This past weekend marked a successful beginning to the SUNYAC playoffs for both the men's and women's soccer teams, as the men defeated Oswego in overtime, 3-2, and the women overcame Buffalo State, 2-0.
The men entered the tournament with a record of 9-6-2, while the women entered at 12-4-2. But senior men's captain Jason Tartick said that the players are more concerned with the future than the past. "The injuries, the wins, the losses, the double sessions, the late night and early morning runs and all the training sessions are in the past, we are now in the 'second season' and we are 0-0-0," he said.
The men's first game in this "second season" was an offensive battle. Senior Kurt Jameson jump-started the offense, scoring the first goal of the game as junior Yuta Shimizu notched the assist. Although Oswego managed to catch up, later in the half senior Jeff Rahmlow slipped the ball to sophomore Ian Mort to take back the lead. The first half ended with Geneseo on top, 2-1.
While the teams were preparing for the second half, coach Michael Mooney said he remained optimistic, but also realistic. "The playoffs are even more difficult but you must focus on one half and one game at time," he said. "You are in the elimination round now: win and you advance, lose and you're working for next year."
At the midway point of the second half Oswego scored and tied the game at 2-2. Although they tried, Geneseo couldn't score before the final whistle, resulting in overtime. During the sudden-death period, Tartick was able to collaborate with Mort for the game-winning goal at 90 minutes, 52 seconds to win the game and advance the Knights into the next round.
"In SUNYAC playoffs, it's about what team will fight for the extra inch, what team will dig down deep to find a way to win the game," Tartick said shortly after the game. "Every player on our team had an impact on the game. It was an all-around great team effort and we will take this momentum into the next round."
The women also displayed a tremendous team effort as they traveled to Buffalo State for the second time in two weeks. Head coach Nate Wiley attributed their success to the momentum gained in the final week of the season.
"Our game at Nazareth was a well-deserved win as we outplayed them for virtually the entire match," Wiley said. "It was a great way to finish the regular season; knowing we have done something teams of recent past were unable to accomplish." The win was the first victory for Geneseo over Nazareth since 1994.
The women found themselves evenly matched, 0-0, throughout the first half. Knowing they needed a better effort in the second half, the women rallied together and scored two goals within the first 15 minutes of play.
Senior captain Melissa Beale sparked her team, scoring the first goal at 50:48, following that up with an assist to sophomore Rian Jock at 57:13.
"The first half of the game, I feel that the women didn't play exceptionally well," Wiley said. "However, we went into the second half with great energy and this team showed they deserve to be in the Final Four of the SUNYAC tournament."
With the wins, both the men and women have advanced into the next round of their respective SUNYAC tournaments, which will take place on Friday, Nov. 6. The men travel to Plattsburgh to face Brockport at 1:30 p.m., while the women will face Oneonta on the road at 11 a.m. Earlier this season the women lost to Oneonta at home, 3-1, and the men defeated Brockport, 1-0.