As the women’s lacrosse season comes to a close, the Knights earned the third seed in the SUNYAC Tournament, finishing the regular season with a conference record of 6-2 and an overall record of 13-2. Geneseo matched up against Buffalo State in the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday April 28, defeating the Bengal Tigers 12-3. Since the Knights finished with the third seed, they had the advantage of a home game in the first round. After beating the Bengals, the rest of the tournament will be played at SUNY Cortland—the Red Dragons clinched home field advantage for the SUNYAC Tournament by clinching the top seed. But according to head coach Carly Ritchlin, her players are taking this tournament one game at a time.
“Cortland has hosted 11 of the 12 years I have been here, so for us to play there in the postseason is something our team is used to. We always end up playing there for the postseason at least once,” Ritchlin said. “But before we get to that point, we are just focusing on our next opponent—because if we cannot get past them, we do not advance in the postseason.”
Cortland has dominated the SUNYAC Conference, winning 17 of the conference’s 18 tournaments. Geneseo will need to be ready both physically and mentally in order to succeed.
“I tell our team before every game that when we execute our stuff and play how we are capable of, we are the best team out there. We truly are a special group when we operate efficiently and play how we have practiced,” Ritchlin said. “The teams that get the farthest in the postseason are the ones that come together and are able to perform under the pressure of the tournament and simply compete.”
This season the Knights have gotten a lot of support from their defense—these players have been able to anchor down and stop teams from going on a scoring frenzy. Ritchlin noted, however, that she would like to see her offense produce more in order to really put out the best effort.
“Our defense has been huge for us this year because they are always the ones that keep us ahead in games and put us in a position to win. It is crucial that our offense picks it up in the postseason because I still think they have not reached their potential,” she said. “Do not get me wrong, they have done a great job all season, but I have seen how good they can be—our offense is scary good when they are playing well together.”
For the four seniors on this team, the SUNYAC Tournament could be the last time they play organized lacrosse. Conversely, the nine freshman players are experiencing their first tournament. Watching these two groups mesh together has been what Ritchlin described as “the reason I love coaching here.”
“Geneseo is a special program because our team is so close knit. Our team is very coachable—they come in wanting to get better every day, which I am very thankful for,” she said. “For the seniors, I am positive that they are going to leave everything out there, and I feel as if the first-years will follow suit. It should be interesting how everything works out.”
The Knights will take on SUNY Fredonia at Cortland on Friday May 1 in the semifinals of the SUNYAC Tournament.