GENESEO — The Geneseo Blue Knights won a physical defensive game 2-1 against SUNY Cortland at home Saturday, earning a sweet victory on Senior day.
It was a hard fought battle from both sides, with strong consistent defense minimizing open play opportunities.
“It’s usually not pretty, but today we gave a great team effort to get an important win” said Junior center back Pat Lynch after the game, “Hopefully the confidence and momentum from this victory will carry over to next week when we have our last two conference game on the road.”
Lynch was a rock in the middle for Geneseo, constantly winning head balls and clearing the ball away from dangerous areas in front of his own goal, where senior goalie Nick Voggel played outstanding in his last home game. His sure hands gave up no second chances and broke up numerous promising Cortland attacks.
Senior captain Alex Stephan also played exceptionally, placing precision passes, pressuring the midfield, and drawing numerous fouls with his quick moves.
“It is a special moment for our seniors.” reflected coach Oliveri. “Its always great to give a win to your seniors who have dedicated so much to the team.”
Coach was very pleased with how his team battled for every 50-50 ball, and were aggressive when taking balls out of the air. “When you compete for and win that many balls you are always going to have a chance to win. We played hard and hungry, and we got the victory.”
Cortland dominated much of the first half possession, and repeatedly earned spot kicks on Geneseo’s end, but the defensive continued to repel any and all attacks.
With under two minutes left in the half Geneseo’s defensive cleared yet another free kick away to an open Jason Falk in the midfield, who carried the ball down the field before drawing two defenders and slipping a through ball up to forward Richard Billusci. Billusci took one quick touch around the charging keeper before calmly putting the ball to rest in the back of an empty net to take a 1-0 lead into the half.
Geneseo carried the momentum into the second half, pressing hard for an insurance goal. The Blue Knights earned numerous corner kicks and free kicks in dangerous areas. Pat Lynch consistently curled in dangerous looking crosses that kept threatening Cortland’s goal. They finally converted one with 33 minutes left as Lynch curled in a low cross from the left side of the box, finding fellow defender Matt Rough’s head. The ball soared right over the goalie’s head and gave the Blue Knights a little breathing room.
That insurance turned out to be crucial, as Cortland pushed hard the rest of the way. The Red Dragons were able to pull one back with 7:39 remaining on the clock. A long ball was sent into the box, where it clattered off of numerous players on both teams before falling to a forward’s foot, who had a clear look at the net and finished easily.
Geneseo then packed it in for the remainder of the game, but had one serious scare as a long range shot banged off the far post and back into play. The defense was first to it, clearing out of bounds for a corner, but defended that well and were able to run out the clock.
Geneseo plays their last two conference games on the road next weekend against Plattsburgh andPotsdam. They currently hold a record of 4-8-2, and will need victories in both games in order to move on to postseason play.