Men’s soccer starts off strong after opening weekend

After an exciting opening weekend, the Geneseo men's soccer season is off to a successful start.  The team won the Penn State Behrend tournament title with a 3-3 draw against the host on Saturday, followed by a 2-0 win over Elizabethtown College on Sunday.

The Knights opened Saturday's match versus Penn State Behrend lethargically, conceding a goal in the seventh minute of play. Geneseo answered in the 24th minute with a set piece opportunity, as junior Alex Stephan netted an assist from sophomore Ryan Yurchak. Minutes later, senior Ian Mort assisted freshman Neil Allen in a successful give-and-go play that yielded the team's second tally.

The team started the second half much as it had the first, allowing an early goal in the 51st minute. Penn State Behrend remained in control and found the net again at 61 minutes, 46 seconds, securing a 3-2 lead. Geneseo worked to regain possession of the ball and retaliated in the 83rd minute as Allen scored his second goal off a feed from Mort, leveling the score at 3-3. With no goals from either side in remaining regulation time and two overtimes, the teams went into a penalty-kick shootout, which resulted in Geneseo's favor after 11 strikes per team. Senior Sam Murphy posted two saves in goal for the Knights and scored the deciding penalty kick, which allowed Geneseo to advance to Sunday's championship game.

In reflection of Saturday's match, first year head coach Dominic Oliveri admitted to a slow start but commended his players on their hard work ethic and "never giving up."

Heading into Sunday's match against Elizabethtown, Oliveri said he knew the Knights were "up against better competition." The team rose to the occasion, however, playing with intensity and dominance throughout the entire match. Geneseo made its mark on the opening kickoff of the second half, as the players penetrated Elizabethtown's defense with a fast-paced run. It ended when senior John Piaggione volleyed an assist from Allen at 45 minutes, 59 seconds. Yurchak scored the team's second goal in the 76th minute as he outran defenders and fired an unassisted ball into the net. Murphy came up with three saves as the Knights coasted to a 2-0 victory.

"The boys played well the entire match. I was happy with their intensity, work ethic and possession," Oliveri said.

"I'm optimistic about the season because we run so deep with our seniors. We have great leadership that I believe will allow us to claim the SUNYAC title this year." He also commented specifically on the high level of fitness that his players exhibit, stating that it was one of the team's strengths.

The Knights look to maintain their undefeated record as they travel to Clarkson University on Sept. 9 and St. Lawrence University on Sept. 10.