The Geneseo women's lacrosse team opened its 2011 campaign over spring break in Orlando, Fla.
Head coach Carly Ritchlin said her team was excited to "go down and use the fields to practice" since weather had until now confined their practices to Kuhl Gym. The weather conditions in Geneseo leave the women's lacrosse team without an outdoor field to practice on for a portion of the early part of the season. Coaches aren't able to simulate game situations well in a gym, and players don't get the chance to play on a full-sized field until the first time they play another team.
The first game in Orlando was against Sweet Briar College, an all-women's college in Virginia. Freshmen Caroline Buonocore and senior Anna Hutchings led the Knights with three goals and an assist each in the 24-2 win.
A few days later, Geneseo took on Wheaton College of Massachusetts with similar results, a 21-7 win. Buonocore shined again, scoring seven goals on eleven shots. Sophomore midfielder Rachel Petrone also contributed four goals and an assist in the win. Freshmen Meredith Weber came off the bench to net two goals, and senior Annie Smith played all 60 minutes in goal and stopped nine shots.
"We are much further in terms of being prepared at this time of the year than ever before," Ritchlin said. "I loved how the girls were very coachable and able to put a complete game together."
After coming back to the frigid temperatures and unplayable conditions of upstate New York, Geneseo matched up with No. 19-ranked William Smith College. This time, the game wasn't as one-sided.
Last year, the Herons beat Geneseo 21-13 and were up by 10 goals by the half. This year, the Knights started off slowly, allowing the Herons three goals at the start of the match. Hutchings and Buonocore scored the next two goals, and the scoring then went back and forth until the half, where Geneseo found itself up 11-7. The story was the same in the second half; each team traded goals until the score was tied with 25 seconds left on the clock. Buonocore was given a free position and converted, and William Smith couldn't respond in the final seconds.
Buonocore added another seven goals to her season total in the game-winner. Sophomore Rachel Petrone and junior Emily Haggerty each pitched in two goals and an assist. Smith played all 60 minutes in goal, saving 10 shots in 33 opportunities.
"It was great to redeem ourselves after last year's disappointment," Ritchlin said. "I think we're playing really well this early in the season, and we're only looking to get better."
Geneseo is now 3-0 on the year, with a game against St. Lawrence University coming on Wednesday. Next week, the team travels to SUNY Fredonia (7-0) to open up the SUNYAC schedule. The team's first true home game isn't until Thursday against the University of Rochester.u
The Knights notched yet another victory on Wednesday, defeating St. Lawrence, 16-4. Senior Anna Hutchings led Geneseo, tallying three goals and two assists.