The New Paltz men’s soccer team concluded their season by splitting their final two games against State University of New York (SUNYAC) rivals Fredonia and Buffalo State.
The team finished with a 6-10 overall record while going 2-7 in conference.
Head coach Kyle Clancy commended his team for finishing the season with a high level of performance and intensity.
“Seeing the team play so well even after not making the playoffs was a real positive,” Clancy said. “Our game against Fredonia was our best of the year.”
The game against Fredonia was locked in a stalemate through the first 37 minutes before first-year forward Jared Sparks found the back of the net on a rebound off a shot from fourth-year defenseman Andres Salcedo.
The Hawks took their slim lead into halftime, but received a big blow when third-year defenseman Sebastian G-S Archer was hit with his second yellow card at the 62nd minute which resulted in a red card that forced the team to play down a man the remainder of the game.
“Before (G-S Archer) picked up his second yellow card, it was 65 minutes of pure domination,” Clancy said. “Fredonia was still in the playoff hunt and we even managed to score a goal down a man over the last 25 minutes.”
That goal was scored by first-year midfielder Kevin Doorley, his fourth of the season. Fredonia got back within a goal, but the Hawks held on to win 2-1, their second conference win of the year.
New Paltz and Fredonia matched each other with five corners a piece, but the former outshot their opponent 19-17. Fourth-year goalie John Guzzo recorded six saves in net for the Hawks.
The following day, the Hawks fell to then-No. 14 Buffalo State by a slim margin of 1-0.
New Paltz held their own and limited Buffalo to just one goal, but failed to touch the back of the net.
Guzzo had a strong game in goal, recording seven saves. Buffalo outshot New Paltz 21-8, but the Hawks kept them to just eight shots on frame. The Hawks were also outmatched in corners 6-1 in the season finale.
The lone goal came at the 20th minute on a free kick from Buffalo’s fourth-year forward Luke Pavone, his eighth of the season.
For New Paltz, it was a tightly contested game, especially against a team that was able to secure the No. 3 seed in the SUNYAC tournament, behind only Oneonta (No. 2) and Cortland (No. 1). The Hawks finished eighth.
Clancy said the team will look to improve its defense next season.
“We need to be better defensively all over the field, not just the backline,” he said. “Our goals against average has to be under one a game. We gave up 24 in 16 matches.
“We also need to be better in the box. We gave up a lot of set piece goals and were shutout in six of nine games in conference play. Creating more chances and being more opportunistic with chances is important.”
Clancy added that while it wasn’t the way the team wanted to end the season, he is proud of his team.
“We are happy for the seniors and wish them the best,” he said. “We are excited to see how the underclassmen develop and hope to create an even more competitive environment.”