Women’s soccer sets sights on first-round bye

October has been good to the Geneseo women’s soccer team. The Knights have put together a 5-0-1 record so far this month. Although their 1-1 draw at SUNY Cortland on Saturday Oct. 18 dropped them from the national rankings, Geneseo is ranked fourth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America East Region rankings. The Knights are the only team in the SUNYAC to receive votes. Geneseo has relied almost solely on its defense to get victories in previous seasons. The Knights have changed things up this season and their offense has now caught up to the level of their defense. Geneseo has scored 31 goals and allowed just nine—leading the SUNYAC in both categories.

The biggest cog for the Knights offense has been freshman midfielder/forward Leah Greene. Greene has posted nearly a third of Geneseo’s total goals this season and is tied for the most goals in the conference with 10.

“She’s just a player that does a good job getting herself in front of the goal,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “She’s taken advantage of those [goal scoring] opportunities.”

The Knights will have an opportunity to clinch a first-round bye in the SUNYAC tournament on Friday Oct. 24 and Saturday Oct. 25. Geneseo plays SUNY Plattsburgh on the 24th and SUNY Potsdam on the 25th—both games at home. To lock up a top seed in the tournament, the Knights need to win just one of these games or tie both.

“We’ve worked a lot this week on our defending,” Wiley said about how his team can grab a top seed. “Between doing a good job of possessing the ball and doing a good job of defending when we lose possession … [I think that] will hopefully allow us to continue to be successful.”

Although the Knights will be favored in both games, Plattsburgh should be a tougher match-up for Geneseo. The Cardinals allow less than one goal per game and have the highest save percentage in the conference (.846). Plattsburgh’s offense is formidable; they’ve scored 30 goals this season––just one fewer than Geneseo––in only 14 games.

Despite their statistical success, the Cardinals are battling for a playoff spot with five other teams. They have just one win in their last five games. Wiley, however, isn’t concerned about their record.

“They’ve got a new coach up there and they’re playing a little bit different than they have in the past,” he said. “I think for us it’s more of a concern of just sorting out what they’re trying to do.”

Potsdam is on the other end of the standings. The Bears are the only team in the SUNYAC that has been eliminated from postseason play. Still, Geneseo needs to be on its guard.

“Whether you’re playing a team that’s 15-0 or 0-15, you still have to show up and play,” Wiley said. “Potsdam’s a good example of a team that hasn’t really had a lot of success in conference, yet they just beat [SUNY] Fredonia who beat us … you can’t take anyone in our conference lightly.”

Assuming the Knights get at least two points Friday Oct. 24 or Saturday Oct. 25, they would play in a SUNYAC semifinal game at home on Nov. 5. Until then, the team will stay focused on their performance instead of wins and losses—something that has been a theme all season.

“We don’t talk about results as much as we talk about the process by which we play,” Wiley said