This season looks to be an exciting one for the Geneseo women's lacrosse team. Looking to bounce back from a disappointing playoff loss in the first round against SUNY Brockport, the Knights open their season March 8 against St. Lawrence University.
A good outlook: Coach Carly Ritchlin has high expectations for her squad.
"This is the most talented squad I've ever had," she said. "Our goal is to get back in to the SUNYAC tournament and hopefully win a SUNYAC championship."
Along the way they'll face stiff competition from formidable conference foes such as Brockport and Cortland.
Seniors: Ritchlin's squad has three returning first team All-SUNYAC players: seniors Maggie Benham, Shauna Leonard and Colleen Byrne.
Benham looks to have another impressive season after setting a single-season school record with 57 goals and 77 points on her way to Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association second team All-Empire region and SUNYAC All-Tournament honors.
Ritchlin commented on Benham and Leonard, who were named co-captains this season, saying they have been, "such an example to the rest of the team and I really appreciate their leadership."
A strong squad: The Lady Knights also have a strong incoming freshman class, featuring Lauren Burgoon and Anna Hutchings, who both should compete for starting positions.
The Knights are extremely deep on the offensive end, while on the defensive side they'll look to juniors Jessica Gunner, who attained All-SUNYAC second team honors, and Cat Sligar to provide leadership and defensive power. Also returning to guard the crease is junior Hannah McKee who posted a .487 save percentage and 10.04 goals against average on her way to 154 saves.
On the men's side, expectations going in to the season are just as high if not higher as the team looks to extend their SUNYAC championship streak to three straight seasons. While only compiling a 9-5 record overall last year the Knights posted a 5-1 record in league play to earn the #2 seed in the SUNYAC tournament where they went on to defeat Cortland, which was ranked 10th in the nation.
Coach looks ahead: Coach Jim Lyons described his team's season goals in two parts saying, "Entering in to every year the program has two goals, one to win our conference and get in to the NCAAs."
A pre-season poll has the Knights ranked 13th in the nation, however the SUNYAC conference looks to be as challenging as ever.
When asked who he expected the top competition in the league to be, Lyons replied, "Well obviously the same four teams that were in the SUNYAC tournament last year but Plattsburgh and Brockport both played us strong last year."
Up to the task: The Knights will also have to deal with the loss of face-off specialist Tim McDermott, who graduated early to pursue his MBA at Loyola University. Lyons believes that his squad is more than up to the task, relying on senior co-captains Mike Pizzuto on attack, who garnered first team All-SUNYAC honors, defenseman Joel Solvie and midfielder Joe Malach to lead the team.
They will be backed up by a strong and deep supporting cast, including several incoming freshman. Joe May, Craig Lange and Joe McCormack all look to have a significant impact in their first year and will look to improve upon their performance as the team looks to carry its recent dominance into 2008.