As the team moves toward SUNYAC play, the Geneseo men’s soccer team must put their most recent match behind them. The Knights were unable to score on Saturday Sept. 16, falling 0-1 to Hobart College.
Head coach Dominic Oliveri is more concerned with the way the team played rather than the overall outcome.
“Even though it was the game before conference play, I’m not worried about the loss,” Oliveri said. “I’m worried about how we lost. We were never really able to get control of the midfield, and because of this we struggled to open doors offensively. We need better command of the ball and to create more scoring opportunities.”
The statistics from the Knights’ game on Saturday Sept. 16 support Oliveri’s statement—Geneseo attempted only seven shots, with two on goal, compared to Hobart’s 16 attempts, with five on goal. If the Knights can increase the number of good shots taken, then they will have a better chance of winning.
Analyzing strengths and weaknesses will also improve team performance. Senior defenseman and captain Nick Keneally believes that the team’s best strength is their closeness.
“We have a lot of talent and whenever someone is injured or needs a sub, we have someone ready to step up,” Keneally said. “Team bonding and high team chemistry are also very essential to our success. Getting the new guys involved in what we do and becoming more comfortable around each other leads to us playing better on the field.”
The Knights’ weaknesses likely cause the insufficient offensive opportunities the team takes.
“The biggest improvement we need to make is not playing down to other team’s level,” Keneally said. “When playing weaker teams, we sometimes take it easy because we expect to win and we need to work on staying focused in these games.”
Oliveri counts on the upperclassmen to help the team focus as the pressure of the games increases.
“Our senior guidance is key, as well as leadership from junior [defenseman and] captain Greg Baumstein,” Oliveri said.
Oliveri also mentioned that several younger players are returning from injuries; he hopes his older players can rally them and restore concentration and confidence.
With conference play starting on Friday Sept. 22 against Buffalo State, it’s difficult to stick to the same strategies used in regular season games; retaining some rhythm is essential.
“The games become much more competitive and physical than anything we have seen so far this season,” Keneally said. “The key to winning these games is to outwork the opponent and to continue the momentum we have gained in non-conference games.”
The team must keep a level head in these aggressive games and prepare for heavy physicality. While focusing on each game is necessary, having long-term confidence holds equal importance. Both the coach and the players think the team has what it takes to thrive this season.
“Our first goal is to make our conference tournament, which we have unfortunately missed the past two years,” Keneally said. “After we make it to the tournament, anything can happen and our next goal will be to win the SUNYAC and move onto the NCAA Championship,”
“Obviously, I think we are capable of taking the SUNYAC title,” Oliveri said. “We want to secure the first or second seed, but will make do with what we get.”