Men’s lacrosse falls short against conference-leading Cortland, aims to bounce back against Oswego

The Geneseo men’s lacrosse team sought back-to-back SUNYAC wins on April 10 against SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons came into the game undefeated in the conference and sitting proudly in first place. Geneseo was coming off an exciting overtime win against SUNY Oneonta and a win against Cortland would certainly send a message around the conference.

Geneseo looked for a good start against the Red Dragons since they had been held scoreless in the first quarter five times coming into Wednesday’s game. Unfortunately for the Knights, Cortland made it six by outscoring the Knights 4-0 in the opening quarter. 

Sophomore midfielder James Pratt acknowledged the team’s slow starts this year.

“Sometimes we come out and it doesn’t seem like we think we’re ready for the game,” Pratt said. “But we should be prepared.”

The Knights, however, are usually able to bounce back quite well from those tough first periods. Pratt said the Knights get back into games by “trusting each other and being able to build off one goal at a time, chipping away.” 

Pratt was instrumental in chipping away at the Cortland lead in the second quarter. He scored the Knights’ first goal and then assisted on a goal by sophomore midfielder Jake Bucci. Sophomore attackman Connor Griffin also scored in the second quarter as the Knights outscored the Red Dragons 3-1 heading into halftime, making it 5-3 Cortland. 

The third quarter featured 10 total goals between the two teams, six goals coming from Geneseo. They all came with the help of Pratt, who scored three goals of his own and assisted on both of sophomore attackman Tim Fallo’s goals and Griffin’s second of the game. Pratt’s dynamite third quarter helped tie the game at 9-9 heading into the final 15 minutes of play. 

Pratt credited his eight-point performance to the way head coach Nick Fiorentino sets up the offense. 

“We have a good offensive system put in,” Pratt said, “If you just let the ball come to you instead of trying to do too much, I think the ball finds the back of the net for you.”

In the fourth quarter, Cortland proved why they are undefeated in the conference by ripping off four goals in succession to take a 13-9 lead. Bucci scored within the last minute to push Geneseo to double digits, but it was not enough as the Knights lost 13-10, falling to 4-9 overall and 1-2 in the SUNYAC. 

Bucci was one of four sophomores that tallied eight of Geneseo’s 10 total goals. The Knights have been getting a lot of production from their underclassmen this season, such as the eight-point tally orchestrated by Pratt in the narrow loss against Cortland. Junior goaltender Tyler Wetzel also had a good game, recording 17 saves. 

Pratt recognized the clear improvement of his teammates in their ability to play more effectively together. As the season progresses, so does the on-field bond between them.

“Everyone has been getting more comfortable with each other and building chemistry,” Pratt said, “We only have two seniors but they’re both producing a lot too.” 

Geneseo has 10 rest days before their next game, Saturday April 20 in Oswego to take on the SUNY Oswego Lakers. The Knights sit one game behind Oswego in the conference standings, and a win would catapult the Knights over them in the standings into third place.