Men's soccer saves weekend with win over New Paltz

The men's soccer team hosted a two-game series over the weekend, advancing its overall record to 5-4-1 and its SUNYAC record to 2-2-0. The Knights dropped a 0-1 decision to SUNY Oneonta on Friday, but came back with a 3-1 win over SUNY New Paltz on Saturday.

Friday's game started with a quick goal in the eighth minute from Oneonta when senior Michael Diefenbacher finished a cross from junior Matthew Brown. The Knights struggled to keep up throughout the half, winning fewer balls and yielding possession to the opponent.

Head coach Mike Mooney defined the first half as "lackadaisical," adding that his men had "difficulty winning balls." Senior Ben Ariola affirmed the slow start and said the team "came out flat" in allowing the early goal to happen.

At halftime, Mooney told his team to "challenge the ball every minute" and compete harder. Still, Geneseo fell short to its opponents in shots, possession, and physicality. The Knights battled hard toward the end of the game, with two solid chances for goal coming from junior Ian Mort and freshman Ryan Yurchak. But "no one stepped up," Ariola said, and the strong play of the final minutes and outstanding effort in goal from junior Sam Murphy were not enough to prevent the loss.

"We can't afford not to convert on limited chances," Mooney said. Ariola added that the team felt "very disappointed" after the match, and that suffering the defeat led the players to self-reflect and decide whether they wanted to be "a mediocre team or a good team."

Mooney told the Knights before starting Saturday's game against New Paltz: "If you want to win, you have to play with intensity." The team followed that advice and came out aggressively.

Geneseo's first goal was scored in the 39th minute, starting with a long throw-in from junior Ken DiDonna that Ariola secured and crossed to freshman Craig Schackner. Schackner completed the play to put the Knights on the board, 1-0. The Knights outshot their opponents 10-4 and Murphy posted a first-half shutout in goal.

The second half, however, brought renewed competition from New Paltz; senior Dave Gardiner scored the equalizer in the 63rd minute. Frequent fouling and persistent aggression from both sides kept the scoreboard stagnant for most of the half. Geneseo finally retained the lead in the 85th minute when junior James Hainsworth scored just 20 seconds after coming onto the field. The play began with another decisive throw-in from DiDonna that invited senior Andy Marzo's assist to Hainsworth. Mort capped the win by completing a penalty kick opportunity drawn from Yurchak in the 87th minute. Murphy posted six saves to assist the win.

Mooney attributed the win to "more shots on goal" and a focus on "winning balls in the air." He also acknowledged the help of players coming off the bench throughout the game. Both Mooney and Ariola stated that winning balls and playing with consistency are essential to winning future matches.

The Knights hit the road this Saturday to take on SUNY Brockport.

Ed. Note:The Knights dropped an exciting match to the Nazareth Golden Fliers, 3-2 on Wednesday.

The Knights were down 3-0 midway through the second half but found their way back into the game thanks to two goals by senior Andy Marzo. In the end, Nazareth found a way to hold off the Knights' attack, dropping them to 5-5-1 overall. Geneseo travels to SUNY Brockport on Saturday.