The New Paltz Men’s Soccer team ended their season Oct. 29 with a 3-2 overtime loss to SUNY Geneseo in the SUNYAC tournament.
The No. 6 seed Hawks were not able to find the net during overtime and fell to the No. 3 seed Blue Knights during the tournament quarterfinals.
“We were extremely competitive as demonstrated by the results of all our games. Everyone on the field played two-way soccer,” said Head Coach Gene Ventriglia. “We all committed to attack on offense and we all played defense when we lost the ball.”
The first trip to the tournament since 2004, Ventriglia feels the team will continue to advance in the future.
“I am looking forward to making the New Paltz Men’s Soccer program a highly respected program in the SUNYAC and in our region,” Ventriglia said.
Though 13 seniors are graduating, Ventriglia is eager for next season. He will encourage the team to work hard in the offseason so that despite the rebuilding year, they might make it one step further in the post-season.
“The season is almost everything I could have asked for,” said fourth-year forward Jimmy Altadonna. “My personal goal was to get a taste of what the playoffs are like because once we got in, I knew we could do some damage.”
Altadonna joined three of his teammates in securing All-SUNYAC honors. Midfielder Captain Tommy Garafola received first team honors, defender Jamal Lis-Simmons received second team honors and defender Nicholas Dipaola joined Altadonna on the third team.
The season earned Garafola a place as the sixth New Paltz Men’s Soccer player to receive four All-SUNYAC honors, including two consecutive first-team honors. This is also the first year that four New Paltz players were awarded All-SUNYAC honors since 1997. The hawks will lose Garafola, Lis-Simmons and Altadonna to graduation.
“The team has a solid foundation, believe it or not—even after losing 13 seniors,” Altadonna said. “Our coach needs to do a good job recruiting and they should have a great chance of making the playoffs again and hopefully do better than my graduating class.”
Ventriglia said he taught the Hawks a new, professional style of play this season. He said the boys took to it well and they hope the team continues the tradition.
“I can guarantee you there wasn’t one team in the SUNYAC conference that was waking up at 6 a.m. everyday for practice,” said fourth-year goalkeeper Tom Viscardi. “It was a big challenge for everyone but once we began getting into a routine, it just became a part of our everyday lives.”
Though the season was challenging, the team stepped up their game and commitment level.
“Although we had plenty of ups and downs this year, almost too many, when the time came to fight for our lives in order to make playoffs, we refused to lose,” Viscardi said.