The letters “NP” have been the Hawks mantra and have held symbolic meaning, representing their dominance through the first 10 games of the season.
The Hawks’ only loss came at the hands of SUNY Cortland last weekend. At the 10-game mark, they are ranked eighth in Div. III with a .36 goals against average, allowing only four total goals during this stretch.
Fourth-year midfielder Sam Wasser said part of the Hawks’ success this season is a result of each individual player caring more about the next person. As a result, the team has a few mottos, that they call their image. With the letters of each word in “New Paltz”, the squad contrived slogans with the letters “NP.”
“One of them is “next person,” which means if you’re the next guy coming off the bench, the intensity doesn’t drop, you don’t try less,” Wasser said. “You’re the next person, you go as hard as you can. Another one is “next play” which means if you mess up a pass, don’t worry about it, you go on to the next play, the next one’s going to be better. “Never-ending potential” is another, because we’re just looking so bright this year that really, it is never-ending potential for us.”
With the support of their families and fans behind them, the Hawks opened their home schedule last Tuesday. With only six of 18 regular season matches at home, the team made sure to enjoy every moment of their three-game stay on South Turf Field.
A battle of two undefeated teams resulted in a scoreless tie after two overtime periods on Sept. 20.
The Hawks outshot nonconference Bard College 12-5 on the day and held a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks.
Right out of the gate, the Hawks came out firing, putting up four straight shots to start the match. In the first overtime period, Hawks fourth-year goalkeeper Mark Nowak prevented the game-winning goal from crossing the line, making a save on Bard’s third-year co-captain Nick Shenberger during the 98th minute.
The Hawks next opened their State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) season with a 3-0 shutout win over SUNY Oswego on Sept. 23.
Hawks fourth-year midfielder Charlie Versen broke open the scoring in the 31st minute off an assist from first-year forward Luke Dole. Dole would score a goal of his own off a give-and-go through the box from fourth-year defender Arthur Angst in the 82nd minute to increase the Hawks’ lead to 2-0.
After the goal was counted, Dole ran into the corner by the flag, where all of the Hawks’ friends and fans were located.
“We all celebrated together and that feeling was just amazing,” Hawks fourth-year midfielder Sam Wasser said. “You want that feeling more. I was on the field and I ran and I met him at the corner flag and we celebrated his goal. It was great.”
For Hawks head coach Kyle Clancy, Dole’s goal gave the team more breathing room.
“When you’re up 1-0, one good strike or one bad break can get you,” Clancy said. “At that point, I thought with that goal, you just saw Oswego deflate. That was a big moment for us in that game.”
Versen would tally his second of the contest in the 87th minute, his third of the season. Hawks third-year goalkeeper John Guzzo recorded the shutout between the pipes with two saves.
The following day, the tides would turn for the Hawks as they would lose their first match of the season, falling 1-0 to SUNY Cortland. The Red Dragons put home the game-winner in the 80th minute with a cross from the end line into the box.
To start off their four-game road trip, the Hawks beat Union (N.Y.) College 2-1 in double overtime on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Hawks fourth-year midfielder Sam Spring netted both goals for the team, in the 11th and then the game-winner in the 106th minute. Both goals were assisted by Dole. Spring took over the team lead with five goals to this point this season.
“When you step on the field during a conference game, it’s just a whole different level of intensity,” Wasser said. “It’s almost like taking a quiz and taking a test, there’s just no comparison. Everybody on the field is going as hard as they can for 90 minutes, and there’s just nothing like it. The atmosphere is electric and it’s so much fun.”
The Hawks (5-1-4 overall, 1-1-0, SUNYAC) will continue their four-game road trip with conference games against The College of Brockport (1-5-1, overall, 0-2-0, SUNYAC) and SUNY Geneseo (5-3-1 overall, 1-1 SUNYAC), Friday, Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m., respectively.