Men's lax off to fast start on turf field

The men’s lacrosse team got off to the start they were looking for, defeating the Lycoming College Warriors 11-6 in their home opener at the new college stadium. 

The Knights dominated with a balanced attack that featured four players scoring multiple goals. First-year attack Zachary DeBottis ripped a game-high three goals to go along with one assist, efforts that earned him SUNYAC Player of the Week honors. Sophomore goaltender Michael Yehl saved nine Lycoming shots on goal and allowed only four goals in his 56 minutes in the crease. Yehl also received SUNYAC recognition and was named Goalie of the Week.

A solid win and a sweep of the SUNYAC weekly awards is a great beginning to a season that features a reinvigorated group of men that are ready to make the spring 2016 season a memorable one. Junior defenseman John Bender expressed his excitement with the results of the game.

“It’s all about getting to go against another team and battling for 60 minutes,” he said. “We feel really good about our team this year, with high expectations across all grade levels.”

His expectations held strong against Lycoming. Sophomore attack Ryan Kelly and junior attackers Tim Wright and Ryan Gulbransen combined for three goals and five assists. Senior midfielder captain Joe Chiara had one goal, two assists and snagged four ground balls.

The Knights will look to prove that their impressive freshmen-senior production is not a façade as they head into the season. If they can sustain this success throughout their non-conference schedule in March, then the Knights will be a force to be reckoned with come conference play in April.

Off the field, fans seem to also be excited for the season. Junior Danny Kane emphasized that his love for the team is largely due to their notable commitment.

“As is the case every year, all you can ask as a fan is to see your team give 110 percent,” he said. “The Geneseo men's lacrosse team has yet to let us down in that regard in my time here.”

Although the team has never let Kane down in terms of their effort, he did note that he has not seen the team reach the playoffs in his time here. He added that he believes that this may change this season, however

“This year might be the most talented roster I have seen thus far,” he said. “I expect big things.”

Before the season, the Knights knew they needed help all across the team in order to succeed. The effort against Lycoming proved that the potential for success is present, but what it will take to sustain this type of success is another question. Bender explained that the new College Stadium will be a major factor in getting the most out of the team.

“The new facilities have given us the opportunity to take our talent to the next level,” he said. “Playing at the new College Stadium amplifies the excitement from the players and fans alike and we all look forward to the next opportunity to defend our house.”

The pieces to be a conference contender are present. From the young and promising underclassmen to the talented veteran core of attackers and midfielders to an experienced defensive line and goalie, the Geneseo men’s lacrosse team is equipped for a successful season.

The ability to consistently perform at a high level, however, will be the deciding factor come playoff time. The lacrosse season will be a journey that will demand the players physically, mentally and emotionally and starting off 2-0 is the best way to begin.