For the second year in a row, Geneseo’s field hockey team could not win its first game of the SUNYAC tournament. The Knights went into the match as the second seed, but come playoff time, especially in a tough division, anyone can win.
On Saturday Nov. 8, Geneseo faced SUNY New Paltz in the semifinals. The Eagles jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, beating Geneseo 3-1 and subsequently ending the Knights’ season.
New Paltz eventually took the entire championship title after beating SUNY Cortland the next day.
Geneseo’s season came to a close with a final record of 13-7 and a second place regular season finish in the conference.
“It’s important that we don’t let this season’s ending loss define what we’ve done all year,” head coach Jess Seren said. “It was the toughest schedule we’ve played in the six seasons I’ve been here. This group has a lot to be proud of.”
The Knights will enter the next season as a considerably different team. Eight seniors will graduate, including Kayla DeAngelis, who set the single-season record for points, and standout defensive player Bridget McGovern. DeAngelis and McGovern’s performance this year, as well as senior Katie Farley and sophomore Sarah Malinak was good enough to earn them a spot on the all-SUNYAC first team.
Senior Kerry Hosford and freshman Liz Doherty were placed on the second team.
Seren sees the losses as an interesting challenge for the upcoming season.
“It will definitely change the dynamic of the team – one player has the ability to do that, let alone eight. But that’s part of the fun of it. We will make adjustments based on who we have coming back and who we have coming in and be ready to go just like we do every year,” Seren said.
Though the team is losing about a third of its roster, numerous starters who had breakout years will return. Sophomore Dayna Mercer followed up her SUNYAC Rookie of the Year achievement with another strong year as goalie, tallying five shutout matches during the season. On offense, sophomore Sarah Malinak excelled, finishing the year with 21 goals and six assists.
While the season comes to an end after coming so close to the title, Seren can only look back with fondness.
“I’ll remember the growth and progress of this team from the start of preseason throughout the course of the fall,” she said. “What they accomplished and how much they’ve grown since August has been significant. They’re such a pleasure to work with, and I’ve never had more fun watching a team in practice or in games. To have been able to be a part of such a special group has been an honor for me.”