The Geneseo men's soccer team split two games this weekend on their way to narrowly clinching a SUNYAC playoff berth, losing a tough game against Buffalo State 3-2 on Friday before rebounding on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over SUNY Fredonia.
Friday afternoon's rain-soaked contest featured a physical, high-tempered battle as the Knights rallied but failed to hold off the Bengals in the second half. Geneseo allowed an uncharacteristic three goals in their loss, something they haven't done since their loss to St. Lawrence University during the second week of the season.
"It was a little disappointing," said head coach Mike Mooney. "It was a team we thought we could defeat." The Knights came out of the first half down by a single goal but they managed to even the score at one before falling behind once again after a Buffalo State goal.
Momentum seemed to be in the team's favor, however, as they rallied again to tie the match, 2-2. In the ensuing minutes they had a Buffalo State penalty kick denied by junior goalkeeper Mike Madarasz. Still, the Knights could not close the door as Buffalo State's Brandon Lancor sealed the game winner with a 25-yard strike in the waning minutes of the game.
"We had a lot of opportunities and weren't able to finish them," Mooney said. "The bottom line is we need to do a better job defensively. You can't afford to give up three goals and expect to win, not in soccer, I don't care what level you're at."
With that loss, the Knights put themselves in a precarious situation as they faced a must-win situation on Saturday against Fredonia if they wanted to reach the SUNYAC playoffs. Mooney told his team, "It just comes down to one half and then a second half … we need to give it our best and don't leave anything out on the field."
The Knights certainly didn't disappoint as they played resiliently in front of a packed crowd, which included many family members visiting for Parents Weekend.
The team held the Blue Devils scoreless the entire game and eventually sealed the victory with a goal by sophomore Colin Begy at the beginning of the second half. Saturday's goal was Begy's third game-winning goal of the season and it couldn't have come at a better time.
"I told them, 'it's up to you guys' and I was pleased to see that they really took that to heart and really played well to get the win," Mooney said.
Geneseo finished with a 5-3-1 conference record and will play SUNY Oswego on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the first round of the playoffs. The Knights tied the Lakers 0-0 in their only match of the season.u
[Editor's note: The Knights hosted St. John Fisher on Wednesday in their regular season finale and lost 2-1 in overtime. The Cardinals scored on a penalty kick 12 seconds into overtime, dropping Geneseo to 8-6-2 overall. Senior Kurt Jameson scored the lone goal for Geneseo.