The Geneseo men’s soccer team dropped the first two games of the season at the Pennsylvania State Behrend tournament on Saturday and Sunday Sept. 1 and 2, respectively.
Going into the tournament, head coach Dominic Oliveri acknowledged his team’s inexperience.
“We are very, very young,” he said. With only four seniors and over half of the squad made up of underclassmen, the tournament provided a key opportunity for the newcomers to get their feet wet and acclimate to the faster-paced college game.
In the first game, the Knights fell 4-0 to Ohio Northern University, who appeared in the third round of the 2011 NCAA Division III tournament. The experience Ohio Northern gained in postseason showed, as the Polar Bears outshot the Knights, 16-5. In the second half, Ohio Northern added three more goals to put the game out of reach.
Senior goalkeeper Nick Voggel made five saves in net for the Knights. Coach Oliveri remained positive after the game, praising the Knights’ control of the game for long stretches, despite the end result.
In the consolation game Sunday, Geneseo matched up against the Penn State Behrend Lions. The Knights fell behind early on, conceding a goal three minutes into the match. This time, however, they were quick to respond. Senior Alex Stephan scored Geneseo’s first goal of the season off of a direct kick from about 24 yards out to even the match at 1-1.
The teams remained deadlocked until late in the second half, when the Lions scored two goals in a span of 15 minutes, the second coming off of a one-on-one encounter with Voggel.
Just after the kickoff, a rough challenge resulted in four cards, including a red for a Penn State player and a yellow for Geneseo junior Ryan Yurchak. Shaking off the disciplinary measure, Yurchak poked in a goal with just over 30 seconds left in the match, but the Lions were able to hold on for the victory.
“Besides the results, we knocked the ball around very well,” Oliveri said.
The Knights host Clarkson University at 4 p.m. on Friday Sept. 7 and perennial power St. Lawrence University on Saturday Sept. 8. Oliveri added that it is important not to look past either team and that both should be excellent games.