Geneseo men’s lacrosse opened their season in March with three straight wins. The Knights kicked off the new campaign on March 1 with an 11-5 road victory against Morrisville State College, then celebrated their home opener on March 5 with a fourth quarter comeback to beat Alfred University 13-12. The team traveled to Ohio and beat Wilmington College 18-7 on Saturday March 18.
The Knights’ comeback victory over Alfred was one in which they had trailed throughout most of the game. After taking a 2-0 lead early on, they allowed five straight Alfred goals. Alfred held the lead throughout most of the game, but Geneseo was able to keep it close. In the fourth quarter, they rallied from a 12-10 deficit by scoring three unanswered goals to seal the victory.
Senior forward Tim Wright scored a behind-the-back goal to tie the game at 12-12 with just over seven minutes left in the game after sophomore forward Kyle Wanamaker found him with a pass in front of the net. Four minutes later, senior forward Michael Engstrom scored the go-ahead goal off a pass from junior forward Alex Leuze.
“That fourth quarter was huge for us; we just never gave up,” Engstrom said in an interview with geneseoknights.com. “Defensively we held them to one goal and got some key goals from offensive players.”
Engstrom, the team captain, believes that the team’s work ethic could be a key to their overall success this season.
“We come into practice every day competing and working hard,” he said to geneseoknights.com. “We’re always working hard in the weight room and always looking to get better every day. I think if we take it one game at a time we’ll be very successful this season.”
Sophomore forward Zachary DeBottis has been the scoring leader for the perfect Knights thus far, with nine goals and three assists, totaling a team-high 12 points. DeBottis scored a career-high of five goals in the win over Wilmington, after tallying a pair in each of the first two games.
On the defensive side, three underclassmen have been mainstays in the lineup. Sophomore defenseman Jack Crowley, freshman defenseman Augie Holekamp and sophomore defenseman Jake Okun have started all three of the Knights’ contests in front of junior goaltender Michael Yehl.
The wins mark a successful start to the career of first-year head coach Nick Fiorentino. Fiorentino was hired in November with the hopes of taking the program back to the SUNYAC Tournament.
While this is Fiorentino’s first head coaching job, he has held assistant roles at some of the top programs in Division III. This includes experience playing for and coaching alongside the NCAA’s all-time leader in men’s lacrosse victories, Jim Berkman, of Salisbury University.
The team does not begin conference play until April 8, giving them a total of eight games to get acquainted with Fiorentino’s system and get into a rhythm as a team. For Wright, Engstrom and the rest of the seniors on the team who have never made a playoff appearance, this season should feature a sense of urgency to reach that goal.
A scheduled away game against Clarkson on March 15 was cancelled due to “snowy conditions and frigid temperatures,” according to geneseoknights.com. A make-up date for the game has not yet been scheduled.
The Knights will travel to St. John Fisher College on Thursday March 23 for a game scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Their next home game will be against Olivet College on Saturday March 25 at 1 p.m.