Men’s lacrosse adapts well to new coach

Senior mid-fielder Eric Lengenhausen looks for an open teammate to pass the ball. The Knights have had a promising season thus far, maintaining a 6-2 record, a momentum which they hope to keep for the remainder of the games. (Ash Dean/Photo Editor)

Geneseo men’s lacrosse is set to begin conference play on Saturday April 8 on the road at SUNY Oswego after finishing their non-conference schedule. The Knights recorded a resounding 22-2 victory over Elmira College on Saturday April 1 and a 8-4 win against Scranton University on Wednesday April 5.

The dominant performance against Elmira saw eight different Knights with a multi-goal game. Sophomore forward Zachary DeBottis and senior forward Tim Wright led the offense with three goals each. First-year head coach Nick Fiorentino was pleased with the effort on both sides of the ball.

“It was definitely our best offensive performance so far,” he said. “I think on the defensive side, too, they’re communicating well and pressuring the ball.”

Moving ahead of the Knights’ winning game against Scranton, Fiorentino emphasized the importance of the contest as their final chance to compete before beginning conference play.

“Scranton is a very well-coached team,” he said. “We’re going to be able to really see where we’re at, and it’s an exciting opportunity for us.”

In their first season under Fiorentino, the Knights enter SUNYAC competition with a 6-2 record. They have already surpassed their final win totals of five from each of the past four seasons. The Knights will now have to finish in the top four in the SUNYACs in order to advance to the playoffs—something they have not done since 2012.

Fiorentino has approached his coaching all season as a learning experience for both himself and the team; they adjust throughout the season, as each game teaches them more about themselves and what they need to do in order to remain successful.

“I think after some games, through two losses against very well-coached teams, we were able to identify some things we need to work on,” he said.

A winning record heading into conference play has not always proved to be a promise of success for the program. During the 2016 season, the Knights went 4-3 against non-conference opponents, but won just one more game over the rest of the season to finish 1-5 in the SUNYAC; they missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

One thing that the team has shown this year, however, is an ability to bounce back from a loss. Two of their highest scoring games this season both came after losses, which Fiorentino said could be a testament to how they reflect on themselves.

“Great teams are always going to look at themselves in the mirror and ask what they can do to better themselves,” he said. “That’s one of the things that happens right away after those losses—it is to put down a plan of what we have to do to be better.”

The players have responded well to his new system, as shown in the team’s results. Fiorentino is confident in the team’s ability to be ready to adjust as the season goes on.

“They’re extremely coachable and we throw a lot at them every day,” he said. “A lot of the time we’re in one place one week, and then we’re going at it from a different direction the next week, so it’s something where they have to be on their toes every day.”

With goals set on the SUNYAC Tournament and beyond, Fiorentino said the key to success is worrying about what they can control.

“Priority number one is our effort and attitude—we can control that,” he said. “What follows that is our execution. Our flow to our offense, communication to our defense and organization at both ends is critical for our success. If we can do that, I like our chances against anyone.”

The Knights will face off against their first SUNYAC opponent SUNY Oswego on Saturday April 8 at 12 p.m.