Young soccer squad still finding rhythm

Another up-and-down weekend for the men’s soccer team brought it to a 3-5-2 record midway through the season.

The Knights currently sit in sixth place in the SUNYAC standings, a stark contrast to the 2011 season, when a senior-led team raced out to a 6-3-1 record. This year’s team is inexperienced, especially on defense, but it hasn’t failed to put the ball in the net, especially on set plays, which account for seven of the team’s 12 goals.

On Friday Sept. 28, the Knights hosted the SUNY New Paltz Hawks. After a poor start, five Knights came on at once in a mass substitution. This move paid dividends when junior Pat Lynch connected with sophomore Richard Bellusci on a corner kick in the 30th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Bellusci’s header sailed just inside the left post for his second goal in as many games.

“Those five guys gave us a nice spark off the bench,” head coach Dominic Oliveri said.

The momentum stayed with the Knights, as they picked up a penalty kick opportunity just before halftime. Although New Paltz goalie sophomore Andres Montoya made a spectacular save off of Geneseo senior co-captain Alex Stephan’s initial shot, the rebound came out to sophomore Jason Falk, who put the ball away to double the advantage.

After halftime, Geneseo settled into its rhythm and took control of the run of play. Although the Knights were unable to muster another goal, the young defense held and prevented New Paltz from getting back into the game.

On Saturday Sept. 29, the Knights hosted the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons. Geneseo came out strong, scoring first after freshman Chris Kanaval scored off an assist from Stephan.

Oneonta responded quickly, scoring goals in the eighth, 26th and 36th minutes to take a 3-1 halftime advantage. The visitors asserted their dominance, limiting Geneseo to five shots for the entire match and consistently testing the Knights defense and senior goalie Nick Voggel, who made two saves on the day.

In the end, Oneonta’s firepower proved to be too much for the Knights, who conceded another goal in the 79th minute and fell, 4-1.

Oliveri said that while his team started well, the team “never matched [Oneonta’s] intensity after their first goal.”

Despite his team’s somewhat erratic record, Oliveri said he knows the team can play better.

Geneseo plays SUNY Brockport on Saturday Oct. 6.

Editor’s Note:

The Knights fell, 1-0 against the Nazareth Golden Flyers on Wednesday Oct. 3. Geneseo falls to 3-6-3 on the season.