The men’s soccer team notched their first win of the 2017 season Tuesday afternoon with a 3-0 shutout against SUNY Purchase.
In the first ever matchup of the two teams, a 75-minute rain delay did not stop the Hawks from controlling the game with third-year defenceman Sebastian Gordon-Somers-Archer and fourth-year Aleco Podias scoring consecutive goals after the game resumed.
Over the course of the game, the Hawks dominated offensively, outshooting the Purchase Panthers 16-2. Of the two shots the Panthers took, only one was on goal.
Hawks head coach Kyle Clancy noted the team’s defensive mentality and the its importance when it comes to winning games.
“We work on a lot of aspects of defensive work because if you keep the ball out of the net, you’ll get a result whether it’s a tie or a win,” Clancy said. “We were a great defensive unit last year and even though we’ve given up three goals we want to be even stronger.”
The Hawks look to build off their defensive showcase, and are showing signs of improvement each game. New Paltz has let up an average of one goal per game so far through three games.
They still have not given up more than two goals in a single game in 22 straight contests, dating back to the 2015 season finale against SUNY Fredonia.
Eight seniors graduated after last season and eight freshmen came in and are quickly adapting to the team’s tempo.
Clancy attributes the freshmen’s skill levels to the fitness training and dedication they put in prior to the beginning of the season.
“We graduated a lot of seniors that had experience,” Clancy said. “That was a tough thing to overcome and it’s difficult to replace that skill and knowledge of the game.
“One thing I know for sure is that the fitness test results were significantly higher than last year. A lot of our top results were from the first year players, so you’re seeing the dedication that they put in over the summer.”
Prior to Tuesday’s game, the only other goal scored this season was by first-year midfielder Luis Tinoco in the Hawks’ 2-1 loss against RPI on Friday, Sept. 1.
“It’s exciting to see who’s going to take that first step up to adjust to a quicker speed of play and higher physicality,” Clancy said. “They’re a confident group and there’s a lot of them that have been ready right away.”
New Paltz is seeking their second-consecutive appearance in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament under their head coach after making it last season for the first time since 2012.
The Hawks defeated SUNYAC rival Buffalo State 1-0 in the season finale to clinch a playoff berth, but were eliminated by them a week later in the quarterfinals of the tournament with a 2-0 loss.
“I expect to make it every year,” Clancy said. “We’re definitely keeping a focus on preparing and getting ready for each game to become a better team.”
The Hawks now stand at 1-2 overall and travel to Utica on Saturday and Sunday to face off against SUNY Cobleskill and Utica College. New Paltz has not squared off against Cobleskill since the 2008 season and will face Utica for the first time in program history.