June 5, 2022
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Before the Rochester Lady Lancers took on Buffalo FC for the second week in a row Sunday, head coach Adam Schwartz said their rivals were going to see a different team than the one that dropped a 4-0 decision in their season opener a week ago.
He was spot on.
The Lady Lancers avenged the defeat with a solid 2-0 win on Charles A. Schiano Field at Aquinas Institute, their first victory since the 2019 United Women's Soccer season.
Kelsey DeLola led the way with a pair of second-half goals and goalkeeper Katie Cappelletti registered the clean sheet.
"It's such a blessing," Schwartz said. "For a year and a half, our Lady Lancers teams have been working really, really hard in this league. They struggled a bit last year but, but we wanted to build on on what they built last year and to get a win for our club.
"So, it was a massive win, two-nil against a team that is in first place and went deep into the playoffs last year. To do it at home, in Rochester with all of our support and for SoccerSam [Fantauzzo, long-time Lancers owner] I couldn't have scripted it any better."
Bouncing back will do wonders for the team's confidence, Schwartz said.
"It's critical because as an athlete, we've all had times in our lives where you start losing and you can start to have a little bit of disbelief and losing can become habitual," he added. We wanted to break that spell. It was so important for our confidence because last year they had some opportunities to win matches and it just didn't go their way. You start to feel like luck's against you so to speak. It was a great win for our organization today."
Speaking of confidence, Cappelletti guarded the goal from the opening whistle to the final whistle. The St. Joseph's University goalie snared everything sent her way, making several vital and mundane saves. Cappelletti also had some help as defenders Caroline Kopp and Jenna Tivnan made their Rochester debut.
"All the players that played on the backline today were brilliant," Schwartz said. "They had opportunities, but that happens in the ebb and flow of soccer, but you always want your keeper to make two or three great saves in a match to to keep you in the game and she's certainly delivered."
So did DeLola, a Villanova University junior who hails from Baldwinsville, N.Y.
DeLola lifted the Lancers into the lead in the 65th minute. Hannah Knych beat her marker on the right flank with a deft move and slotted the ball across the box to DeLola, who slipped it home.
"I believe on the play she actually put the ball through the defender’s legs," Schwartz said. “I would have to look at the video, but I believe that's what happened. She drove to line and served it to the six-yard box. It was a textbook goal in terms of a player driving online and whipping it across the box. Both of them, it was just a brilliant goal."
And an important one as well.
"It immediately puts in their mind we can win this match," Schwartz said. "It gets a lot of that disbelief out of their head because again, losing can become habitual. They gained confidence during the match, saying 'Hey, we can play with this team.' And then to score a goal. Not only can we play with them, but we can also win and that was huge. That was a monumental goal at that time of the game."
DeLola put the final nail in the coffin the 85th minute by drilling a penalty kick past goalkeeper Emily Kelly for a 2-0 margin in the 85th minute.
Schwartz said that he doesn't make a decision on who is supposed to take penalties.
"You want a player that's confident that steps up and takes it," he said. "They actually sorted that out themselves. Brooke [Barbuto, team captain] came by me I asked if she wanted it. She said she didn't want the PK and then I suggested a different player.
"They figured it out and put Kelsey forward and I was good with that. Players at this age, you want to empower them. You want them to be decision makers. I have faith in them and faith in their decision making. When they selected Kelsey or however it came about, I was totally comfortable with it."
The Lady Lancers next play at FC Berlin on at Copley Field at Buffalo State on Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m., the first of four consecutive road matches.
Rochester returns home to host FC Berlin at Aquinas on Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m.