Men’s soccer season ends before SUNYACs

It was a tough last week of the season for the Geneseo men’s soccer team. It seemed likely that with only three games left in the season that the team would qualify for the SUNYAC Tournament after missing out in 2015. But after losing back-to-back away conference games against SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh, the team barely missed out on qualifying. The Knights seemed to be in prime position to make the SUNYAC Tournament. They went into their last two conference away games with a 4-3 conference record. All they needed were winning results against Potsdam and Plattsburgh. Instead, they suffered a 1-0 loss to Potsdam and a 2-0 loss against Plattsburgh on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, respectively.

“I think we knew that [we were in prime position to qualify], which got in our head a little bit,” head coach Dominic Oliveri said. “I knew it was going to be a difficult road trip. We knew we needed a result against Potsdam … we just did not play.”

For such an impressive season, the losses seemed to be attributed to a couple of mistakes and possibly some nerves, costing the Knights a trip to the playoffs. Two of the three goals scored on the Knights in the two-game stretch came from crosses into the six-yard box. “If we were in form, we would have cleared those initial balls,” Oliveri said.

In their previous five games before the game against Potsdam, the Knights’ defense was impeccable, posting three clean sheets and only letting in two goals. Going into their last game against St. John Fisher College, the team already knew they wouldn’t qualify, but it still meant a lot to get a result, as the team won by one goal. It especially meant a lot for the seniors on the team.

Oliveri said he didn’t initially plan on playing any of the seniors in the game against St. John Fisher, but that at practice the night before, the seniors told Oliveri how much it would mean to them to play. Oliveri had them start the second half, and they played for about 20 minutes. In the 52nd minute, junior midfielder Walter Savidis notched the game winner for the team with an unassisted goal.

With the win against St. John Fisher, the Knights ended the season with a record of 9-7-2, going 4-5 in conference play with a home record of 3-4-1 and an away record of 5-3-1. In 18 games, the team scored 26 goals and allowed an average of 1.44 goals per game. Senior forward Ethan Gunty led the team in points with 17, followed by senior midfielder Matt D’Amico with 15 points, and freshman forward Bryan Wager with seven.

As for next year, Oliveri hopes for the team to not only qualify for SUNYACs, but also for his younger players to continue to grow. The team was full of freshman and sophomores this year; Oliveri wishes to generate improvement in terms of their skill, as the college level can be tough to adapt to initially.

Moving forward, Oliveri also plans on possibly making some tactical changes to his team in order to get more numbers up on the field. “We don’t get enough forward up sometimes,” he said.

Regardless of not making the SUNYACs, the men’s soccer team should still be proud of a well-played season.