Men's and women's soccer split weekend games

The Geneseo men's soccer team split their two road games this past weekend, defeating New Paltz 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 28 and losing by that same score to Oneonta the following day.

The Knights peppered the New Paltz Hawks with 14 shots on goal out of a total of 31. Sophomore defender Joey Mort gave the team an early lead by successfully converting a penalty shot within the first minute of play. New Paltz tied the game in the 60th minute, but a nice set-up by junior midfielder Judah Manetta led to the game-winning goal by junior midfielder Joe Walter. The goal was Walter's first of the season, and Manetta picked up his third assist of the year.

Coach Mike Mooney was happy to pick up the victory, especially after the quick start. "That first goal was obviously important, and I was glad that we were able to keep the pressure on," he said. "We didn't rest on that one goal, we kept pushing."

The early goal was a welcome change for the Knights, who Mooney said have had their share of trouble converting on goal-scoring opportunities this season. "We have done an excellent job of creating scoring chances all year, but have had a bit of trouble finishing them," he said.

That observation came to fruition the following afternoon, as the Knights traveled to Oneonta and dropped a 2-1 decision. Manetta picked up another assist on the Knights' lone goal, scored by freshman forward Ben Ariola. "Again, we played very well, controlling a lot of the play," Mooney said. "There was a questionable call by the assistant referee and some chances we couldn't quite finish."

The ruling in question concerned Oneonta's first goal, which ricocheted off the post and appeared, at least to the referee, to cross the goal line. Mooney and the team disagreed, but the call stood.

The game pitched a few point-blank shots, and several tough saves swayed the momentum against the Knights, but they remained positive after defeat. "We have been pointing out and accentuating the positive parts of our game, not focusing on the negative," Mooney noted. "Once we start finishing our chances, we will get that extra boost of confidence that will definitely help."

The women's soccer team also split two games, picking up a 2-1 victory in overtime Friday against New Paltz before losing 4-1 to Oneonta on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half in Friday's game, New Paltz struck first in the second. Geneseo responded valiantly, however, scoring the final two goals, including the game-winner 10 minutes into overtime. Sophomore forward Melissa Beale scored the first goal, her second of the season. Junior forward and leading scorer Eileen Coyle scored the overtime goal, which was set up by sophomore forward Stephanie Bergin.

The women were unable to keep the momentum going the next day, however, as they suffered a 4-1 loss to Oneonta.

The Lady Knights tallied the initial goal in the contest as Beale scored just over 12 minutes into the game. The advantage would not hold up, however, as the Red Dragons responded with two unanswered goals to take the lead at halftime. Oneonta struck twice more in the second stanza to insure the victory and run their SUNYAC winning streak to a remarkable 100 games. Laura Castor recorded 14 saves in the loss.

Nevertheless, head coach Nate Wiley was pleased with the way the team played. "Our performance in our two games from the previous weekend was less than desirable," he said. "We practiced and improved a lot during the week leading up to the New Paltz and Oneonta games."

Wiley and the coaching staff decided to implement a new offensive system, hoping to kick-start their sputtering attack. In the new system, the forwards face the opposing net rather than having their back to it as in previous contests. This led to increased pressure and a chance for more production from the players.

"We were able to pick up three goals against two quality opponents," Wiley said. "It is still a work in progress, a calculated adjustment that has turned out well so far." He added that the players still need to get used to the nuances of system, but the new strategy "should result in an increase in scoring."