The men's soccer team opened their season in impressive fashion last weekend, winning the fourth annual Doug May Classic at Nazareth College.
Ranked 22nd nationally heading into the tournament, the Knights earned two resounding victories, starting with a 2-0 win over RIT on Friday. Sophomore Kurt Jameson got the scoring started early, netting the season's first goal in the 13th minute on a pass from senior co-captain Pat Occhiuto. Freshman Andy Marzo added to the lead 17 minutes later, in his debut game, on a great corner-kick setup from junior Judah Manetta, and the Knights coasted from there. Junior goaltender Jeremy Reeves picked up where he left off last season, earning the shutout with five challenging saves.
The championship pitted Geneseo against the 11th ranked team in the nation, and the hosts of the tournament: the Nazareth Golden Flyers. Nazareth was a nemesis of the Knights last season, beating them twice, including Geneseo's season-ending loss in the NCAA tournament. The Knights certainly got their revenge in this game, running away with a 3-0 blowout. Freshman Ryan Stansfield scored on a feed from Manetta in the first half to open the floodgates, as Geneseo tallied two more goals in the second, from Jameson and senior Matt Robinson. Reeves maintained his perfect goals-against average with five more saves for his second shutout.Jameson earned student-athlete of the week honors following his two-goal weekend. Coach Mike Mooney praised his performance, saying, "[Kurt] has really played well, and has been a pleasant surprise up front." Mooney acknowledged that the season is far from over: "The team feels great about opening the season with a couple of wins against two very good clubs. But they also know that it is only the first two games and with 16 more to go in the regular season it is a long way to go…the SUNYAC regular season is very challenging and we will have to work very hard to qualify for the SUNYAC championship."
Also this weekend, the women's soccer team shook off a rough opener to take home third place in the Penn State Behrend tournament. In Saturday's game against Baldwin-Wallace College the Knights fell behind early 2-0 and were outplayed for much of the game. The Yellow Jackets had held Geneseo in check offensively for nearly the entire match until sophomore Melissa Beale set up junior Eileen Coyle with 29 seconds left to put the team on the board. Senior goalkeeper Laura Castor made three saves in the 2-1 defeat. Coach Nate Wiley remained optimistic after the loss. "Any time you open up the season with a team you have never seen before, there is a great deal of uncertainty. I would have liked a better result versus Baldwin-Wallace, but it is a long season and the most important thing we can do with that loss is learn from it."
The Knights certainly rebounded in the consolation match, defeating Penn State Behrend by a score of 2-0. Alison Lewis opened the scoring with 43 seconds remaining in the first half on a pass from sophomore Stephanie Bergin. They picked up where they left off after halftime, as Beale scored on a thrilling breakaway goal just four minutes into the second. Castor stopped five shots to pick up the shutout.
The victory carried a little extra weight for Wiley, since he was an assistant coach at Behrend for several years. "Sure there was some extra incentive being back at Penn State Behrend for the first time on the opposition's bench....," he said. "But there is a greater sense of pride coaching with Geneseo on my shirt, having played under that banner some years ago."
The men's team travels to the North Country this weekend to take on St. Lawrence and Clarkson before returning to Geneseo for the home opener against Ithaca College next Wednesday at 4 p.m. The women head to Ithaca on Saturday to take on the 24th ranked Ithaca College Bombers in a challenging match-up.