GENESEO, N.Y. - The SUNY Geneseo men's soccer team finished with a 9-8-2 in 2017, advancing to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) semifinals last season. Under first-year head coach Mark Howlett, the Knights seek to build upon last season's success. Here are six things to know about the Geneseo men's soccer team in 2018:
1. THERE'S A NEW HEAD MAN IN TOWN
Geneseo welcomed Howlett earlier this summer, grabbing the skipper from SUNYAC rival Buffalo State, where he led the Bengals to a SUNYAC Tournament appearance and an NCAA Tournament at-large berth last season. Howlett brings a new energy to the team as he hopes to continue his recent successes at Geneseo and guide the Knights to their second-straight SUNYAC playoff appearance.
2. WE START FROM THE BACK
The Knights return the entire starting back line from last season. Allowing just 20 goals in 19 contests, junior goalkeeper Dillon Medd, senior backs Greg Baumstein and Connor Ross, junior back Caleb Murthy and sophomore back Jack Maher contributed to six shutouts in 2017.
3. OUR STUDENT-ATHLETES ARE LOCALLY SOURCED
Geneseo's entire roster is made up of players who attended high school in New York, including several players locally from Section V. Junior forward Bryan Wager, a Honeoye Falls native, and senior midfielder Austin DeRidder, a Fairport native, headline the local talent that drives the Knights.
4. JOINING THE PARTY
Several first-year players join this year's roster, hoping to make an instant impact. The Knights lost eight to graduation last year, including four starters, so the newcomers could see some opportunity to contribute immediately.
5. FINDING THE FINISH
Junior forward Bryan Wager returns as the team's leading scorer from last season. Wager scored three goals, including the overtime game-winner in the Knights' 2-1 victory over Fredonia (Sept. 23). Seniors Noah Van Zandt, Junsei Ro, Isaac Sanabria and Gavin Gleasman will join Wager to form an experienced attacking unit.
6. THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND
The Knights will play 12 of their 18 contests on the road this season, traveling to Erie, Pa. for the opening weekend of the season to compete against Baldwin-Wallace (Aug. 31) and host Penn State Behrend (Sept. 1). After road matches against Skidmore (Sept. 7) and Rensselaer (Sept. 8), the Knights will host Houghton (Sept. 11) and 2017 NCAA Tournament qualifier Hobart (Sept. 15). Geneseo opens conference play with four-straight road contests, but returns home to take on SUNYAC rivals Oneonta (Oct. 5) and New Paltz (Oct. 6). The squad hosts Cortland and Oswego for back-to-back conference games on Oct. 19 and 20 before capping the regular season with a trip to Morrisville (Oct. 24).