Kicking Start

Photo by Holly Lipka.

Only two weeks in, the Men’s soccer team opened the season by winning four straight matches in front of their fans at home.

The Hawks opened their season with a thrilling 1-0 double overtime win against Mount Saint Mary College, with the lone goal being scored by Hawks third-year forward Tyler Lundgren who has scored four goals so far this season.

The Hawks then proceeded to win their next three games against Lehman College, John Jay College and The College at Old Westbury.

On Saturday, Sept. 5, New Paltz shutout Lehman College 3-0. Lundgren, third-year midfielder and forward Tucker Stern and fourth-year midfielder Jake Falk tallied the trio of goals for the Hawks.

Two days later, the Hawks defeated John Jay College 4-3. With goals scored by Lundgren and first-year defenseman Sebastian Gordon-Somers-Archer in the first half, fourth-year co-Captain Joe Hughes and fourth-year forward Jason Gonzalez netted goals in the second half as the Hawks secured the victory.

The Hawks went on to host The College at Old Westbury. The Panthers scored the opening goal, but the Hawks proceeded to score four-consecutive goals to seal the 4-1 victory on Saturday, Sept. 12. Four different Hawks contributed goals. Stern, Gonzalez, Lundgren and third-year midfielder and forward Sam Wasser netted goals.

Hawks Head Coach Gene Ventriglia said this year’s team is more committed to achieving success and are much more physical overall.

“This is the biggest team I’ve had physically,” Ventriglia said. “This bodes well for the conference because the conference is very physical.”

The team’s 4-0 start is the best start they have had since 2009, when the team began with a record of 4-0-1.

Ventriglia is looking to see Hughes and fellow fourth-year co-Captain Angelo DiMatteo and the rest of the upperclassmen give off confidence and poise to the developing freshmen and sophomore players.

“I think the team this year has improved since last year,” Ventriglia said. “We didn’t do as well as we wanted, as there were some games we could have finished differently.”

The players believe the homestand has had an impact on their overall play so far this season.

“Opening up the season with a bunch of home games definitely played a role in our success so far,” Hughes said. “There is nothing like playing in front of all your family and friends, their support really drives us to play our best.”

The players approached the season much differently compared to previous seasons by physically training harder in order to boost their playing skills. Falk said this season involved being ready for preseason with the notion of passing an extremely difficult fitness test.

“Coming into this season our coach held us to a much higher physical standard,” Falk said. “I believe that our improved level of fitness has helped tremendously.”

The team is looking to carry their confidence through the entire season and achieve the ultimate goal of winning a championship. DiMatteo said the high competition in every drill and every aspect of practice has been great for the reason that team members are constantly fighting for playing time.

“We need to stay hungry but most importantly stay humble,” DiMatteo said. “Coach has been stressing the importance of quiet confidence and that is how we need to carry ourselves. I expect us to be able to step on the field and be able to compete with any team no matter how much of a powerhouse they can be. I know with our recent work ethic, technical and physical abilities, we will be able to see ourselves as a top contender in the SUNYAC conference”.

The Hawks look to keep their winning streak alive in their upcoming nonconference matchup against Vassar College on Saturday, Sept. 19 in which players see as their most challenging matchup yet.

“Saturday will tell us a lot,” Ventriglia said. “It’ll give us a barometer to tell us where we’re at and what we have to improve on.”

After this matchup, the Hawks begin their journey on the road by facing Bard College on Sept. 23, in their final matchup before beginning conference play on Sept. 25 against SUNY Cortland at 2 p.m.