Men's soccer rebuilds confidence by rebounding vs. RIT at home

The Geneseo men's soccer team had a shaky week, first defeating Nazareth College at home 5-1 on Sept. 29 before losing two weekend road games to SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Oneonta on Friday Oct. 2 and Saturday Oct. 3 respectively. The Knights are now 5-4-3 on the season, but just 1-3 in SUNYAC games.

The week began with a dominant win for the Knights over the Nazareth Golden Flyers at the College Stadium. Junior midfielder Matt D'Amico and sophomore back Kevin McGrath both scored two goals. Geneseo outshot Nazareth 26-6 on the night.

"Our ball movement was the best it's been in a long time,” head coach Dominic Oliveri said. "They weren't very strong, so I wanted to play a lot of guys and get a lot of goals, which we did. We were pretty successful offensively for the first time in a long time and I was hoping that game would give us some confidence going into the weekend, but instead, it seemed to have an opposite effect."

The Knights traveled to New Paltz for a game on Friday Oct. 2, which they lost 2-1. The game was mostly even and the score remained tied until New Paltz senior midfielder Joe Hughes put the Hawks on top in the 79th minute. D'Amico scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 36th minute for Geneseo.

"For 90 minutes, we just didn't play well,” Oliveri said. "We played well for 30 or 40 minutes of the game, but that's not good enough."

The Knights finished up the weekend with a rough 4-0 loss at the hands of powerhouse Oneonta, a team that remains undefeated in SUNYAC games and is 8-2-1 on the season. Games on the tail end of back-to-backs continue to pose problems for the Knights.

"Mentally, we were never into the game,” Oliveri said. "They scored about 25 seconds in just after the kickoff. To hand a goal to a team like that can be pretty devastating mentally. We never recovered and I thought our effort was pretty questionable against a team like that in the first half."

The remaining conference games on the schedule will now be critical for the Knights as they hope to secure a playoff berth. Following a home game against the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Knights will play five straight conference opponents, including 9-1-2 SUNY Plattsburgh, 7-2-2 SUNY Brockport and 6-3-2 SUNY Cortland. With the team staggering, Oliveri expressed hopes to find a perfect combination of players to get back on track.

"At this point in the season, I shouldn't have questions with personnel, but I still do,” he said. "I'm trying to find that solid group that can put us over the top."

The players and coaches will continue to focus on one opponent at a time, but Saturday Oct. 10’s home game against Brockport is already on their radar.

"Right now, we're toward the bottom of the conference, so we have to win games,” Oliveri said. "We have to protect our home turf come Saturday and we'll take it one game at a time, but we need results.”