Last season, the Geneseo women’s lacrosse team had the best year in program history. This year, the Knights are looking for that same spark and success from the previous year. After receiving an at-large bid following a runner-up finish in the SUNYAC tournament last year, the Knights upset previously undefeated Susquehanna University (Pa.), 15-7, in a first-round matchup, before falling to Bowdoin College, 10-6, in the second round.
This year’s squad has big shoes to fill but is off to a good start. Geneseo ranked 10th in the Lacrosse Magazine NCAA Division III Women’s Preseason Top-20 Poll, released in January.
Head coach Carly Ritchlin, in her 11th season with the Knights, returns nine of 11 starters from last season’s 13-6 squad that made the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Though the team is expected to have similar success, Ritchlin knows it won’t be easy.
“I think the first thing we decided to do at the start of the season was that work needed to be done,” she said. “We couldn’t just rely on the fact that we were successful last year and that it would just carry over into this year, and we would just show up to games and win games and have it be that easy.”
One of the key factors in continuing the winning ways of last season is to rely on the depth of the squad. Despite losing five seniors, four of whom were starters, Ritchlin acknowledges the team’s talent and is confident it has younger girls who can step up and fill these roles.
On Saturday March 1, the Knights traveled to St. Joseph’s College, where they had their first game of the season.
Geneseo senior attack Emily Haggerty scored five goals and added an assist to lead the Knights to a 14-4 victory. Senior attack Caroline Buonocore and senior attack Meredith Weber each finished with two goals and an assist for the Knights.
During the early minutes, Geneseo fell behind, but the team then fired out three consecutive goals and finished the game with a 37-11 advantage in shots. Ritchlin knows there is still work to be done but is stressing total commitment and focus from her players.
“We are trying to find the small things to make a difference; one of the things we are working on this year is individual preparation,” Ritchlin said. “What we are doing individually is to prepare so that when we come together as a team, we have all the necessary tools that are put together that will allow us to win these big games.”