Any spectators who left the Geneseo women's lacrosse game Tuesday at SUNY Fredonia after the Knights surrendered their seventh unanswered goal just 11:54 into the contest may find Geneseo's 11-9 win hard to believe.
Whiteout conditions early on hampered Geneseo's game plan of cross-field passing and quick ball movement. The low visibility led to turnovers which, combined with a few critical errors on defense, led to a commanding Fredonia lead.
"Down 7-0 was clearly not the way we wanted to start out our first conference game of the year," said head coach Carly Ritchlin.
After withstanding a ten-minute flurry of both snow and goals, Geneseo countered with an impressive 8-1 run of its own. Senior Casie Damore got the run started for Geneseo, recording her fifth goal of the season at the 12:36 mark of the game. Senior midfielder Anna Hutchings scored with four seconds left in the first half to tie the game at eight and complete the shift of momentum.
"The fact that we did come back and tie it up at halftime says a lot about the team's heart and determination … Once we started the second half we were controlling the game a lot better," Ritchlin said. "We made some adjustments with draws and on defense and we were sliding to the ball quicker so they didn't have as many opportunities to shoot."
While Geneseo's swift comeback may have made Fredonia look like a high school team, Fredonia continued to fight back throughout the second half.
After freshman duo Emily Haggerty and Caroline Buonocore stretched the Geneseo lead to two goals in the second half, Fredonia answered with a goal at the 21:48 mark to stay within reach of the lead.
Damore crushed Fredonia's chance at a comeback and solidified the win for Geneseo with her third goal of the game less than a minute before the horn.
Haggerty finished with two goals and sophomore Lea Paris served up two assists in the game.
Crucial to the victory was the play of senior goalie Annie Smith, who stopped 11 shots in the contest. "For Smith to stay composed and get back into the game as quickly as she did was important … for our win," Ritchlin said. "I never felt 100 percent comfortable during the game because it was so close, but toward the end we were definitely taking them out of their game, and they started making some major mental errors."
Ritchlin also noted that junior Johanna Trupp has transitioned extremely well from her attack position last season to be a major help on defense and in transition.
Geneseo will face the University of Rochester on Thursday at 4 p.m. and SUNY Potsdam on Saturday at 1 p.m. Both are home games.