On Saturday April 20, the Geneseo Knights men’s lacrosse team was in Oswego to take on the Lakers. The Knights sat in fourth place in the SUNYAC standings, looking up at the Lakers, who were in third.
In order to overtake Oswego’s position in the standings, the Knights would need a hot start to the game. With only a total of 13 first-quarter goals this season, the team needed a different approach to start the game in the right way.
The first quarter was fruitful this time for the Knights as they exploded for six goals. Five different players scored in the first 15 minutes for the Knights, including two from freshman midfielder Jake Steffen.
One of Steffen’s goals and another goal from sophomore attackman Connor Griffin came with the Knights a man-up. Sophomore midfielder Cameron Chiodo, sophomore midfielder James Pratt, and freshman attackman Kevin Cook also recorded goals.
For the first time this year, the Knights held their opponent scoreless in the first period, which was a big part of the team’s early success, according to Cook.
“We were all really fired up to play a conference opponent and we came out firing from all cylinders and capitalized on our chances,” Cook said. “Our defense and goalie didn’t allow any penetration and kept the ball on our side for the majority of the quarter.”
Junior goaltender Tyler Wetzel did not just play well in the first period, but played well for the entire game, notching six total saves.
In the second period, the teams traded blows, with both squads landing three goals each. Goals from Chiodo, Pratt and senior midfielder Jack Centore, however, kept the Knights in control. They led 9-3 at the end of the first half.
When the second half began, the Knights were firmly in control. The team matched their per-game scoring average—nine goals—with their fantastic first half of play. Geneseo, however, would need more than nine goals to beat Oswego.
The Knights reached 12 goals just six minutes into the third quarter, with two more goals from Cook and an extra goal from Pratt.
Two minutes after Pratt’s third goal, Oswego began firing back and rattled off four consecutive goals to end the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, junior attackman Dillon Rogers momentarily stopped the bleeding with an early goal to put the Knights up 13-8.
The Lakers then made a second run at Geneseo’s lead by scoring another four consecutive goals to get within one of the lead.
The game was slipping away from the Knights, as they were fighting off a penalty with three minutes to play and only a one goal lead.
Cook came through in a big way with the Knights a man down and scored his fourth goal of the game, giving the Knights some breathing room.
With 1:28 to play, Cook’s goal became even more important as the Lakers, with a late goal, once again pulled within one score of the lead.
With a 14-13 lead, the Knights needed to play great defense to hold on for the win, and that is exactly what happened. Their stellar defensive play kept the Lakers off the board.
“[We] had a good game plan on the night and the defense couldn’t have played better on ball, not letting [Oswego] get an inch,” Cook said.
The win catapulted the Knights over Oswego to sit at third place in the conference standings. One more win would secure a playoff spot for the Knights.
The Knights battled SUNY Brockport on Wednesday April 24 at home and won, clinching that playoff berth.