The Geneseo men's soccer team responded to their disappointing opening tournament last week with two dominating wins this past weekend at home over Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
The victories evened the Knights record at 2-2, as they knocked off the Clarkson Golden Knights 2-0 on Friday, and returned Saturday to escape with a 2-1 win over the St. Lawrence Saints.
At the Penn State-Behrend tournament in the previous week, Geneseo played well in both games but had trouble finishing, scoring only once in the tournament. Coach Mike Mooney addressed that problem in practice, and looked for the team to respond.
"We built on some of the items from the previous weekend during training, and we were able to develop those into the play during the weekend," said Mooney.
Yet, in the first half against Clarkson, the Knights still seemed unable to get over their scoring bug. The game was played mostly in the middle of the field with neither team establishing consistent offensive pressure. Had it not been for a spectacular diving save by sophomore Mike Madarasz, Geneseo would have entered halftime trailing 1-0.
The second half was a different story. Spurred by the speed and passing of forwards junior Jason Tartick and senior Nick Prosser, the Knights came out flying, keeping most of the play in the Clarkson defensive end.
Eleven minutes into the second half, sophomore midfielder Yuta Shimizu put on an amazing dribbling display before dumping the ball off to a breaking Tartick, who sent a cross from the right side of the box past the goalie, right to freshman Colin Begy, who volleyed it home into the empty net for his first career goal and a 1-0 lead.
Just six minutes later, Tartick produced again, as Prosser found him wide open inside the six-yard box, putting Geneseo up 2-0.
Thanks to a stifling defense, Geneseo did not have much trouble finishing off the shut out, allowing no shots on net in the second half.
Coach Mooney applauded the defense as a strong point of the team. "The continued strong play of [senior] Joe Walter, [junior] Joey Mort, [junior] Jeff Rahmlow and [junior] Sean Bardenett have proven to be keys to the strong weekend."
Geneseo showed no signs of a letdown the next day against St. Lawrence, and started the scoring early. In the 13th minute, Mort, on a free kick from 20 yards out, bent the ball around the wall and just inside the left post to put the Knights up 1-0.
After the early goal, play remained primarily in the midfield until the 69th minute, when taking the ball at midfield, Prosser took off down the left side, beating all three defenders in the area. As he came barreling in on the goalie, his only play was a pass across the crease, between the St. Lawrence goalie and Geneseo junior forward Kurt Jameson. Jameson slid into the pile up and all three players, along with the ball, went crashing into the net for the 2-0 Geneseo lead.
Geneseo had trouble preserving the shutout for senior Jeremy Reeves, as a deflected clearing attempt in the 85th minute landed on the foot of a Saint, who buried the open chance to end the scoring at 2-1. Despite the goal Reeves made four saves.
The Knights travel to Ithaca Wednesday to take on the 2-0 Ithaca College Bombers, then return home Saturday for their first SUNYAC conference game against Fredonia.