Starting the season strong was a step in the right direction for the Geneseo women’s lacrosse team. Their spring break trip to Englewood, Fla., however, proved to be a rough patch for the Knights.
Following victories over the University of Rochester Yellowjackets, the Clarkson University Golden Knights and the Saint Lawrence Saints, the Knights dropped two straight games in Florida as well as their first game back in College Stadium on Sunday March 24.
Dropping three straight games is difficult for teams in any sport, but it is still early in the season and the players and coaches are still confident in their preparation and what lies ahead of them.
Facing adversity is something that every coach is familiar with. Head coach Carly Ritchlin is no stranger to challenging times and has righted the ship when its drifted off course in the past.
Ritchlin understands that it’s important to treat all obstacles the same and remain focused on one thing: winning.
“For me it is not about the challenges, it is about the reaction to the challenges,” Ritchlin said, “What can we learn, how do we grow from it and sometimes we just need to think outside the box, be creative to make what we want happen, happen.”
Although the schedule may show that the Knights are sitting at a 3-3 record, it is important to note that all three of their losses were by three points or less. The intense spirit of the team was evident in their double overtime loss to Montclair State, falling 14-13 in the struggle.
Sophomore attacker and reigning SUNYAC Rookie of the Year Hannah Marafioti tallied five goals to put pressure on the visitors, and senior midfielder Maddie Lee was able to get on the board within the first two minutes of the game.
The Knights lost to Denison University 13-11 on March 20 in Englewood, following what was their first loss of the season to Stevenson University 15-12 on March 17.
The team’s recent struggles remind Lee that, in order to persevere, the Knights must return to their close-knit cohesive form on the field, a main factor in their past success.
“The team’s biggest strength is our ability to come together as one cohesive unit to accomplish a task,” Lee said. “Our team culture is rooted in respecting one another and that includes both on and off the field.”
Team cohesion is an important characteristic that the team must maintain to recover, because it also helps create a sense of accountability among its players. Ritchlin ensures that her players focus on their skills and teamwork regularly, ignoring the noise from other schools.
“We hold our team to a very high standard, and we talk about that standard regularly,” Ritchlin said. “At the end of the day it is about our performance, [it] doesn’t matter what the other teams are doing.”
Last season, the Knights went on an 11-game win streak that lead to their eventual 13-4 overall record and an appearance in the SUNYAC semifinals. This season may not have started out the same way, but sophomore midfielder Megan Henderson is assured that regardless of changes, the Knights are ready for any opposition.
“After last year’s record season, it’s hard not to compare this year to last,” Henderson said. “We lost a lot of seniors, a group of key contributors. But this year we definitely have girls stepping up.”
The Knights responded to their recent streak of losses with a 13-12 victory against the Rochester Institute of Technology on Wednesday March 27.