Women’s soccer off to conference start, solid team play carries the weekend

First-year forward Nicole Bell attempts to send a ball into the box as a defender closes in on the Knights’ Saturday Sept. 22 matchup against SUNY Plattsburgh. The game ended in a 1-0 victory (Josie Kwan/assoc. photo editor).

Geneseo women’s soccer has gotten off to an exceptional start in conference play. They find themselves on a three-game win streak and 2-0 thus far in the conference. 

These past three home wins have been huge for the team. Senior midfielder Caitie Cunningham realizes the importance of the wins against two strong SUNYAC competitors. 

“We went into [this past weekend] thinking it was going to be one of our hardest weekends,” Cunningham said. “Plattsburgh and Potsdam are two of the biggest competitors in the SUNYAC. So, coming out of those games with two wins was huge.”

The Knights had a very strong outing against SUNY Potsdam on Friday Sept. 21, dominating most of the game and only allowing three shots on goal. They were also explosive offensively, notching two goals with eight shots on the net.

First-year forward Hannah Sullivan netted the first goal for the Knights, going bar-down to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. Then, 18 seconds later, first-year forward Nicole Bell scored to put the score at 2-0. 

Bell said head coach Nate Wiley preaches the importance of quick back-to-back goals and continued offensive pressure. 

“Our coach always says goals come after goals, and when [Sullivan] scored before me, she had a great shot,” Bell said. “It just gave the team more energy.”

Sullivan emphasized the importance of possession in their two victories. 

“Just keeping control of the ball and working it around,” Sullivan said. “We just had to not panic, we had to outplay them and just do all the things we’ve been working on.” 

The Knights played conference rival SUNY Plattsburgh at home on Saturday Sept. 22. Cunningham scored the lone goal for the Knights in the 1-0 victory. 

“[Sophomore forward] Miranda Ozimek ripped a shot from the top of the box, but it hit the crossbar and it bounced back right to me,” Cunningham said. “I was able to volley it in right over the goalie’s head. So, we took advantage of her not ready for the second shot right away.”

In back-to-back contests at home, the Knights surely impressed with two huge conference victories. The Knights have secured first place in the conference to start the year.

With all the early success of some individual first-year players like Bell and Sullivan, Sullivan reinforced the idea that the success of individuals doesn’t happen without the help of the whole team. 

“You can’t have goals without assists from your other teammates and [you] help your teammates by giving them assists,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan has three goals and two assists so far as a first-year player, but she again cemented the idea of a team-first mindset. 

“We’re all working together, it’s not about individual stats at all,” Sullivan said. “It’s all about getting the result as a team.” 

The Knights will be heading into another tough weekend of conference play coming up as they take on both Buffalo State and SUNY Fredonia. Both universities are also 2-0 in conference play heading into this weekend.

The Knights play Buffalo State on Friday Sept. 28 at home. They play Fredonia on Saturday Sept. 29 to round out the four home-game stretch.