Men’s soccer gains strength with new players

In their last five games, the Geneseo men’s soccer team is 3-1-0, only suffering a loss to conference rival SUNY Oneonta. But with a 6-1 win over SUNY Fredonia on Sept. 24, a 1-0 win over Nazareth College on Sept. 27 and a 2-1 win over SUNY New Paltz on Saturday Oct. 1, the team is dominating.

After having their two-game winning streak broken by Oneonta, the Knights bounced back in a crucial conference game against New Paltz. They won 2-1 thanks to a goal by freshman forward Bryan Wager, which was assisted by current points-leader senior forward Ethan Gunty. Gunty continues to lead his team with four goals and one assist in his last four games.

While they have been phenomenal so far, the team has suffered some setbacks, however, with a season-ending injury to senior midfielder Alex Clar.

Freshmen midfielder Dean Kousmanidis has been affected by these setbacks. As a new player, he has found himself stepping up more than he originally expected. Although injuries have taken a toll on the team, everyone has stepped up and done their job, which has led to their success.

“We played all 2.5 of those three games very well. We were up on Oneonta with less than a minute left in our first half, and gave up a goal late in the first to shift momentum,” Kousmanidis said. “We didn’t close against Oneonta the way that we have proved we can in other tight games.”

The loss didn’t take a toll on the team, though. “[It] fired us up, didn’t hold us back,” Kousmanidis said. “We knew that New Paltz was a must-win game, and we proved who the better team was.”

Kousmanidis also noted how big of an adjustment college level play is to the high school level.

“The speed of play and physicality are night and day when comparing high school and college,” Kousmanidis said. “It’s a huge adjustment, but having a good group of guys to show us young guys the ropes is helpful.”

While the team currently has a great mentality, the question is how far can they go in the SUNYACs? Kousmanidis believes that if the team can continue to play confidently and can remain focused, they have a great chance to do well in the tournament.

With six games left in the season, though, this is easier said than done. The team has five remaining games against conference rivals SUNY Brockport, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh. Cortland is 3-1 in conference play and 8-2 overall, while Plattsburgh is 2-1 in conference play and 9-2 overall.

The two games that look to be the most challenging ones left for the team are the ones against Cortland and Plattsburgh, as Brockport is 2-6-2 overall and Oswego is 3-8. Together, both those teams only have one win in conference play. One other game that could be tricky is against Potsdam. Although they are 1-2 in conference play, they are 6-3-1 overall.

Regardless of the other teams’ statistics, however, the Knights are looking to go all the way this year in the SUNYACs. They have faced—and conquered—several obstacles already, so they are more prepared than ever for what might come with these next several games.