After finishing the 2012-13 season with an impressive 12-5-2 overall record, the SUNY New Paltz Women’s Soccer team is looking forward to another big year competing in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC).
The Lady Hawks had eight graduating players on last year’s team, leaving them with no fourth-years on their roster for this season. Head Coach Colleen Bruley said that although the squad is young, her and the team’s expectations are high.
“The recruiting class coming in is very strong,” she said.
Three third-years have been named captains to lead the squad this season. Bruley said that spectators should keep an eye out for one of the captains in particular, third-year midfielder Eleni Anselmi.
In the her career thus far, Anselmi racked up 10 points (three goals and four assists), including a game-winner over Carthage College on Sept. 10, 2011 and again on Oct. 21, 2011 in a conference win over SUNY Fredonia.
Another returning player Bruley said is going to be a big contributor to the team is second-year goalkeeper, Krysten Kane. Kane has been a strong competitor in the pre-season play, and will be a key to the team’s triumph, Bruley said. During their first game against the Owls of Westfield State University, Kane made an impressive 13 saves. In the final contest of the third annual Michelle Vargas-Robin Memorial Tournament, Kane stopped six of the seven shots fired on goal by the Hawk’s opponents, New York University (NYU).
So far this season, the Hawks have a record of 0-1-1, with a loss against Westfield State University and a draw with NYU. The Hawks are working with a new system of play, and with so many fresh faces, are still working out the kinks in their formation and player positioning.
Anselmi said that a lot of the players have been moving around to different positions. She said the players have only gotten to work with each other for a couple weeks so far on the field.
“It was frustrating to lose a home tournament, but we’re going to keep working hard and work to get better every day,” Anselmi said.
Anselmi said that she was proud of her team, especially the first-years for stepping up against their opponents in the past two matches. She said that the team has great chemistry given their age and will only continue to improve by working hard both on and off the field.
Bruley said the biggest challenge the team faces right now is building up an efficient, capable back four for the team to work with.
“Everything builds from the back,” she said.
Despite these early season difficulties, the Lady Hawks are keeping a positive outlook and high expectations for the upcoming season.
“We have one goal in mind and that’s to win the conference,” Bruley said. “I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t believe we had the talent to do so.”