Men's soccer splits weekend against SUNYAC foes

The men's soccer team continued its season on the road over the weekend, defeating Buffalo State 4-0 on Friday and falling 0-1 to SUNY Fredonia on Saturday. Geneseo has advanced its record to 8-7-1 overall and to 5-4-0 in SUNYAC play.

The Knights took control of Friday's game against Buffalo State right from the start, scoring their first goal in the 13th minute of play. Junior Colin Begy fed the ball from the outside to senior Ben Ariola, who netted the goal to give Geneseo a quick lead.

The team showed no sign of slowing down; its next goal came just 11 minutes later. Freshman Ryan Yurchak fired a shot past the keeper to advance Geneseo's lead to 2-0. The final goal of the half came from freshman Craig Schackner, who put in an unassisted goal at the 35-minute mark. Ariola said that Geneseo's 3-0 lead at halftime put the team "right where we wanted to be."

The Knights came out just as aggressively in the second half, opening the period with a goal in the 54th minute. Begy tallied his second assist of the night, passing from the outside to Mort, who notched the goal and widened the gap to 4-0.

The Knights took the opportunity to put in several players from the bench, and though no scoring occurred for the remainder of the half, Geneseo held on to possession and outshot the opponent 9-4. Junior Sam Murphy posted one save in goal to shut out Buffalo State.

Ariola stressed that the team was successful because they "jumped on [Buffalo State] early" and maintained pressure throughout the match. Mort attributed the win to "exploiting the outsides" and the team's strong defense, which shut down the opponents and allowed for more offensive freedom.

Saturday's match-up against Fredonia proved to be more of a challenge for the Knights. The team came out strong in the first 25 minutes, creating several opportunities for goal and "having the better part of the play," Ariola said. Geneseo allowed the first goal in the 29th minute when senior John Grabowski headed in an assist from freshman Luke Tylutki to put the Blue Devils up 1-0.

Though the Knights outshot their opponent 14-6 throughout the game, they "didn't get in and finish any chances," Ariola said. Fredonia's lone goal determined the result, and Murphy took the loss with one save in goal.

"We played well enough to win. We were unlucky in that we couldn't finish our chances," Ariola said. Mort said he believed that the loss "will ultimately help us out. We can use it to make us stronger for the postseason."

Though the Knights lost to Fredonia on Saturday, Friday's win was enough to clinch them a playoff spot. As the postseason commences for the Knights, Ariola feels confident in his team's ability to win the SUNYAC title: "Everyone is back to 0-0 now," he said. "We have just as good a chance as anyone else."

The Knights close out their season away against St. John Fisher College on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Ed. Note: The Knights erupted for four goals in the first half as they defeated St. John Fisher, 4-1 on Wednesday night. They kick off postseason play this Saturday at SUNY Plattsburg.