Following a rollercoaster of a season filled with mountainous ups and ugly downs, the Geneseo field hockey team entered the SUNYAC playoffs on a high note on Wednesday Nov. 2. In the semifinal matchup against SUNY New Paltz, the Knights won 1-0. The team will face SUNY Oneonta on Saturday Nov. 5 in the tournament finals.
The Knights have had an impressive second half of the season, winning eight of their nine matches played in the month of October. This momentous second half of the season stands in stark contrast to the rough first half of the season. The team had a disappointing 1-8 record for the duration of September. In addition to a poor record, the chances of a playoff berth were bleak.
The team seems to have adapted a completely new vibe, outscoring their opponents 38 to six in their last 10 games. As a matter of fact, the Knights went on a rare eight-game winning streak during October—the second longest streak in Geneseo field hockey history.
“Once we started feeling how it felt to win, we really turned on the jets,” freshman forward Elisa Arcara said. “We started to get more focused.”
Despite having an impressive record in October, the Knights lost their last regular season game to the University of Rochester Yellow Jackets 3-2. The Yellow Jackets are currently ranked No. 4 in the North Atlantic Division of the NCAA Division III regional rankings. The Knights gave them a run for their money, however, as the close game ended in a stroke, which is a penalty resulting in a shoot-out.
Moving into the SUNYAC Tournament, though, Geneseo was prepared for a fight. The Knights had already faced New Paltz once this season in a game where the outcome was not good. After giving up five goals, the Knights took a 5-1 loss on their home turf, contributing to and extending the winning drought the women faced in September.
In a hard fought game, the Knights pulled off the victory against New Paltz thanks to a goal at the 30-minute mark by junior midfielder Diana Ruggiero on a penalty corner. The best performance of the game, however, went to junior goalie Nicole Gregg, who sealed the Knights’ sixth and most important shutout of the season. Gregg had matched her season-high of 11 saves. She carried out her heroic performance despite the Knights getting outshot 21-9.
In the 2015 SUNYAC Tournament semifinals, the Knights were in a very similar situation against New Paltz, as Geneseo lost 2-1 to them. This time around, however, the Knights aim to win the final in what looks to be an intense SUNYAC Tournament final against Oneonta on Saturday Nov. 5 at Geneseo.
Following a win in the championship game, Geneseo can claim a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament.