On Wednesday Nov. 2, the Geneseo women's soccer team's season came to a dramatic ending in the conference semifinals, as they fell to SUNY Cortland on penalty kicks, 3-2.
To reach the semis, Geneseo first defeated SUNY Oneonta on Oct. 29 by a score of 1-0. After losing to Oneonta 1-0 earlier in the year, Geneseo avenged its previous loss with a strong, all around defensive effort.
Head coach Nate Wiley said the Oneonta Red Dragons were the "defending champs for a reason … even though they have not been scoring many goals this season they were still a dangerous team."
Oneonta's unconventional formation, which had up to six players in midfield position at one time, makes them difficult to play against. Using Oneonta's aggressive formation against them, Wiley constructed his game plan around playing solid defense and creating scoring opportunities off counter attacks.
Wiley's instruction yielded a goal by Geneseo at 5 minutes, 46 seconds when senior Kelly Bergin used her left foot from six yards out to finish a cross delivered by classmate Anne Beinetti.
"Anytime playing on the road, playing against a good team, getting that early goal is nice," Wiley said.
Now down a goal, Oneonta seemed to be chasing Geneseo the rest of the way. While Oneonta arguably had the better play throughout the rest of the game, Geneseo's defense stood strong and did not allow a goal.
Oneonta had a few threatening chances inside Geneseo's 18 yard box, just to have the attempts on goal blocked by the Geneseo defense.
"You've got to have that," said Wiley. "You've got to be the team that's going to work harder, and I thought we did."
Oneonta had the advantage in shots, 16-10, and corner kicks, 8-3, but was unable to get the equalizer. Sophomore goalie Julia Sanger had four saves in the shutout.
Geneseo managed the game well in the waning minutes, essentially taking the air out of the ball and not giving Oneonta any thought of a late tying goal.
The Knights were unable to continue their winning ways, however, as they fell to Cortland days later.
While the defense kept on impressing – not allowing a goal in regulation or either of the two over sessions – the offense sputtered, only putting two shots on frame. The offensive players were not able to capitalize on any of the three corner kicks they earned.
In the penalty kicks, Cortland converted its first three shots but missed on the fourth, but Geneseo missed on its second, third and fifth attempts.
Remarkably, the Knights only surrendered two goals in the final nine games of the season.
Geneseo finishes the year with a 14-4-2 record.