Entering this past weekend's matches versus SUNY Cortland and SUNY Oswego, the women's soccer team was in search of two wins to break free from a sixth place deadlock in the SUNYAC conference.
With a recent history of close matches against Cortland, the Knights knew it was imperative they performed at their best for the whole 90 minutes if they were to earn the victory. Severe rains lasting throughout the bus ride and warm-ups created a playing field that was prone to a low-scoring affair.
"The majority of the contest was fought 18 to 18, with our midfield getting much of the play. This amount of midfield play made it difficult to establish any sort of flow for either team," said Geneseo head coach Nate Wiley.
In an already stressful and closely fought match, the inclement weather increased the level of mental toughness the Knights needed in order to come out on top. At times, it seemed as if flippers and life jackets would have been more appropriate than cleats and shin guards.
With minimal touches for the forwards, the Knights were able to muster up only a handful of minimally threatening shots.
The scoreless deadlock was finally broken in the 90th minute when Cortland forward, junior Bridgette DeSantis buried a 25 yarder to all but seal the victory. The Knights weren't able to create any sort of counter with such little time remaining.
Wiley echoed the feeling of his players: "Losing is never fun, but something about losing in the last minute makes it hurt even more."
In the loss, Wiley noted that the back four and senior goalkeeper Katie Clerkin put forth an excellent effort, dealing with the conditions the best a defensive unit possibly could.
In spite of the defeat, the Knights had to regroup and face Oswego the following day. During the brief period between the games, the coaching staff emphasized the importance of getting off to a quick start and not letting the disappointment of the Cortland loss carry over and affect the Knights' play against Oswego. Wiley classified the match against Oswego as "a must-win game."
The combination of Oswego coming off a 4-0 win against SUNY Brockport, the Knights trying to bounce back from a defeat and another compromised playing surface, the match's result was anything but certain.
Just 16 minutes, 56 seconds into the contest, junior Kelly Bergin scored off an assist from sophomore Emily Novak in a well-executed combination. Geneseo's domination of possession in the first half led to an unassisted goal by first year midfielder Olivia Panepinto.
The Knights' control of the pace of play on the pitch continued throughout the second half. Junior Anne Beinetti essentially locked up the victory with a goal at 53:45 assisted by fellow junior Bre Glynn. Although Oswego broke up Geneseo's clean sheet in the waning minutes of the contest, the final result was never in jeopardy; the Knights won 3-1.
The Knights remain tied for sixth in SUNYAC with a record of 3-4 in SUNYAC play and 9-5 overall. Geneseo hosts Buffalo State this Friday at 3 p.m. in search of locking up a spot in the playoffs.