The Geneseo women’s soccer team maintained its undefeated—and nearly perfect—record: 7-0-1. The ninth-ranked Knights have allowed just two goals while netting 19 of their own. Most recently, the Knights shut out Buffalo State College on Friday Sept. 22 and SUNY Fredonia on Saturday Sept. 23.Read More
The Knights suffered a close 1-0 defeat at the SUNYAC Championship match on Saturday Nov. 5 by Buffalo State. Despite the loss, head coach Nate Wiley said that there were many positives for the program to take away from the 2016 women’s soccer season. “I thought we had a great year, especially considering we played 17 games and only lost three,” Wiley said. “There are a lot of positives that you can gain from that.”
For example, one impressive aspect of this year’s team was a strong defense. “I think our defense was good from the beginning of the season; it wasn’t something that needed to be improved upon,” Wiley said.
Even in the SUNYAC Tournament final game, the team had five saves compared to Buffalo’s three saves. The program has always had competitive defense, but this year it was taken to a new level.
In the 17 games played this season, the team only let up six goals to their opponents. The team was propelled to their success this season by denying opponents the chance to score. All in all, it was close to one of the best seasons in the history of the Geneseo women’s soccer team.
Additionally, junior forward Leah Green, senior forward Laurie Knapp and freshman defender Taylor Clar were named to the SUNYAC All-Tournament Team.
With the end of any season, though, comes the inevitability of losing key senior players, which will certainly affect this team. After this season, the Knights are graduating a rather large class of nine seniors from the women’s soccer team, all whom have had a significant impact on the program.
Without a doubt, this will be a hit for the team, seeing as this class has gone to the SUNYAC finals three times out of their four years here at Geneseo, winning the tournament once. “They are a pretty special group,” Wiley said.
Luckily, Wiley noted that the returning members of the team all embody the winning mentality the seniors possessed, while still showing good sportsmanship. “The quality of the players we are returning is just as good as we’ve had going into the next year, so I’m excited,” Wiley said. “I think we’ve got a good recruiting class coming in to complement that group.”
The lessons learned by the returning players will no doubt help the freshman players next season, too.
While the loss at the SUNYAC championship was no doubt heartbreaking, the Knights refuse to be let down by this season. Instead, they look at it as a strong showing for Geneseo women’s soccer, as it is no small task to come in second. The confidence and effort among the players was never lacking. “It’s always unfortunate, but only one team ever gets to win its last game,” Wiley said.
The Geneseo women’s soccer team finished the regular season in a dominant fashion on Saturday Oct. 22 with a 3-0 victory over SUNY Plattsburgh and an overall record of eight wins and two losses. With this impressive feat, the women not only boast an excellent record, but also have clinched the second seed and a first-round bye to the SUNYAC Tournament.
What made this day even more special was the fact that it was Senior Day for the graduating class. Head coach Nathan Wiley thought that this tradition was great for the players; Wiley acknowledged that there is much more emotion that goes into these games than some would suspect, as this is the last time the seniors will be competing on their home field.
“It is a credit to play well and get the result we want,” Wiley said.
A key contributor to the success of the Knights was senior midfielder Emily Green, who netted the first goal that day.
The team was also victorious against SUNY Potsdam on Friday Oct. 21. Senior midfielder Laurie Knapp netted the game’s only goal in a 1-0 victory.
“We have played very well defensively,” Wiley said. “Our ability to attack the goal has led to great success.”
The multiple goals scored against Plattsburgh in the last regular season match of the year is evidence of the Knights’ strong offense. Over the previous two games against Plattsburgh and Potsdam, the women have not allowed in any goals against them, proving that their defense is exceedingly successful.
As far as correcting any weaknesses his players might carry, Wiley believes that their most recent success is attributed to what the team does well.
“These women have done excellent in honing their strengths consistently throughout the last two matches,” Wiley said.
Wiley had nothing but positive things to say with regard to a potential run in the playoffs. Even though the women have been playing excellent soccer as of late, there are still many areas of their game that need to be consistently evaluated.
“With a little more than a week to prepare for the semifinal match, the women must remain focused and determined,” Wiley said. “We need to stay healthy and active if we are to be successful during the playoffs next week.”
Even though the team is on a first-round bye for the SUNYAC Tournament, there are still several aspects of their game that need to be cleaned up before playoffs begin.
“We need to pressure up the field better and take better advantage of opportunities around the net and restarts,” Wiley said
In the meantime, the women continue to work on strengthening their skills. They hope to win on Wednesday Nov. 2 to move on to the SUNYAC Tournament finals.
The Geneseo women’s soccer team continues their strong play with a record of six wins and two losses as they look to advance into the postseason. Head coach Nathan Wiley is proud of their success thus far; however, he acknowledges one of the main things that he seems disappointed about: their high number of ties. While the women may have plenty of more wins than they do losses, they still have five ties on their record, making their record 6-2-5 on the season.
Not bad, but Wiley knows that they are capable of much more. Wiley claims that as a team, “We’ll figure it out,” not allowing the issue to get in the way of the remainder of the season. Overall, the ladies are playing well, coming off of victories in two out of their last three games, including two 2-0 wins against SUNY Cortland and SUNY Brockport.
The new players have adjusted quite well and appear to be a valuable asset to the team in upcoming seasons, according to Wiley. Some of the freshmen have grasped the attention of the coaching staff with their contributions to the team so far. Wiley mentioned how they are models of the prestigious soccer program that Geneseo embodies.
“Their work ethics are incredible and we are so excited about the future,” Wiley said.
Wiley believes that the women should be able to clinch the No. 2 seed in conference play after their most two recent victories. Altogether, he claimed that keeping this in mind is important for the women, as they just want to have a strong finish to their season.
Wiley pointed out several strengths of the team including great soccer IQ, speed, playing well within the system and having a strong defense. As far as weaknesses go, Wiley said that the team has had trouble starting the games off as fast as the coaches would like.
“We need to be competitive for 90 minutes,” he said. “We need to grab that physical nature to get ahead.”
Wiley had nothing but excellent things to say about the squad’s chemistry. In fact, he went on to say that they are all fantastic teammates. In addition, they encourage each other to push until the end and to promote the soccer program at Geneseo in the most spectacular way possible.
“These women do a wonderful job and my coaching staff and I cannot wait to see what the future will bring,” Wiley said.
The women look to continue the momentum when they take on SUNY Potsdam on Friday Oct. 21 and SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday Oct. 22. With their skill level and motivation, victories in these games are possible. The girls’ level of play will hopefully exceed Wiley’s hopes for the team to end the season on a strong note.
The long, rollercoaster of a season has come to a sudden halt for the Geneseo women’s soccer team following a 2-1 loss at the hands of SUNY Oswego in the SUNYAC Tournament quarterfinals. Finishing the season with a record of 11-5-1, this is the first time in the past two seasons that the women have not made it past the SUNYAC quarterfinals.
All the signs pointed to the Knights having the advantage in this second matchup between the two teams. Geneseo came out on top in their matchup two weeks ago with a 2-1 win. As the third seed for the playoffs, the Knights were awarded home field advantage—where they had been an impressive 5-1 throughout the regular season.
Although the Knights outshot SUNY Oswego 11-8, it was clear that there was a lack of offensive production, which was the Knights’ downfall.
“We played a good game, but we were unable to get a strong attack going,” junior midfielder Emily Green said. “We controlled the ball most of the game, but we didn't create enough opportunities for ourselves.”
The Knights’ lack of an attack has been their Achilles’ heel all season long. It has been the strong defense—not offense—that has carried them up to this point. Although the end result was clearly not what the women had hoped for, many players noted that it was still a fairly successful season overall.
“I believe the season was successful but again, our offense needs to improve. We need to be more of a threat with that,” freshman keeper Emily Janiszewski said. “We were happy with how hard we worked and we can't wait to come back for next season.”
With a roster that has only five seniors, it appears that the women will retain most of the same players, which should give them a chance to really form a strong chemistry and repertoire together.
“The more we play together, the better a team we become. We were able to work with some new players and formations and make positive changes to the way we play,” Green said. “Our returning players continue to improve and although we will suffer a huge loss from our graduating seniors, I feel we set ourselves up to be a strong team next season.”
Of course, the end of a season means the end of a career for the senior class. “I am very thankful that I was able to spend the last four years of my soccer career here at Geneseo,” senior forward Kelsey Raschke said. “It has been incredible to be a part of the team and to play with some of my best friends.”
The regular season for the Geneseo women’s soccer team has come and gone. After a regular season in which the women went 11-4-1 with an astounding 6-2 record in October, the women find themselves back in the SUNYAC Tournament for the third straight year. Going 6-3 in conference—a record that is good enough for the third seed—the Knights are in prime position to repeat as SUNYAC Champions.Read More
Following a two game homestand for the women’s soccer team, the Knights are left with more questions than answers following inconsistent play. Though the women were able to easily capture a win on Friday Oct. 2 against SUNY New Paltz, the Knights fell to SUNY Oneonta 2-1 on Saturday Oct. 3.Read More
At the midway point of their season, the women’s soccer team holds a record of 5-2-1 and a SUNYAC record of 1-1. With seven of the remaining eight games against conference opponents, the women are entering not only the final stretch of their season, but perhaps the most crucial part. Coming off a 3-1 four game road trip where the women outscored the opposition 5-1, there is a palpable feeling of optimism as the team nears the end of the regular season.Read More
Geneseo’s women’s soccer team has played phenomenally so far this season. With a record of 4-1-1, the women have obviously been successful—but their record alone does not tell the full story. Throughout six games, the Knights have hit the back of the net a total of 12 times while giving up a mere three goals—all of which were surrendered in one game.Read More
Moving swiftly through the start of their season, the women’s soccer team has looked nearly unstoppable in their games so far this season. With two dominant wins and an average of two goals per game, it is clear that these women are a force to be reckoned with. The team has a strong 2-1-1 record. After seemingly scoring at will in the first two games—the team had a combined margin of victory of eight goals—the girls have lost a bit of their early season magic, getting shutout in the subsequent two games. This is not from a lack of opportunities—during the scoreless stretch, the Knights have outshot opponents 29-23.
“A big thing we need to do more is create more opportunities to score,” freshman goalie Emily Janiszewski said. “Our defense is strong, we just need that other aspect to really complete the team.”
The defense has undoubtedly been one of the team’s strengths throughout the season.
“One of our positives so far this season is the fact that we had three shutouts in four games. The great thing about this team is that they are not satisfied with only three shutouts in four games,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “We are continuing to improve every day in training. We hope to see some increased scoring as we move forward.”
The heart of this brick wall of a defense starts at the back end with Janiszewski. Despite being a freshman, she has not played like a rookie. Janiszewski gives the credit to her teammates, however, especially senior midfielder Marissa Benson.
“She keeps a great attitude and it is clear that she is here to win. If I punt the ball, I can count on Benson to win it in the air and to send it off to the next player,” she said. “If there is a corner kick, I expect her to be on the end of that ball. She is a great player and I'm sad to see her leave next year.”
Even though the offense has been stagnant lately, the defense has been formidable. It seems like this year’s team will go as far as the defense can take them. This is not necessarily a bad thing—the great University of Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once said, “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.”
“It may be a bit early in the season to be speaking championship, but that doesn’t mean that any teams should be any less relaxed against these Knights,” Wiley said. “We give all of our opponents their due respect, but we definitely approach every game with the mindset that we have the ability to win.”
Six of the next eight games are on the road for the Knights. With resurgence on the offensive end—and some solid defense—perhaps the women can build another win streak.
Being a freshman is a difficult task in its own right for anyone. Throw in leaving home in mid-August, practicing for several hours a day, attending school earlier than most and juggling academic and athletic success—a student-athlete has one of the more strenuous jobs out there. The freshmen on the women’s soccer team, however, are proving that they are not going to back down. They are up to the task of taking on all of the obstacles that face college athletes. A roster of 28 women—consisting of eight freshmen—has the team set up for success. The first big step for any high school athlete is deciding which college to attend.
“Geneseo is a place that combines great academics, great women's soccer and great people,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “I cannot think of a better place to be a student-athlete ... especially now with this new stadium.”
If that isn’t enough to persuade recruits to attend Geneseo, then perhaps Wiley’s resume could help. Wiley is coming off a season where he won the 2014 SUNYAC Women's Soccer Coach of the Year award; guiding the Knights to a 16-3-3 record—the team's best mark since 1993.
“Wiley was so clear about finding not only a good soccer player, but a good person too, to fit into our team dynamic,” freshman Rachel Walsh said. “He was so nice and made me feel comfortable to come into this program.”
Having a great coach is only one piece to the puzzle when deciding where to attend school. Freshman Ashley Byrne noted that it was the “the academics and the sport atmosphere” that convinced her to come to Geneseo.
“I knew it was the perfect decision because I was looking to play soccer in college at the Division III level and I saw this opportunity and took it,” she said.
Although transitioning to college can be difficult, Wiley thinks this group is moving in smoothly.
“I think our freshmen have been transitioning quite nicely,” he said. “Acclimating freshmen into your program can sometimes prove to be a difficult process, but with the depth of experience that we have, it allows that transition to progress at a more comfortable pace.”
Senior Samantha Sherman also had high praise for the young talent.
“We really have a great group [of freshman],” she said. “They are amazing and fit right into our team.”
With such a great freshman class, this season is already off to a positive start for Wiley’s team. If their early success continues this year and in the distant future, Geneseo should see a few more SUNYAC championships and, perhaps, some NCAA Tournament banners hanging in the new stadium.
The last Knights team playing from the fall season has been eliminated from the postseason. The Geneseo women’s soccer team fell to Johns Hopkins University 3-1 on Sunday Nov. 16 after rolling through SUNYAC Tournament play and winning their opening round game of the NCAA Tournament. The Knights had a tough opening round game against Frostburg State University on Saturday Nov. 15. Geneseo let in three goals in the opening 13 minutes of the game.
Despite the large deficit, Geneseo fought back and tied the game with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. The Knights eventually won the game in penalty kicks to set up their match with Johns Hopkins.
“We came out a little too flat,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “Once we got past that first 15 minutes, we settled in and played our game and we were able to come back because of it … we played really well.”
In their game against Johns Hopkins, however, the Knights were simply outmatched. Both team’s abilities were reflected in the 3-1 final score.
“We played a really good team,” Wiley said. “We gave up three goals because they earned three goals. It was the first team we played all year that I walked away saying, ‘They were just better than us.’”
Season-ending losses are always tough. It doesn’t matter if the better team won or the ball bounced the wrong way—it can be hard to move on once the season ends. For this team, however, maturity helped them overcome the loss as a group.
“This group has always had an ability to put things into perspective pretty quickly … they’ve helped me gain [that ability],” Wiley said. “It shows the maturity of this group that they’ve gained over the season that they could recognize … that we didn’t play poorly.”
As a whole, this was the most successful season for the Knights in 20 years. The win over Frostburg State was only Geneseo’s fourth NCAA Tournament win ever—the other three came in 1994 when the Knights went to the Final Four.
Although the Knights will only graduate four seniors this season, they were very important to the team’s success, accounting for six goals and 11 assists.
Arguably most significant, however, is the departure of senior goalkeeper Allison Stamp. Stamp was the most dominant goalie in the SUNYAC this season. She had a .659 goals-against average and a whopping 10 shutouts in conference—both leading the conference by a significant margin.
Despite the departures, the Knights should be in a good position to make a run at another SUNYAC Tournament title next season. Probably the most important returning player will be freshman midfielder/forward Leah Greene. Greene scored two goals against Frostburg State in the NCAA Tournament. More impressively, her 15 goals put her on pace to shatter Logan Hadzicki Blask’s (’04) record of 45 career goals.
The team will welcome the winter break. After that’s over, however, it’s back to work for the 2015 soccer season.
“The next few weeks it’s about making sure classes are sorted out with finals coming up in three weeks,” Wiley said. “Once we come back in January, it’s gonna be … ‘What do we need to do to make next year even better than this year?’”
For the first time since 2009, it’s time to go dancing for the Geneseo women’s soccer team. The Knights topped SUNY Cortland 1-0 in an incredible SUNYAC Tournament Championship game on Saturday Nov. 8. The game was tied after 89 minutes, but freshman midfielder/forward Leah Greene netted the game winner with just seconds to play. “[I] had already started to make decisions about what we were going to do as a team once we did score,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “I was happy and then immediately [thought] ‘OK, these are the changes we need to make.’”
The biggest outcome from Geneseo’s win is an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Knights are one of 64 teams to make the tournament to decide who will be the national champions.
The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament will be played at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland for the Knights. In the first round, Geneseo will play Frostburg State University. Frostburg State––in Frostburg, Maryland––is a similarly sized school to Geneseo with 4,704 undergrads. Academically, it’s 111 places behind Geneseo in the U.S. News & World Report North Regional Universities rankings.
Soccer-wise, however, Frostburg State is pretty good––the Bobcats are 13-4-5 so far this season. But against Carnegie Mellon University, the only nationally-ranked team they’ve played, they lost 3-0. Geneseo is also ranked 19 in the country for NSCAA Coaches.
“Once we knew who we were playing, I started reaching out to some coaches to see what we’re in for,” Wiley said. One thing the Knights will have to prepare for is Frostburg senior forward Stephanie Fazenbaker. Fazenbaker has led the Bobcats in scoring the past two seasons and was second on the team in scoring in her freshman and sophomore years. Despite the offensive threat that she brings, Wiley is not concerned about his team’s ability to shut her down.
“Anytime we’ve had a player that we thought was a dangerous attacking player or goal scorer, [we’ve been] aware of her,” he said. “We’ve done a good job defending as a team and we haven’t had to necessarily account for the player further than understanding what it is about her that makes her good.”
Should the Knights beat the Bobcats, they would face the winner of Johns Hopkins vs. Farmingdale State College on Sunday Nov. 16. Interestingly, Farmingdale State is part of the State University of New York system, but is not part of SUNYAC.
Despite the excitement of the upcoming match, Wiley is confident that his team will be able to remain focused. “It’s similar to how we play our conference games during the year,” he said. “Our training is geared toward the first opponent with the knowledge of ‘this is what the other two teams do.’ We don’t talk about those other teams until after our first game.”
The bus leaves for Maryland on Friday morning as the Knights begin the last part of their quest to get the first women’s soccer title in school history.
A huge part of any team’s success is practice. As former National Basketball Association all-star Allen Iverson once said, “We’re talking about practice. We ain’t talking about the game. We’re talking about practice, man.” Luckily for the Knights, the women’s soccer team has a better attitude toward practice than Iverson.
“We all love each other and we love soccer so when we get together to practice it’s always a good time,” senior goalie Allison Stamp said.
This is Stamp’s first year starting for Geneseo after sitting behind Julia Sanger ‘14 for three seasons.
After warming up, the Knights do drills focused on holding possession of the ball and accurately passing to each other. This is something that Geneseo has done very well this season—it’s part of a new system that has led the Knights to their most successful regular season since 1993 when they went 18-2.
Head coach Nate Wiley works directly with his goalies during practice. This tactic has definitely worked this season; Stamp let in just two goals in the entire month of October and lost only two games all season.
The mood at practice is usually lighthearted, especially the day before a game. It’s important for a team to be loose and ready for big games.
“We’re all very energetic,” Stamp said. “We realize how important it is, so we’re playing very game-like [in practice].”
The day before a big game brings different routines for different people. There are some athletes at the highest level that have absurd pregame rituals. Sometimes, people eat the exact same meal the night before for every game. Stamp has a much simpler ritual.
“Before I go to bed, I usually try to picture all the really great things that could happen,” she said. “If I do start to get that little instance of ‘what if I do get scored on,’ then before I go to bed I try to turn that around in my head.”
Her routine certainly worked on Wednesday Nov. 5 against SUNY Plattsburgh in the SUNYAC semifinal game. The Knights won 3-0—allowing just two shots on goal.
Junior forward Kelsey Raschke, sophomore midfielder Emily Green and freshman midfielder/forward Leah Greene scored Geneseo’s goals. Greene has been a star for the Knights this season, leading the team in scoring. As a freshman, that’s even more impressive.
The win over Plattsburgh sets up a SUNYAC championship matchup for Geneseo against rival SUNY Cortland. In the regular season, the Knights tied the Red Dragons 1-1. This could be something on Wiley’s mind—he had his team close practice on Tuesday Nov. 4 by practicing penalty kicks.
History is against the Knights. Geneseo is just 10-20-6 all-time against Cortland, a winning percentage of just .278. The winner of this game earns a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The loser’s season, in all likelihood, is over.
“Postseason is always bittersweet,” Stamp said. “You know that so many good things can come out of it but then it can also end in a second. Coming in as a senior, I don’t want it to be my last game and I think we’re all going to do as much as we can to make sure that it’s not.
The Knights face the Red Dragons on Saturday Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. at Geneseo.
The Knights needed just one win to ensure a bye in the women’s soccer SUNYAC tournament. They did one better—the Knights beat SUNY Plattsburgh 1-0 on Oct. 24 and SUNY Potsdam 2-0 on Saturday Oct. 25. Not only did Geneseo earn itself a bye, it clinched the top overall seed. The Knights earned 22 points out of a possible 27 this season in SUNYAC play—no team in the conference has gotten more than that in more than five years.
The Knights have certainly earned their regular season title. In their nine conference games, they lost just one and allowed only four goals. In theory, all Geneseo needs to do is keep up its style of play and it could easily get into the NCAA Tournament.
To get there, the Knights first need to win a SUNYAC semifinal game against either SUNY Oneonta or Plattsburgh on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. here at Geneseo. Assuming they win that game, the Knights would host SUNY Cortland, SUNY Fredonia or Buffalo State in the SUNYAC championship. Geneseo could get into the NCAA Tournament through an at-large bid if they did not win the conference, but those bids are very difficult to get.
Despite the end goal being so close, head coach Nate Wiley thinks his team is focused on the task directly in front of them.
“Our approach this whole season has been such that we take each day as it comes,” he said. “We’re going to prepare the same way we would normally prepare … whoever we end up with, that’s who we prepare for.”
Fine-tuning will be important for the Knights. Their defense has been dominant all season, but their offense has fallen off a bit in recent games. The extra days of practice should be very beneficial for Geneseo.
“I think certainly having a little bit of a break is nice,” Wiley said. “It gives us some time to work on some things that we need to polish up and get a little bit better at.”
Look for the Knights to rely heavily on freshman midfielder and forward Leah Greene. Greene scored only one goal in Geneseo’s final two games, bringing her season total to 11. Her average of .611 goals ranks her fourth in the SUNYAC.
Still, that was the regular season. The SUNYAC tournament is a whole different beast.
“After Saturday’s game with Potsdam, we congratulated the team on winning the regular season, but that’s over now,” Wiley said. “There will be a time to celebrate all that stuff and that’ll come well after the season is over with ... as long as we still have a next game to focus on, that’s what we’re going to be focusing on.”
History may not be on the Knights’ side. Geneseo is just 4-9-1 all-time in the SUNYAC championship game. Their last win came in 2009 against Cortland. If the Knights are going to make a run at a title, however, this is the year to do it.
October has been good to the Geneseo women’s soccer team. The Knights have put together a 5-0-1 record so far this month. Although their 1-1 draw at SUNY Cortland on Saturday Oct. 18 dropped them from the national rankings, Geneseo is ranked fourth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America East Region rankings. The Knights are the only team in the SUNYAC to receive votes. Geneseo has relied almost solely on its defense to get victories in previous seasons. The Knights have changed things up this season and their offense has now caught up to the level of their defense. Geneseo has scored 31 goals and allowed just nine—leading the SUNYAC in both categories.
The biggest cog for the Knights offense has been freshman midfielder/forward Leah Greene. Greene has posted nearly a third of Geneseo’s total goals this season and is tied for the most goals in the conference with 10.
“She’s just a player that does a good job getting herself in front of the goal,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “She’s taken advantage of those [goal scoring] opportunities.”
The Knights will have an opportunity to clinch a first-round bye in the SUNYAC tournament on Friday Oct. 24 and Saturday Oct. 25. Geneseo plays SUNY Plattsburgh on the 24th and SUNY Potsdam on the 25th—both games at home. To lock up a top seed in the tournament, the Knights need to win just one of these games or tie both.
“We’ve worked a lot this week on our defending,” Wiley said about how his team can grab a top seed. “Between doing a good job of possessing the ball and doing a good job of defending when we lose possession … [I think that] will hopefully allow us to continue to be successful.”
Although the Knights will be favored in both games, Plattsburgh should be a tougher match-up for Geneseo. The Cardinals allow less than one goal per game and have the highest save percentage in the conference (.846). Plattsburgh’s offense is formidable; they’ve scored 30 goals this season––just one fewer than Geneseo––in only 14 games.
Despite their statistical success, the Cardinals are battling for a playoff spot with five other teams. They have just one win in their last five games. Wiley, however, isn’t concerned about their record.
“They’ve got a new coach up there and they’re playing a little bit different than they have in the past,” he said. “I think for us it’s more of a concern of just sorting out what they’re trying to do.”
Potsdam is on the other end of the standings. The Bears are the only team in the SUNYAC that has been eliminated from postseason play. Still, Geneseo needs to be on its guard.
“Whether you’re playing a team that’s 15-0 or 0-15, you still have to show up and play,” Wiley said. “Potsdam’s a good example of a team that hasn’t really had a lot of success in conference, yet they just beat [SUNY] Fredonia who beat us … you can’t take anyone in our conference lightly.”
Assuming the Knights get at least two points Friday Oct. 24 or Saturday Oct. 25, they would play in a SUNYAC semifinal game at home on Nov. 5. Until then, the team will stay focused on their performance instead of wins and losses—something that has been a theme all season.
“We don’t talk about results as much as we talk about the process by which we play,” Wiley said
The Geneseo women’s soccer team has returned to its early season form. After dropping or tying three games in a row in late September, the Knights topped SUNY New Paltz 5-0 on Oct. 3 and SUNY Oneonta 2-0 on Saturday Oct. 4. “We figured out a way to out-compete them in the second half,” head coach Nate Wiley said of his team’s play against Oneonta. “That was probably the thing that we were most pleased with over the weekend.”
The star of the weekend for the Knights was freshman back Leah Greene. Greene netted a hat trick against New Paltz and added another goal against Oneonta. She now has seven goals and four assists on the season, including two game-winning goals.
“She’s an extremely gifted athlete and she’s a very smart soccer player,” Wiley said regarding Greene. “Her ability to score goals in a variety of ways was obviously very evident over the weekend; it’s been very helpful for us as we try to generate more goals with our offense.”
The team as a whole has been playing better than it has in years. Over the past two seasons, the Knights combined for just 10 wins. They have already matched that total before the start of fall break.
Other coaches are taking notice. In the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, Geneseo is ranked number 23. Wiley thinks that other SUNYAC coaches are receiving the message.
“Not only do we defend well, but we can score goals,” he said. “Scoring seven goals on the road—regardless of who you’re playing—is pretty good.”
The Knights play against SUNY Brockport on Saturday Oct. 11 before taking some well-deserved time off for fall break. The Golden Eagles are 7-3-1 on the season and are coming off of a win against Utica College on Tuesday Oct. 7. After that, Geneseo won’t play again until Oct. 17 at SUNY Oswego.
“We’ve been playing well and we just want to keep playing,” Wiley said. “We’re successful and we’re playing well. I think a couple days [off] will be good.”
With their newfound explosive offense, the Knights should be able to maintain their one point lead in the SUNYAC standings. Three of Geneseo’s last five opponents are within two points of the Knights in the standings—meaning the end of October could be very exciting for SUNYAC women’s soccer.
Going into SUNYAC openers against SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State, the Geneseo women’s soccer team had high expectations. The Knights had a 6-1-1 record and were going against two teams that had played average soccer to that point. The Knights were only able to come out of Sept. 26 and Saturday Sept. 27 with one win—losing to Fredonia 2-1 and beating Buffalo State in overtime 2-1.
Despite the tough start to SUNYAC play, head coach Nate Wiley sees the games in a positive light as a whole.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get both of the results that we were looking for,” he said. “But I think we did make the statement that we were looking to make.”
That statement, according to Wiley, was establishing that the Knights as one of the top teams in the conference. Despite the loss to Fredonia, Geneseo dominated possession for the majority of the game. Both of the goals the Knights allowed against the Blue Devils came after long Geneseo possessions.
“I didn’t feel like, at really any point in the game, that they were being dangerous in terms of their possession,” Wiley said. “Unfortunately, soccer is a game where you can dominate the game and have a couple of minor letdowns or slight mistakes and lose the game because of it.”
Against the Bengals, the Knights played a very similar game. They dominated possession and the number of shots on goal. According to Wiley, however, there was one very important difference.
“We don’t need 18 shots [like we had against Fredonia],” he said. “What we need is nine quality shots and I thought we did a better job of that [against Buffalo State].”
Quality shots were difficult to come by against the Blue Devils. Although the Knights took plenty of shots on goal in the second half, very few truly challenged Fredonia’s goalkeeper.
With the first weekend of SUNYAC play in their rearview mirror, the Knights now have to prepare for what should be their toughest weekend all season. Both SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Oneonta are strong opponents. That Geneseo has to play both on the road does not bode well for the Knights.
Still, no team in the SUNYAC won both of their games in the opening weekend of conference play. Geneseo sits just one point behind SUNY Oswego and SUNY Cortland––the Knights still have the highest overall winning percentage in the conference.
After playing at New Paltz and Oneonta on Friday Oct. 3 and Saturday Oct. 4, the Knights will return home for a non-conference game against Elmira College on Oct. 8.
SUNYAC play for the women’s soccer team starts on Friday Sept. 26. Although the Knights are off to their best start in years (6-1-1), the game against SUNY Fredonia will be their first without any momentum as Geneseo fell 1-0 to St. Lawrence University on Saturday Sept. 20. “If somebody told me going into this season that after the end of our non-conference schedule we were going to be 6-1-1, I’d have been pretty happy with that,” head coach Nathan Wiley said. “It’s tough that the one loss came in the eighth game … but I think when you look at the whole of the first half of our season … there’s a lot of good things … to take from that.”
One problem the Knights had against the Saints was that they couldn’t finish possessions. Geneseo actually outshot St. Lawrence in the second half, but let in a goal on a Saints corner kick.
“If they were going to score against us, that’s how it was going to be,” Wiley said, speaking highly of St. Lawrence’s set play execution. “When you play a team the quality of St. Lawrence, you’re not going to get a lot of opportunities … unfortunately we didn’t create enough … and we didn’t finish any off.”
The Knights’ offense has been explosive to say the least this year, but it was hindered by windy conditions. The team’s new offense is built on possessing the ball longer than the other team and striking when it has the opportunity. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the exact style of play that Germany used to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup in July.
If we’re comparing SUNYAC teams to World Cup teams, then Fredonia and Buffalo State—the Knights’ next two opponents on Friday Sept. 26 and Saturday Sept. 27, respectively—are equivalent to Iran and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Knights should have no problem beating either team.
“We’re playing at home, we’re opening up conference play and we want to make a statement,” Wiley said. “If we take care of what we want to do as a team and how we want to play, the results will take care of themselves.”
With that in mind, a key mental aspect on Friday and Saturday will be not looking ahead. On Oct. 3 and 4, the Knights will go on the road to SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Oneonta. New Paltz had the second best record in non-conference play, while Oneonta are the defending champions. Despite the impending road tests, Wiley says he is not looking too far ahead.
“Oneonta and New Paltz aren’t even on my mind at this point,” he said. “It’s about Fredonia and the game on Friday and that’s all that matters to us.”
SUNYAC games are the most important for Geneseo. The winner of the SUNYAC Tournament at the end of the season earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in November. If not, the Knights would have to be selected as one of only 17 at-large bids from around the country. Still, the pressure isn’t getting to Wiley or the team.
“We’re certainly not at a point where we need to worry at all,” Wiley said.
The perfect season may be over but the women’s soccer team is still undefeated. The Knights beat Alfred University 2-0 and Houghton College 1-0 on Sept. 12 and Saturday Sept. 13, respectively, and played the Rochester Institute of Technology to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday Sept. 16. “Alfred is in a little bit of a rebuilding phase,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “They really sat in against us. They made a concerted effort to not go forward and we had the ball for 95 percent of the game.” As has been the case all season, the Knights' defense was the key to their victory. Geneseo did not allow a single shot from Alfred in the entire game.
“Our possession [is] … really the main proponent of our defense,” Wiley said. “We just don't allow the other team to have the ball much.”
Offensively, senior forward Jori Semrau was the spark over the weekend. She tallied two goals and an assist in the three games this past week.
“She’s one of the many players on our team that [has] really learned this system well and understands how to play within it,” Wiley said. So far this season, Semrau has three assists and three goals, two of which were game-winners. Wiley said that Semrau is playing better this year largely because of her dedication.
“She made an effort to be more fit coming in and it’s her senior year, so that was a motivating factor for her,” he said.
Although the Knights played very well in their weekend games, their game against RIT was a bit of a struggle. The Tigers came out and scored quickly, going up 1-0 in the fourth minute. Geneseo was down 2-1 at halftime but freshman back Leah Greene hit the back of the net to tie it in the 74th minute.
This was the first game of the season that Geneseo didn’t win. Luckily, the 17th ranked Knights took several things from the draw.
“I’m not disappointed, I’m happy about certain things with that game,” Wiley said. “It showed the kind of character that we have … we were down twice and both times we were able to come back and at least level the game.”
RIT is not the last good team Geneseo will face. Their toughest weekend will be Oct. 3-4 when the team plays at SUNY New Paltz and at reigning SUNYAC champion SUNY Oneonta. “[We] need to figure out how to win those games,” Wiley said.
The Knights will play St. Lawrence University on Saturday Sept. 20. Although the Saints' record may not reflect it, Wiley thinks they are on the same level as RIT.
“They’re a very strong team. They play in one of the top leagues in the entire country,” he said. “Their record may not be outstanding, but they’re a very good team. It’s going to be a battle for us.”
St. Lawrence is the last game for Geneseo before SUNYAC play begins. The Knights are currently the top-ranked team in the conference, but Wiley is not worried about that getting to his team.
“The results will take care of themselves if we play the way that we know we can play,” he said.