The 2017 season for the Geneseo men’s soccer team has come to an end. The Knights defeated Buffalo State College 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the SUNYAC Tournament, before losing 0-3 to SUNY Oneonta in the semifinals. The loss brings the team’s season record to 9-8-2.
An abrupt close to a season is tough for the whole team, but seniors often take the loss the hardest.
“Losing is definitely disappointing,” senior defender and captain Kevin McGrath said. “The goal every year is to win the SUNYAC Championship. Falling short is always frustrating.”
“No matter how far along you are in a tournament, a loss is going to be disappointing. The loss against Oneonta was the lowest point of the season,” head coach Dominic Oliveri said. “I was happy with our play in the first half, but the second half performance was a let-down.”
The team struggled throughout the regular season with maintaining momentum between halves and finishing strong, which was apparent in tournament play.
Looking at the positive aspects of the season helps to raise spirits and prepare for next year.
“Even though we lost, we made playoffs for the first time since 2014 and beat a nationally ranked team in Buffalo State,” McGrath said. “So, as disappointing as losing is, we can keep our heads up and use the loss as motivation for next year.”
Oliveri marked the win against Buffalo State as his favorite part of the season.
“The win against Buffalo State was without a doubt our best performance. It was the time we all really came together and fired on all cylinders,” Oliveri said. “There were long spells this season where we could have done better, but overall we proved ourselves as a decent squad.”
McGrath enjoyed the team’s unique camaraderie this fall.
“One thing about this team that has been different from past seasons is how everyone was emotionally engaged in nearly every game. From the starters to the last guy off the bench, everyone was wishing for nothing but success,” McGrath said. “That was a huge part of making it to the semis. The cheers from the bench really motivated every player on the field.”
With this season in the books, it’s time to look toward next year.
“Building off of this year’s successes is huge. We have a young core that is coming back, which can only help. Every person will come back more mature and hungry to win a championship,” McGrath said. “We are in one of the toughest conferences in the country, but I think our showing this year just proves that we can compete with any team.”
Specifically, Oliveri plans to work on the team’s offense.
“We need to learn how to initiate more attacks,” Oliveri said. “In the off-season, hopefully we can find some new personnel. We’re losing eight seniors including our top scorer [senior forward Joey Vucic]. I’m confident there will be people who step up next year.”
McGrath leaves the team with some positive thoughts and words of encouragement.
“Any player on the team can make a difference at any time, which is something that’s difficult to find in other teams,” McGrath said. “Geneseo is just a really enjoyable program to play for—the school supports its players well.”