The SUNY New Paltz Women’s Soccer team may be used to success by this point, but the excitement and accolades keep on piling up.
The team was recently ranked ninth in the Northeast, top-ranked of all schools in the SUNYAC conference. Their seven-game shutout streak, including a well-fought win against seventh-ranked Geneseo, has helped better their position.
In a recent release of the NCAA Division III statistical rankings, New Paltz ranked 16th nationally in goals-against average (.404) and was tied for 10th nationally in save percentage (.914).
According to Head Coach Colleen Bruley, New Paltz Women’s Soccer has only been ranked among Northeast teams once before the current season.
The three games the Hawks played against Geneseo before Sept. 30 ended in 2-1 heartbreaks. The trend for New Paltz was to hold the lead in the first half only to finish the game in a 2-1 loss. However, fresh blood and seasoned players have shifted the expectations.
“Being able to have a shut-out is a great feeling knowing you stopped the other team from scoring on you,” said third-year goalie Stephanie Vega. “My defense has a big part in making it happen.”
Players and coaches agree that team chemistry is a big player in their recent success, adding that the team’s connection has never felt this good. To reach their season end goal of winning a SUNYAC championship, the girls make the team’s goals their priority.
“We just need to focus on winning one game at a time,” said third-year forward Shelby Kondelka. “We have to continue going out and playing our best soccer and winning games.”
While shutout games and lofty goals were great kick-starters to the season, the girls’ winning streak came to an end with a 1-0 loss against SUNY Brockport in overtime on Sept. 30. They also lost to SUNY Plattsburgh just a week later on Oct. 7 by one goal.
“The desire to do our best for each other is really the reason we have been able to accomplish anything this year,” said fourth-year Captain Shannon Cobb.
The Hawks came back with a 2-0 victory over SUNY Potsdam Oct. 8, dominating the match and taking an impressive 17 shots on goal compared with Potsdam’s three.
The team knows competition is certainly not going to get easier as the season progresses, but the girls are staying positive. They intend on finishing out the season the way it began-with winning.
“I believe our team needs to keep up our work ethic and to not become complacent,” said Vega. “Soccer is 90 minutes and anything can happen in seconds. It’s essential to work hard and stay focused the whole game.”
The team’s next home game will be against SUNY Oneonta on Oct. 14.