Seventh year coach Nate Wiley (Geneseo '99) enters the 2012 campaign coming off a 14-4-2 season and a trip to the SUNYAC semifinals, where they played to a scoreless tie with Cortland before losing in penalty kicks. Wiley's challenge in 2012 will be to replace a senior class that scored 31 of Geneseo's 50 goals last season.
The Blue Knights will be strong defensively as they return three of five starters and their top two defensive reserves. Junior Olivia Panepinto (Stony Point/North Rockland), who earned third team All-SUNYAC recognition in 2011, leads the returning starters, including senior back Bethany Kwarta (Pittsford/Sutherland) and junior goalkeeper Julia Sanger (Penfield/Fairport), who posted a 0.73 goals against average with eight shutouts last season. Senior Katie Beale (Penfield) and junior Alexa Vojvodic (Mineola/Sacred Heart) move into starting roles in the back.
Junior Michelle Barnum (Fairport), sophomores Emily Papke (Akron) and Karlee McCorry (Rochester/Spencerport) and first years Olivia Wellinger (Smithtown/West) and Sam Sherman (Wantagh/MacArthur) are expected to get some playing time in the back, while sophomore Shannon Kopunek (West Nyack/Clarkstown) and first year Danielle Sheehan (Liverpool) provide depth and sophomore Allison Stamp (Montour Falls/Odessa-Montour) serves as backup to Sanger.
In the midfield, three 2011 top reserves move into the starting group as senior Stephanie Verdino (Great River/East Islip) and junior Alexa Krebs (Clarence Center/Clarence) play in the central midfield and senior Emily Novak (Williamsville/Williamsville South), who scored 11 points last year, starts on the outside. Sophomore Brittany Young (Fairport) begins the season on the right flank for Wiley, while sophomores Scar Panepinto (Stony Point/North Rockland) and Erin Froehlich (Smithtown/West) serve as reserves.
First years Stephanie Clookey (Plattsburgh/Beekmantown), Kelsey Raschke (West Islip), Marissa Benson (Greenlawn/Harborfields) and Jackie Ibrahim (New Hyde Park) battle for playing time in the midfield.
On the front line, senior Shannon Spusta (Macedon/Palmyra-Macedon) and junior Kelly Quinn (Centerport/Harborfields) get the starting nod. Spusta scored 11 points on three goals and five assists in the midfield last year, while Quinn notched two goals and one assist in a reserve role in 2011.
A quartet will spell Spusta and Quinn up front as juniors Erin Beach (Commack/St. John the Baptist), Amanda Gray (Skaneateles) and Rhaia Hull (Evans Mills/Indian River) and sophomore Allison Kopunek (West Nyack/Clarkstown) compete for time.
The Knights will open their season at the Farmingdale tournament versus Salisbury on Friday, August 31, with the home opener coming on Thursday, September 13 versus Nazareth at 4 p.m.