The Geneseo women’s lacrosse team is off to a hot start, winning five games in a row to begin the season undefeated. The Knights look to go into SUNYAC play undefeated, with hopes to secure their first SUNYAC title in program history. Over spring break, the team traveled down to Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida to train. Head coach Carly Ritchlin said that the trip was a good bonding experience for her team.
“Chemistry-wise, it is more beneficial to us because the women get to have fun in Florida and we get to feel more comfortable with our overall game,” Ritchlin said.
The benefits go beyond team chemistry for Ritchlin, however.
“It’s essential to be able to be down there in the warm weather,” she said. “Playing on a full field really helps us get our transition game down and prepare for our opponents.”
Winning the conference outright will be no easy task for the Knights, as SUNY Cortland has won the conference title every year since 1999. The Knights, however, have still had success—receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament the past two seasons. Ritchin emphasized her hopes that her team will be able to build on that.
“It is important that we put all the pieces together that we have built upon during the preseason and non-conference games, and that will help us advance and create opportunities to win in our tough conference,” Ritchlin said. “We haven’t won the conference championship, so every game we play is key for us to get that at-large bid. If we keep learning and growing, we can put ourselves in a position to succeed.”
In women’s lacrosse in the SUNYAC, the teams are very balanced. Much like “March Madness” in NCAA Division I men’s basketball, any team can beat any other team on any given night. This makes the level of competition high; players and coaches must be on top of their game every night in order to come away victorious.
“We have a target on our back and we need to play with a mental toughness every time we step on the field,” Ritchlin said. “A win against us would help the other teams get that at-large bid … We need to play to win and come out with the same fire and intensity that we coaches have seen all preseason and in our first games of the season.”
Geneseo is currently ranked 16th in the country by the IWLCA Coaches poll. The same poll has Cortland ranked sixth. The Knights will open SUNYAC play against SUNY New Paltz at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday March 28 at 1 p.m.