The four-game winning streak of the women's soccer team came to a screeching halt Saturday when the Knights failed to slay the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons, falling 1-0 in the first round of the SUNYAC tournament.
The first half provided no real scoring opportunities for either team; the majority of the play was in the midfield with both teams having near equal times of possession. Head coach Nate Wiley said he believed the tight play was because "both teams have similar styles, not giving up opportunities and having efficient attacks."
Unlike in the last confrontation between the two teams, when Cortland scored in the final minute, Geneseo actually had a chance to respond after Cortland's junior Bridgette DeSantis scored the only goal of the game in the 65th minute. Geneseo relied on its staunch back four, seniors Lauren Lorow and Ashley Keogh, junior Alex Miller and sophomore Stephanie Verdino to keep DeSantis in check. Wiley felt "the back four did a great job on DeSantis … someone with that much talent is still going to figure out a few good shots regardless."
Since Geneseo was not playing poorly, no immediate changes were made. After another 10 minutes of play with no results, Wiley switched to a more aggressive 4-3-3 formation in an attempt to push additional players forward in search of the equalizer. With only a few minutes remaining, junior striker Kelly Bergin seemed to have created a promising opportunity in the box only to have her shot blocked at the last second by a Red Dragon defender. Cortland's experience showed down the stretch as they controlled possession, forcing the Knights to watch in agony as the last seconds of their season bled off the clock.
Despite the way the season ended, Wiley said he felt his team "competed well, not beating ourselves" and was "encouraged by [the team's] character and resiliency throughout the season."
In the loss, Wiley noted that senior Jane Matejcik, who typically plays up top but was converted to outside midfield because of injuries, adjusted well and gave a solid effort. Junior midfielder Bre Glynn had another outstanding game, covering what seemed to be the whole field at times. Wiley recalled a sequence in Geneseo's box when the score was still knotted up at zero where Glynn emphatically cleared the ball three consecutive times.
With the majority of talent and core players returning next fall, Wiley has already set the bar high in stating, "We anticipate big things next year … winning the conference should be expected of us."