The Geneseo's men's lacrosse team heads into the 2012 season ranked No. 31 in the country, receiving some votes in the preseason United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll.
The Knights had a discouraging 2011 season, finishing 7-7 and falling to SUNY Potsdam in the SUNYAC semifinals. Geneseo met SUNY Cortland in every SUNYAC final from 2003-2010.
"We are disappointed in our results last year," head coach Jim Lyons said. "I think the conference is definitely getting better. Potsdam is keeping their better players and developing continuity."
Offensively, the Knights graduated a lot of firepower from last season, but senior Brendan Kurpis returns after leading the team with 34 goals during 2011.
"He's a guy who can score goals for us," Lyons said. "We will look for [Kurpis] to expand his game this year." Lyons added that Kurpis has a chance this season to become the second leading goal scorer in the program's history.
Lyons said he will look for several members of the midfield and attack to contribute offensively this season, particularly sophomores John Wettack and James Purpura. Last season as first years, Wettack had nine points and Purpura added eight points and seven goals.
Geneseo will look to add more offense through the transition game this year, an area where the team wasn't as successful as they would have liked last season. Lyons said that he believes this was due in part to having limited outdoor practice time last year. In 2011, the Knights only practiced outside seven times. This year they have already been outside four times.
"We can't get the transition game going practicing inside. We are better in transition the years we get out more," Lyons added. "We will try to continue to be creative."
Defensively, sophomore Ryan Zaremba returns into goal after starting all 14 games last year. He had a .525 save percentage and a 9.74 GAA (goals against average).
"We were bad defensively in the conference semifinals," Lyons said. "The defense in front of [the goalies] is more cohesive. We will be better on defense and I think we will allow a lot fewer goals."
According to Lyons, the Knights expect immediate contributions from freshmen Steve Aziz at midfield and Steve Cregan on attack. Lyons said he was also interested in seeing how sophomore basketball player Connor Fedge, who has first-year eligibility for lacrosse, develops. Fedge didn't play lacrosse last year but played all throughout high school.
Looking forward, Lyons said, "We lost four games by one goal last year. We know we can compete at a high level."