With the playoffs right around the corner, the New Paltz Men’s Basketball team currently holds an overall record of 8-13 with a 5-9 SUNYAC record. They are currently the No. 7 seed in the conference.
Head Coach Mike Rejniak said his team still has its best basketball ahead of them. He credited fourth-year player Harris Wichard and third-year players Matt Devine and Nick Taldi for stepping up this season. Rejniak also said third-year Shalik Jenkins, first-year Alan Siergiej and fourth-year Jamal
Lis-Simmons have taken the team to new heights.
“When we play united basketball, we become a difficult match-up for opponents,” Rejniak said. “The goal is to win a SUNYAC championship.”
While this is the goal for every team in the conference, Rejniak believes that his team’s daily improvement will lead them to play their best basketball at the right time and ultimately bring home the title.
With the regular season nearing its end, Rejniak said every game is critical in order to reach the playoffs.
“Every game for us is a ‘must-win’ for us,” Rejniak said. “Each team is vying for a position in the playoffs with no room for error.”
With the team currently sitting in seventh place, their first round matchup would be against third place SUNY Cortland, who currently holds a record of 14-6 overall, with a 9-4 SUNYAC record.
With end-of-season match-ups against first place SUNY Oswego and Cortland, the road will not be easy, but wins against higher-ranked opponents could boost their stock come tournament time.
The Hawks most recent win was against SUNY Brockport, with the win before that being against SUNY Potsdam. That win ended with a last second layup by Siergiej and a five-game losing streak.
Siergiej commented on his game-winner saying it was exciting considering that it was the first one he hit.
Siergiej said the win against Potsdam shifts the momentum in the Hawks’ favor.
“Without a doubt, it was a huge turn around,” Siergiej said. “After losing five games in a row, this definitely gave us huge momentum. We’re going to keep this momentum going for the rest of our schedule and hopefully it will keep building in the playoffs.”
The Hawks lost their two most recent contests against SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Brockport, but look to get back on the winning path for the remaining part of their schedule.
With the tournament commencing on Feb. 21, Rejniak said the goal for the rest of the season is simple.
“We have to win no matter what,” Rejniak said.