GENESEO, N.Y. – The SUNY Geneseo women's lacrosse team is set to host the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament Semifinals and Championship this Friday-Saturday, May 3-4, at College Stadium.
SETTING THE STAGE
Geneseo finished the regular season with a 9-0 SUNYAC record for the first time in program history to clinch the conference tournament top-seed for the first time since 2005. Twenty-time defending champion Cortland finished 8-1 for the second seed, followed by last year's runner-up Brockport (8-2) and Oswego (6-3) with the third and fourth seeds, respectively. Geneseo and Cortland received first-round byes to the semifinals while Oswego defeated fifth-seeded Oswego, 17-15, and Brockport took down sixth-seeded New Paltz, 17-8, in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
GENESEO IN THE SUNYAC TOURNAMENT
Geneseo owns a 10-18 record in 18 SUNYAC Tournament appearances, including a 7-11 record in the semifinals. Qualifying for every tournament except one (2008) since the tournament's inception in 1999, the Knights have advanced to the championship game seven times, most recently with back-to-back showings in 2013 and 2014. Geneseo has only faced Oswego once in the SUNYAC Tournament, falling in the 2000 semifinals, 11-7.
REGULAR SEASON REWIND
Geneseo earned a 13-11 victory over visiting Oswego (Apr. 10) in the teams' regular season meeting last month. Sophomore attacker Hannah Marafioti tallied five goals and two assists as the Knights opened a 6-0 lead on their way to a 7-2 halftime edge. The Lakers battled back to tie the game, 8-8, with 17:44 left in regulation as well as 10-10 with 8:30 left. However, junior midfielder Tessa Doody scored with 4:48 on the clock before Marafioti scored back-to-back tallies in the next three minutes to put the game out of reach.
Geneseo also defeated host Brockport, 13-11 (Apr. 17) and visiting Cortland, 19-18 OT (Apr. 20) in back-to-back games during the regular season. Senior midfielder Mallory Max scored five goals as the Knights survived a second-half rally to defeat Brockport before Marafioti scored a career-high 10 points on eight goals and two assists, including the overtime game-winning tally, to hand the 18th-ranked Red Dragons only their second loss to a SUNYAC opponent in their previous 90 outings.
Geneseo sophomore attacker Hannah Marafioti has put together one of the most prolific scoring seasons in program history. Her 82 points this spring eclipsed the previous record 79 totaled by Maggie Morris '09 in 2009, while her 60 goals are the third-highest single-season total ever by a Knight. She enters Friday's game 15th in program history with 130 points and scored her 100th career goal in last Saturday's 13-7 win at Potsdam to become the 14th Geneseo player to achieve the milestone.
Senior defender Mallory Max has enjoyed her best season in a Knights' uniform. She is tied for 11th in the SUNYAC with a career-high 53 points, while her 45 goals (also a career high) are the sixth-best total in the league. Max is one short of becoming the 28th player in program history with 70 career goals and is five short of becoming only the 10th player to score 50 goals in a season.
DEFEND THE CASTLE
Geneseo enters Friday's game with the SUNYAC's top scoring defense, only allowing 9.00 goals per game, while also leading the way with 14.59 caused turnovers. Junior Caroline McGuigan ranks third in the conference with 1.88 caused turnovers per game, followed by senior defender Mallory Max in fifth (1.65 CT/G). Sophomore defender Caitlyn Merkel stands third in the league with 4.24 draw controls per game as well as eighth with 1.47 caused turnovers per game. Max tops the squad and sits third in the SUNYAC with 2.82 ground balls per game, ahead of McGuigan in fifth (2.53 GB/G).
LAST LINE OF DEFENSE
Knights' first-year goalie Margaret Rosaschi has won every decision in goal during the squad's current nine-game unbeaten streak on her way to a 10-2 record during her rookie season. She was credited with a season-high 11 saves in Geneseo's 14-8 win over visiting Oneonta (Apr. 5) as well as in the 13-10 setback to William Smith (Mar. 29). Rosaschi also made 10 stops in the Knights' 19-18 overtime victory against Cortland (Apr. 20).