The Knights suffered a close 1-0 defeat at the SUNYAC Championship match on Saturday Nov. 5 by Buffalo State. Despite the loss, head coach Nate Wiley said that there were many positives for the program to take away from the 2016 women’s soccer season. “I thought we had a great year, especially considering we played 17 games and only lost three,” Wiley said. “There are a lot of positives that you can gain from that.”
For example, one impressive aspect of this year’s team was a strong defense. “I think our defense was good from the beginning of the season; it wasn’t something that needed to be improved upon,” Wiley said.
Even in the SUNYAC Tournament final game, the team had five saves compared to Buffalo’s three saves. The program has always had competitive defense, but this year it was taken to a new level.
In the 17 games played this season, the team only let up six goals to their opponents. The team was propelled to their success this season by denying opponents the chance to score. All in all, it was close to one of the best seasons in the history of the Geneseo women’s soccer team.
Additionally, junior forward Leah Green, senior forward Laurie Knapp and freshman defender Taylor Clar were named to the SUNYAC All-Tournament Team.
With the end of any season, though, comes the inevitability of losing key senior players, which will certainly affect this team. After this season, the Knights are graduating a rather large class of nine seniors from the women’s soccer team, all whom have had a significant impact on the program.
Without a doubt, this will be a hit for the team, seeing as this class has gone to the SUNYAC finals three times out of their four years here at Geneseo, winning the tournament once. “They are a pretty special group,” Wiley said.
Luckily, Wiley noted that the returning members of the team all embody the winning mentality the seniors possessed, while still showing good sportsmanship. “The quality of the players we are returning is just as good as we’ve had going into the next year, so I’m excited,” Wiley said. “I think we’ve got a good recruiting class coming in to complement that group.”
The lessons learned by the returning players will no doubt help the freshman players next season, too.
While the loss at the SUNYAC championship was no doubt heartbreaking, the Knights refuse to be let down by this season. Instead, they look at it as a strong showing for Geneseo women’s soccer, as it is no small task to come in second. The confidence and effort among the players was never lacking. “It’s always unfortunate, but only one team ever gets to win its last game,” Wiley said.