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Yellowjackets: A series of home games on tap

By Dennis O'Donnell

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Matt Bielecki ’08 rushed for 1,124 yards last year, the second-highest season total in school history. Watch him in action during the Yellowjackets home opener on September 9 against St. John Fisher College. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

All seven of the Yellowjacket fall sports teams will be competing on, or close to, campus in the next five days as the intercollegiate athletic season gets started in style.

Action begins on Wednesday, September 6, with the field hockey team playing perennial NCAA contender Cortland State at 4 p.m. in Fauver Stadium. The team finished 10-9 last year and made its inaugural appearance in the Liberty League playoffs.

On Wednesday evening, the women’s volleyball team takes the Palestra floor against D’Youville College at 7 p.m. Expect great performances by outside hitter Susan Johnson ’07, who was an Honorable Mention All-American last year, and setter Sam Carr ’07, who was named the most valuable player of the ECAC playoffs.

Back-to-back NCAA playoff rematches are on the docket Thursday and Friday, September 7 and 8. On Thursday, the women’s soccer team hosts William Smith College at 5 p.m. in Fauver Stadium. Rochester edged the Herons, 1-0, in the opening round of NCAAs last year. The game pits the two highest-winning coaches in Division III women’s soccer circles—Rochester’s Terry Gurnett and William Smith’s Aliceann Wilbur.

Rochester’s defense is led by Ashley VanVechten ’08, a First Team All-American last year. Mary Walsh ’07 is the reigning UAA Player of the Year after scoring 13 goals last season.

On Friday, the men’s soccer team hit the pitch at Fauver Stadium against St. Lawrence University (7 p.m. kickoff). The Yellowjackets were 16-0 in the regular season last year (a school record for wins) before St. Lawrence pulled off a 3-1 victory in the NCAA playoffs. The back line will be bolstered by two All-Region players: Paco Corbalan ’08 in goal and Nick Mikolenko ’08 on defense.

Saturday, September 9, brings a full slate of activity to campus. Men’s and women’s cross country teams run in Genesee Valley Park (women at 11 a.m., men at noon) against Fredonia State and RIT. Mark Stevens ’08 will lead the pack for the men after competing in the NCAA Championships last year. The women will be paced by Kellie Hasselwander ’08. She finished in the top 10 percent at the NCAA Regionals a year ago.

Also on Saturday, field hockey meets Elmira College at noon. The men’s soccer team takes on Clarkson University at 3 p.m. At 7 p.m., the football team hosts St. John Fisher College in the annual Courage Bowl. Rochester’s ground attack will be led by running back Matt Bielecki ’08. He rushed for 1,124 yards last year, the second highest total in a single season and only the fourth time a player has exceeded 1,000 yards in school history. Quarterback Aaron Molisani ’07 is Rochester’s career leader in touchdown passes.

Women’s soccer caps the weekend, hosting St. John Fisher in Fauver Stadium at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 10. For a closer look at the teams and schedules, and to read a series of interviews with Rochester’s head coaches, visit www.rochester.edu/athletics.

O’Donnell is the University sports information director.

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