An already great start has gotten better for the Geneseo women’s soccer team. After opening up the season with two wins in the Herb Lauffer Memorial Tournament, the Knights topped 21st-ranked Nazareth College 3-1 on Sept. 4 and St. John Fisher College 1-0 on Saturday Sept. 6. “Nazareth is one of the better teams we’ll play this year,” head coach Nathan Wiley said. “That’s the best a Geneseo women’s soccer team has played here in my nine or 10 years.” The concept of a “complete game” is something that eluded the Knights last season. Although their defense has always been strong, they often had trouble creating and finishing opportunities. Against Nazareth, Geneseo was able to combine its tight defense with eight shots on goal.
The second game of the weekend was much closer. The Knights and Cardinals were scoreless until the last 10 seconds of regulation. A misplayed ball from Fisher keeper Brooke Seavitt led to a goal from senior back/midfielder Erin Froehlich.
“The last 15-20 seconds [of the game] was just… what you want your team to do,” Wiley said.
“I was just so excited that I happened to be there at the right time,” Froehlich added.
The win, though much closer, told more about the team than any other game this season.
“We have a game plan. We have a way we want to play,” Wiley said. “The thing that was really impressive with our team [against Fisher] was that we did it for 90 minutes. We didn’t do it for 89 minutes and 50 seconds—we did it for 90 minutes.”
Froehlich was awarded the SUNYAC Offensive Player of the Week award for scoring the game-winner. Like sophomore back Patricia Galán, who won the Defensive Player of the Week last week, Froehlich won her award coming off the bench. The depth of this team has been reinforced by a new style of play put in by the coaching staff this season.
“It’s a system that has wide players in positions that we didn’t have before,” Wiley said. “[Froehlich’s] skill set fits in really well.”
As with any new system, many of the players had some trouble adjusting during spring practices.
“There was a learning curve with this,” Wiley said. “The first couple days of preseason we had quite a few players that were awestruck and confused.”
Although she was originally one of the skeptics, Froehlich said she has opened up to the new system.
“At first it was weird but now that we’ve gotten used to it, I think I see a lot more potential,” she said. “It’s giving us more opportunities offensively.”
The new system has absolutely been a success so far. At this point last season, the team had only scored one goal. They have scored seven this season. And with only one goal allowed over four games, the defense is also doing its job extremely well.
This next week will be critical for the Knights. After traveling to Alfred University on Friday Sept. 12, Geneseo hosts Houghton College on Saturday Sept. 13 and the Rochester Institute of Technology on Tuesday Sept. 16. RIT is currently ranked 16 in the NSCAA Coaches poll.
Despite the tough schedule, Wiley’s confidence is still as strong as ever.
“I’m really excited for us moving forward [because] we seem to really believe in what we’re doing,” he said. “I think that’s going to lead to a lot more success for us.”u