GENESEO, N.Y. - The SUNY Geneseo women's soccer teams opens the 2018 campaign next Friday (Aug. 31) at home against New England College. Here are the top six things you need to know about the Knights heading into the season.
1. BUILDING ON LAST SEASON
The Knights finished the season with an 18-2-2 mark, earned a State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship, hosted NCAA First and Second Round games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Head coach Nate Wiley and his staff were named United Soccer Coaches Regional Coaching Staff of the Year as the squad climbed the national rankings to as high as No. 8. The squad was voted to No. 14 in the United Soccer Coaches' Preseason Poll this season and will look to continue their success.
2. THE GANG'S ALL HERE
Geneseo returns nearly their entire starting lineup and several role players from last season as well. The team graduated just two seniors, All-Americans Audrey Reid and Leah Greene, but brings back United Soccer Coaches All-Region selections junior back Taylor Clar and senior back Rachel Walsh. Clar and Walsh along with senior goalkeeper Emily Janiszewski, junior forward Domenica Piccoli, and senior midfielder Jennifer Moran return as All-Conference selections from last season.
3. RE-TOOLING, NOT REBUILDING
The Knights bring in several new faces to the team this year, including a pair of transfers, who look to have an instant impact. Last season, first-year players accounted for six goals and five assists, including four goals and four assists from SUNYAC Rookie of the Year Ellie Gregory.
4. HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE
Since 2014, Geneseo has posted a 31-6-3 record in games played at College Stadium, including an 11-1-0 mark at home last season. The Knights have seven regular season home games in 2018 and will look to maintain their dominance within the friendly confines of their home pitch.
5. FINDING THE NET
The Knights scored a conference-best 51 goals last season, but lost two of their three leading scorers to graduation after last season. Piccoli returns as the team's leading scorer, putting in eight goals and dishing out five assists in 2017. Senior midfielder Ashley Byrne, Moran, and Gregory each scored four goals last year while Clar, Walsh, junior midfielder Grace Dunnigan, sophomore midfielder Reagan Becker and sophomore forward Julia Ophals each scored once.
6. OPENING AT HOME
For the first time since 2015, Geneseo will begin the season with a pair of home games, hosting New England College on Friday, Aug. 31 and then Utica on Saturday, Sept. 1 to begin a tough non-conference schedule that includes trips to Nazareth (Sept. 6), Rochester (Sept. 8) and William Smith (Sept. 12). The team opens conference play with four-straight home games, beginning with Potsdam on Friday, Sept. 21. The Knights close their regular season with four out of six games on the road, including an important conference swing at Cortland (Oct. 19) and at Oswego (Oct. 20).