LOUDONVILLE — Kerry Gerety hasn’t watched the play.
She won’t, either.
Frankly, it’s just not necessary given how often it runs through her mind, each time leaving her with a bit more motivation to make sure this Siena women’s lacrosse season ends in different fashion.
“I think about it all the time,” Gerety, a junior, said at a recent practice. “I tripped on the turf.”
A Guilderland High School graduate who produced the highest-scoring season in Siena’s program history last year, Gerety had the ball with less than a minute to go in overtime in the 2019 MAAC championship game at Fairfield. The next goal would win the game, and Gerety had already scored Siena’s last two to force overtime.
But as she tried to spin away from a defender to start her sprint up the field, Gerety lost her balance, then the ball. Seconds later, Siena’s scrambling defense couldn’t find a way to prolong its season, as Fairfield scored the championship-winning goal.
“That play,” Gerety said, “replays in my mind all the time.”
But Gerety delivers that line with a smile, not through gritted teeth. As hard as it was for the Saints to end their season the way it did, it’s been rare in Siena’s program history that it could end a season with any what-ifs playing in the Saints’ heads. Gerety led Siena to a program-record 12 wins last season and only its second-ever appearance in the MAAC championship game. At 12-7, Siena produced only its third-ever winning season in 23 years of varsity play.
Only in her third season as Siena’s head coach, Abby Rehfuss has guided a remarkable turnaround after inheriting a program that had finished 1-15 in 2017. Siena improved to 5-12 in Rehfuss’ first season, then became a MAAC contender last year.
Now, the aim is to remain a MAAC contender after the Saints surprised so many in 2019.
“We’ve definitely talked about the elephant in the room, where it’s one thing to get to the top, it’s another thing to stay there,” said Rehfuss, a Shaker High School graduate. “The two things are definitely related, but also distinct. For us, it’s understanding that every year is a new year, and whatever happened the year prior, it doesn’t matter when you start a new season.”
While Siena returns a number of talented players for a season that starts Feb. 18 at Brown, Gerety is the team’s top star. A midfielder, Gerety ranked first on the Saints last season in assists with 31 and draw controls with 104, second in goals with 41 and third in ground balls with 38. Along with senior Therese Pitman, Gerety is a returning All-MAAC first-team selection for the Saints.
“She’s progressed and gotten better every single year,” Rehfuss said of Gerety. “And we still think that she has a little way to go before she hits her ceiling, which is the exciting part about her.”
Improving her individual numbers isn’t a top concern for Gerety. She worked a lot in the offseason to improve her shot’s accuracy, but she’s more concerned with wins than points.
“Um, uh, individually? I don’t know. I don’t really think about that as much,” Gerety said of her goals for this upcoming season. “I’m just thinking about the team and what we’re going to do moving forward. We obviously want to get back to the MAAC championship game and that’s our goal for the season — but we’re not focused on that. We’re focused on each game, one at a time.”
And on any day where it’s difficult to find motivation to keep working, Gerety has that memory of how last season ended to help fuel her.
“I want to get back to that point again,” Gerety said, “so we can finish it off with a win.”