The Geneseo men’s soccer team is off to a hot start this fall, having won its first three games against the University of Rochester, Hiram College and Penn State Behrend. The Knights shutout Rochester on Sept. 1 in front of 1,500 fans at the College Stadium. The soccer team had a grueling schedule to begin the season, playing their first three games in just six days. According to head coach Dominic Oliveri, however, the contribution from the bench was instrumental in guiding the team to victory. “We’re really deep with talent this year. I’m comfortable going with our bench and we’re 17 or 18 guys deep, which helps immensely,” Oliveri said. “I think I have a group this year where no matter who’s starting and not starting, I’m extremely confident that my rotational players will play the same.”
Defense was key for the Knights in their first few games, allowing just one goal versus all three opponents combined. Additionally, the team put up 17 total shots while allowing only 11 to the opposition.
“Our center-backs have played extremely well,” Oliveri said. “Seniors Chris Kanaval and Brad Campion lead by example and are two anchors of our defense. Logan Calvey is our senior goalie and he sees the whole field, and that’s a big factor for us.”
Kanaval, Campion and Calvey are all veterans on a roster that includes 13 underclassmen. Calvey alone contributed 10 saves in the team’s first three matches. The Knights have also spread offensive production around with all four goals coming from different players. Despite that production, Oliveri still expects more.
“Four goals in three games is OK, but I know that we could have gotten a couple more goals in each game,” he said. “I think a little more confidence in front of the frame would help.”
The upcoming portion of the schedule will undoubtedly challenge the Knights––their next test includes four consecutive road games. The Knights won’t play again at the College Stadium until Sept. 25 when they face SUNY Fredonia and Oliveri understands that this current stretch carries a lot of significance.
“We’re in the middle of playing six consecutive games on the road,” he said. “I said during our preseason meeting that this seven-game stretch would dictate our season leading up to conference play, and so far so good. We just have to keep our focus.”
It may be tough to spend so much time traveling and playing in front of opposing crowds, but Oliveri remains confident.
“I think there’s more concentration when you leave campus,” he said. “I think they’re away from their friends and it’s strictly books and soccer when on the road. They’ve handled the first week extremely well and in the next couple weeks, I don’t see anything significant changing.”
The Knights’ next game is at Clarkson University on Friday Sept. 11.