Fourth-year forward Shelby Kondelka knew on Sept. 9 that she was one goal away from being the New Paltz Women’s Soccer record-holder for most career goals. With her 21st goal and tie for the record under her belt, she knew it was a matter of time before the record was hers.
Nineteen days later, it was.
In the Women Soccer team’s 1-0 victory over SUNY Geneseo, Kondelka notched the game-winning goal, her 22nd as a Hawk. The tally puts her above former record-holder Aleisha Palmer.
Kondelka said watching the goal against Geneseo go in allowed her to breathe again.
“It was overwhelming for me,” Kondelka said. “I’d been working so hard to get to that point and it took awhile to get from my 21st goal to my 22nd. There was a lot of pressure to finally get it, and once I got it I felt relieved.”
Kondelka first learned she was close to breaking the record when she and Women’s Soccer Head Coach Colleen Bruley sat down for end of the year meetings. Kondelka said Bruley was the one who told her she was close to breaking the record, and that she should make breaking the record an ambition for the season.
“Me and Bruley sat down at the end of last year for the end of the year meeting and we were talking about setting goals for this year,” Kondelka said. “She told me I was pretty close to breaking it so that should be one of my goals.”
Bruley said the accomplishment is something Kondelka will always have to her name.
“It is something that she can take with her all of her life,” Bruley said. “When she thinks back on her career she will remember how much of an impact she had on our program, even if her record ever gets beat.”
Kondelka first came to the Hawks at the beginning of her second year. She played for the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals as a first-year, but left to play for the Hawks at the end of the 2009-10 school year.
Bruley said Kondelka was a player who she could see had the skill and potential to make a name for herself.
“I knew she had tremendous technical ability,” Bruley said. “I didn’t really think about the record, but she would be an excellent addition to our attack, whether scoring goals or assisting with her great vision and passing ability.”
Since the record-setting goal, Kondelka said she wants to further distance herself and add more goals to her career count.
“It makes me want to go out and keep scoring goals and make the record that much larger,” Kondelka said.
Kondelka has added three goals since the match against Geneseo, giving her a season count of seven and an all-time count of 25.
While she has made it more difficult for potential challengers to the record, Kondelka said she believes the record will be broken again one day, and that it may come sooner rather than later.
“I’ve only been here for three years so people that come in for four years will try to break that too,” Kondelka said. “There are players on this team now who over the next four years could definitely break it. I think Chelsea [Weir] could definitely break it.”
Although setting the record for most career goals is an achievement she has had her eye on for a while, Kondelka said helping advance the team deep into the SUNYAC Tournament that’s approaching in the coming weeks is her top priority.
“After doing so well last season, I had to come back and try to do as well,” Kondelka said.
Looking forward to the tournament, Kondelka said there are still some areas the team needs to work on before they’re fully prepared to go in and compete. She said if the team works out the issues, they have a good chance of doing well come tournament time.
“We have a really good shot,” Kondelka said. “We’re working out on some kinks right now, but I think otherwise we have a really good shot of going in and doing well.”
Bruley said that even with this personal accomplishment to her name, Kondelka’s first concern is the team and making sure she’s contributing and helping the team prosper in the conference championships.
“She just plays and takes the opportunities when she gets them,” Bruley said. “It hasn’t really been a big deal for her as she just wants the team to succeed.”