Sports Opinion: Women's soccer team has fresh look, but plenty of room for improvement

In watching the women's soccer match against SUNY Fredonia on Saturday, it became readily apparent that there were not an overwhelming number of familiar faces. The team this year includes 10 freshmen and one transfer student among its 23 players. In spite of the new players on the roster, the team managed to work together surprisingly well.

The Lady Knights' cohesiveness wasn't enough, however, as Geneseo still found themselves on the losing end of the game after a penalty kick shootout. Much of the blame for the loss can be attributed to the structure of the midfield. The formation Geneseo plays is slightly unconventional, as they employ three central midfielders and no outside middies. This tactic is designed to control the middle of the field by overwhelming the opposition; unfortunately the Fredonia team was unfazed. The majority of the time, the Knights' forwards only saw the ball as a result of distributions by the defense. If Geneseo wants to be successful against tougher teams such as Oneonta and Cortland, then the midfield is going to have to step it up.

While the halfbacks will need to show improvement, there were also a lot of bright spots for the Lady Knights. Freshman Katie Clerkin played her first full game in goal for Geneseo, making some critical diving saves. The defense - which included its share of the new faces - was solid the majority of the game. The forwards also played well, especially in the second half as they managed to carve up Fredonia's defense on several occasions. When they create opportunities, however, they need to pull the trigger more quickly on shots. There were several opportunities missed on goal after excessive passing took the place of decisive shooting.

With so much fresh talent on the roster, the season should continue to be an interesting one for the Lady Knights. If the new-look team continues playing with the heart displayed this past weekend, their season should prove to be a winning one.