Soccer struggles at Penn State-Behrend tourney

The men's and women's varsity soccer teams traveled to Penn State-Behrend this weekend to compete in the 2008 Herb Lauffer Memorial Soccer Tournament.

The men were unable to put together a win in two tight games, losing 2-1 in overtime in the opening round to Baldwin Wallace, and then again falling 1-0 to the hosts in the tournament consolation game.

The women also struggled in their opener, dropping a 3-0 decision to the powerful Fighting Scots of the College of Wooster, but regrouped to capture an exhilarating 3-2 victory over Baldwin Wallace in the consolation game.

The men are looking to improve on a strong 2007 season, where they finished with a record of 11-7-2 and made it all the way to the SUNYAC semi-finals before being halted by Plattsburgh, 1-0.

The success of the team will likely be built around its strong group of senior midfielders, led by 2006 NSCAA Division III All-American Judah Manetta and Joe Walter in the middle.

The stellar goaltending they should get out of senior Jeremy Reeves, who boasted a .72 goals against average with 4 shutouts in 10 starts last season, will be pressed by sophomore Mike Madarasz, who put up a .69 goals against average with a 3-1 record last season when filling in for an injured Reeves.

"It looks like it should be a good season," said Madarasz. "The pre-season workouts have felt really good, and it seems like we are ready for the tournament."

In the tournament opener against the Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets, the Knights came out flying and dominated play early, forcing a penalty kick in the 24th minute which was converted by junior defenseman Joe Mort to take a 1-0 lead.

Geneseo clung to that slim lead for rest of the half, and was still hanging on to the lead in the closing moments of the game when the Yellow Jackets broke through the Geneseo defense to score the equalizer in the 86th minute, sending the game to overtime.

In the first overtime, the Knights again failed to finish off a half, allowing the game-winning golden goal to be scored by BW's midfielder Charlie Thompson in the 100th minute, with under a minute remaining in the period.

On Sunday, Geneseo hoped to make up for the disappointing loss to BW by winning against tournament host Penn State Behrend in the consolation game.

The Knights dominated play for most of the game, but were unable to overcome an unlucky bounce on a 17th minute throw-in that led to an own goal scored on Reeves. Despite dominating in shots 15-7 and the corner battle 8-4, the Knights were unable to get past Behrend goalie Dustin Walker, who controlled everything that came his way.

As for the women's team, this season promises to be a fresh start after a 7-10-1 record last season and a disappointing first round exit from the SUNYAC playoffs. The defense looks to be the strength of the team, and is anchored by senior Lindsey Feuz. Feuz will help either sophomore standout Katie Clerkin or freshman Kacie Borland clear the ball from the crease, as the two battle for the starting goalkeeper position.

Unfortunately in the opening round of the tournament, the defense was unable to match the power of the College of Wooster, as the Knights gave up three goals while being shut out in the offensive zone. Borland made three saves in the losing effort.

In the consolation game on Sunday, the women battled Baldwin Wallace. Scoring began in the first half as the Yellow Jackets scored in the 27th minute to go up 1-0. Geneseo, however, was quick to respond, as sophomore Jane Matejcik put home a pass from senior Alison Lewis to tie the game just nine minutes later and end the half at 1-1.

Geneseo started the scoring in the second half when freshman Bella Masotti scored in the 61st minute, giving Geneseo it's first lead. The Yellow Jackets, however, scored just 14 minutes later, knotting the score at two apiece.

Fortunately, Matejcik produced again, feeding junior Stephanie Bergin for the game winner in the dying minutes of the second half to put the Knights up for good. Matejcik lead all players with seven shots on net, and two points. In net, Katie Clerkin stopped four of the six shots she faced to preserve the win.