While the Women’s Soccer team’s season may have ended in a penalty kick showdown on Oct. 30, Shelby Kondelka’s soccer career is only beginning – and the future looks bright.
Kondelka, a second-year transfer student from SUNY Plattsburgh, was the team’s leading scorer during their 2010 campaign and a driving force for the team in her first year with the Hawks.
Kondelka’s explosive attack as a forward for the Hawks netted her nine goals on the season, which was triple the amount of goals that the next leading scorer on the team had.
“[Kondelka] has a great ability to see through balls, and make the passes for the other forward to run on to,” Head Coach Collen Bruley said. “She is our playmaker.”
Kondelka’s road to success began when she was five years old, however she has also played travel soccer in middle-school and watched her sisters play soccer in college.
Kondelka’s success this season was not without its complications. Kondelka first attended SUNY Plattsburgh but soon realized it “was not the right fit” for her and she began exploring other collegiate options. During this transition period, Kondelka was not able to play soccer and missed it. After visiting New Paltz she “loved everything about it” and talked to Bruley about playing soccer. After this discussion Kondelka decided to attend New Paltz.
“[Soccer] has always been a passion of mine,” Kondelka said. “I have worked so hard over the years to get to the college level, dedicating so much time and effort into playing and becoming the best player I could.”
When she first arrived at New Paltz, the year away from soccer was still fresh in her mind. She looked to come back as successful as she had been earlier in her soccer career.
“I wanted to prove to myself, my family and to everyone that I can still do it. It made me have a lot of determination and focus to make the team, get a starting position and be a successful forward,” Kondelka said.
Kondelka’s hard work and determination paid off, and Bruley remembers teaching her a basic technique that allowed Kondelka to become “the player [Bruley] knew she could be.”
According to Bruley, she stressed that Kondelka needed to step to the ball instead of allowing it to come to her, which she mastered. After that, everything began to click.
Over the course of the season Kondelka took 28 shots on goal, which was second most on the team. She ended the season with a .321 shot percentage which was also second on the team.
Kondelka said her “simple” style of play and “relaxed” ball handling skills have allowed her to be successful.
“I am not a very flashy player but if I can take a defender on and go to goal I will take advantage of it,” Kondelka said.
As for the future, Bruley believes Kondelka will develop into a model for the other Hawks by leading by example. Her quiet demeanor is something that Bruley believes will set an example for players on and off the field.
According to Bruley, her mental state is key for Kondelka’s success, believing Kondelka was at her best when her confidence was high.
“I hope to see [her confidence] grow and flourish throughout the next few years. If she continues playing like she did this year she has the ability to break some goal scoring records for us,” Bruley said.
Kondelka hopes to improve upon her success this year and continue playing for the Hawks. Her goal is simple – win a SUNYAC championship.
“I want to continue being successful here, scoring goals and help lead the team to its first ever championship in school history.”