Men’s lacrosse attributes team confidence to success, looks to win conference games

Freshman midfielder James Pratt turns up the field in search of his teammates in the 9-8 win against St. John Fisher College on Monday April 9. The Knights were able to start off strong in what will be a pivotal week of games. (Keith Walters/director of multimedia)

The Geneseo men’s lacrosse team continues to take on their out-of-league opponents as they defeated St. John Fisher College 9-8 on Monday April 9. The men continued this win streak when they beat SUNY Brockport 3-2 on Wednesday April 11. They hope to continue adding victories to their record as they prepare to play SUNY Oswego on Saturday April 14. 

The men have begun the season with a tough schedule, traveling for their past seven games. These away games can result in physical and mental fatigue for the players; however, the Knights have maintained high spirits as they put their best efforts into every game. 

Head coach Nick Fiorentino made sure to include some of the top lacrosse programs in this busy schedule—one of them being the No. 1 seed Rochester Institute of Technology. Although this may create some difficulties for the Knights, they view these games as an opportunity to better themselves.

“We wanted to use those games to see where our program can go in the future and to see where we are now,” senior defender Ryan Cates said. “Our path to the NCAA games is through our conference, so we use those games to get us ready for our conference [games].”

This season, the men have been acclimating to a new style of coaching, since it is only Fiorentino’s second year with the Knights. Through the team members who he has recruited, Fiorentino has been able to instill his game process and demonstrate the type of lacrosse that he wants to coach.

“The new players are really the ones he’s recruited, his philosophy is really starting to shine through—hard work, effort,” Cates said. “The players he brought in are very hard workers; they’re talented and motivated. I think it’s also helped push the juniors and seniors to work harder.”

Although the team consists of many new players, the dynamic grows stronger every practice as the men continue to develop strong friendships with one another. This chemistry carries onto the field and it is evident through their gameplay. 

“We’re definitely a very close group with a lot of close friendships,” Cates said. “I think that’s what’s going to help us going on through SUNYAC play.”

For now, the men are focusing on improving their offense and taking more shots. The defense has been doing a solid job of keeping their opponents from getting many scoring opportunities. This, partnered with a stronger offensive line should guarantee wins for the team.

Regardless of their losses, the men are very keen on emphasizing the significance of success. It is something that the team preaches and maintains, even when they are faced with a strong opponent. This positive attitude, along with Fiorentino’s coaching, is giving the team the proper momentum to take on their conference rivals in the upcoming weeks. 

“Every year we want to be in the SUNYAC playoffs and be contending for a SUNYAC Championship,” Cates said. “This is the most talented team we’ve had in my four years here, so the goal is still there and we still very much believe that we can win the SUNYAC Championship this year.”  

The Knights aim to use this talent when they host Oswego. After their game against the Lakers, the Knights will have a full week of practice before their next match against SUNY Potsdam on April 21.