Despite losing two out of three games this past week, the Geneseo women's lacrosse team proved to themselves and everyone else that they have the ability to beat high-quality opponents.
On Friday, the Knights had SUNY Cortland, which is ranked No. 8 in the country, on the ropes as they led 4-2 with a little over five minutes remaining in the first half. Geneseo continued to stay strong even after relinquishing their lead, coming right back to take a 6-5 second half advantage.
Geneseo's upset bid was eventually put to rest though, as the Red Dragons scored three consecutive goals in the last nine minutes of the game, putting the Knights just out of reach. Freshman Rachel Petrone did manage to net her second goal of the game with 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining, but it was not enough as the Knights lost, 8-7.
"For us to lose by one goal is a big accomplishment," said sophomore Kim Magee. "We were up the whole time until the end, so I think we really proved ourselves."
That sentiment was echoed by a number of Geneseo players who, in spite of the loss, said they were excited that they got to demonstrate their ability by contending with top-notch opponents like Cortland.
"I think we had another big weekend," said junior Anna Hutchings, who scored three goals against the Red Dragons. "Although we lost by one, we played really well and proved to ourselves that they are definitely beatable."
Junior Lauren Burgoon said that she thought the Knights played their best game of the year, adding, "Now, I know we can beat them in the SUNYAC tournament."
Head coach Carly Ritchlin said she was also very pleased with the team's performance on Friday as well as their chances at a SUNYAC title run. "It was extremely important to play competitively against Cortland," she said. "When it comes down to it, winning a conference championship is what it's all about and Cortland now knows we can run with them."
On Saturday afternoon the Knights suited up against the University of Rochester and cruised to a 15-7 win. Geneseo stormed out of the gates, scoring six goals in the opening 11 minutes of the game on their way to a comfortable 7-3 lead at the break. Geneseo did allow the Yellow Jackets to creep to within one goal in the second half, however, they regained their composure and slammed the door shut with seven consecutive goals to end the game.
Senior Abby Hungerford led the offense with four goals and four draw controls and Hutchings was right behind her with three goals and two assists of her own. Senior Tara Murphy and freshman Lea Paris also added three goals apiece, while Burgoon had two goals and one assist of her own.
The Knights closed out the week against St. John Fisher College on Tuesday as they came out on the wrong end of a 16-15 nail-biter at home. Geneseo fell behind early, giving up five consecutive goals in a nine-minute span and were faced with a 10-3 deficit at halftime. Thanks to five consecutive goals in just six minutes, including three by Paris, however, the Knights were able to cut the Cardinal's lead down to one with a little over seven minutes to play.
Fisher eventually took a two-goal lead and, despite a goal by Hungerford with three minutes remaining and a last ditch shot attempt during the final 12 seconds, the Knights weren't able to pull off the victory.
Though Geneseo fell to 5-5 on the year and 2-1 in SUNYAC conference play, their two loses this week are not representative of the team's attitude going into this weekend's matchups against SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Oswego.
"Our performance [this week] definitely gave us confidence," Ritchlin said. "It proved to our team that we are talented and we have the competitive edge need to win a conference championship."