In a top-20 matchup last Saturday afternoon, the Geneseo men's lacrosse team overcame Nazareth College, 9-8, in overtime, moving up to a No. 10 ranking nationwide.
Sophomore Jeff Watson scored the game-winning goal just 11 seconds into overtime in front of a packed crowd at Monroe Community College.
Although Geneseo exploded for an early 4-0 lead, Nazareth, which up until Saturday was ranked No. 14 in the nation, kept the pace by scoring four goals in the second quarter. With four minutes remaining before halftime, junior Craig Lange tacked on one of his team-high three goals of the day, giving the Knights a 5-4 lead.
"We weren't sure how we were going to react against one of the stronger teams on our schedule, but I thought that coming out 4-0 really set the tone," head coach Jim Lyons said. "It didn't matter that they came back, we never were in a panic situation because we started so strongly."
In a back-and-forth second half, Nazareth briefly took a 6-5 lead. The Knights, however, quickly responded with two goals to regain the lead. It was only after the Golden Flyers scored again with 10 minutes remaining that the game became deadlocked, forcing an overtime period.
At the onset of overtime, senior Eric Baranowski won the faceoff and the Knights took off down the field. Eleven seconds later, Watson's goal won the game for Geneseo.
"Winning any game in overtime is awesome, but beating a team like that in front of the 1,000 people that were at that game is a really exciting moment for us - that's for sure," Lyons said.
The Knights were led by the exceptional play of senior goalie Dennis Costanza, who made 15 saves in the win, and by senior defensemen Steven Donnelly and Brian Sanna who helped to shut down Nazareth's high-powered offense.
"We really won the game in the goal," Lyons said. "The biggest difference between our two teams is that Dennis is a high-level goalie and their guy is still figuring it out."
Geneseo is now 2-0 on the season as they travel to Onondaga Community College in Syracuse to take on Ithaca College on Friday afternoon.
"When you win early, it gives you that momentum and I think that's something we can build on," Lyons said. "These are great games, and this is the stuff that the guys come here for."