaking, defense wins championships. Of course, you need to score goals or touchdowns in any sport. But if you have a strong defense if your team defends well as a unit, it's going to be a hard team to beat."

The Lady Lancers controlled the ball from the outset and allowed FC Berlin to penetrate over the center line on only a handful of occasions.

Their efforts paid off.

Ashe boosted the hosts into the lead in the fifth minute on her second goal of the year. After a pass from Kelsey DeLola, the Victor, N.Y. native noticed that Claire Wyville was off her line and lofted a 28-yard shot from the left side over the goalkeeper for a 1-0 advantage.

"That was a brilliant finish," Schwartz said. "That's a different level right there. To score early in the match was really important for us. That was significant. We were very pleased with that."

Kelsey Delola, off a Brooke Barbuto right-wing cross, knocked a shot off the crossbar from point-blank range in the eighth minute.

Rochester's second goal was set up by a brilliant individual effort by Knych. After an FC Berlin throw-in, she ran down a defender into the right corner, stole the ball from Kaylee Bruce before she was fouled by the player in the penalty area.

On the ensuing spot kick, Knych deposited the ball into the lower right corner for her team-leading third goal of the season for a two-goal margin in the 54th minute.

"That speaks to her willingness to defend because a lot of forwards give up on that play, and she did not," Schwartz said. "We tried to articulate to forwards if you defend well, you're going to create opportunities for yourself. That that is just a goal that is just speaks to Hannah, her work ethic, her never quit attitude. She has been a blessing to have on our team this year."

Two minutes later, Knych almost made it a three-goal lead as she drilled a shot off the crossbar.

Seconds after Delola was fouled 25 yards out on the left side, Barbuto, noticing that Wyville was not ready, rifled a shot the goalkeeper managed to parry away for a corner kick in the 86th minute.

Katie Diem, 18, a Fairport High School graduate who attends Niagara University, made her first start of the season for Rochester, at center midfield and played the entire way.

"This is a younger player for us and she had a brilliant match," Schwartz said. "I could go right around the whole field. There were a lot of great efforts today. So just proud of ladies."

The Lady Lancers will remain at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y. to host the Pittsburgh Hotspurs (0-5-2, 2) on Saturday, July 2 at 2 p.m. as they will play two of their final three regular season matches at home. This is a rare Saturday home game because Rochester traditionally has played its home matches on Sunday.

Admission is free for all games this 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/ladylancers. The Lancers will match all donations to the charity.

Aquinas Institute is located at 1127 Dewey Ave., Rochester, N.Y.

For more Lady Lancers information, visit RLancers.com.

The Rochester Lancers are the oldest soccer brand in the United States, having started in the American Soccer League in 1967.