After splitting a pair of State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) games last week, the Men’s soccer team won two out of their three games this week against SUNY Geneseo and Western Connecticut State.
On Friday, Oct. 2, the Hawks defeated SUNY Geneseo for the first time since 2013 by a score of 2-1.
Hawks fourth-year midfielder Jake Falk got the team on the board in the 31st minute after a pass from third-year forward Tyler Lundgren. The Knights were quick to respond, as third-year midfielder Matt D’Amico tied the game just before the first half came to a close.
Both teams fought hard to break the tie in the second half, but the Hawks prevailed as fourth-year co-Captain Joe Hughes found the back of the net to lead the Hawks to a close 2-1 win at home.
“Playing at home is very important to us,” Falk said. “We love the support we get from our friends and family. They give us the energy we need to come away with wins.”
The Hawks went on to continue SUNYAC play as they suffered a loss to The College at Brockport Saturday, Oct. 3.
New Paltz opened the scoring in the first half as fourth-year forward Jason Gonzalez scored off of a rebound to give the team a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, the Golden Eagles had a chance to tie the game when they were awarded a penalty kick. However, Hawks second-year goalkeeper John Guzzo stopped the shot to maintain the team’s lead.
The Golden Eagles continued their search to even up the score, tying the game in the 66th minute, followed by sealing the game with goals in the 75th and 88th minutes for a 3-1 win.
Hawks Head Coach Gene Ventriglia said that the team should be 4-0 in SUNYAC play, but the conference is tough and everyone is fighting to win and make the playoffs. He said when it comes to conference games in comparison to non-conference games, you can tell the difference by looking at the intensity and the physicality.
“When you play back to back games, it’s tough,” Ventriglia said. “It’s a tough conference and our objective right now is to make the playoffs.”
The Hawks went on to win against Western Connecticut on Tuesday, Oct. 6 by a score of 2-1, where the team improved their record to 8-4-0.
Despite the fact that Guzzo could not handle the ball and allowed a goal in the 25th minute, second-year midfielder and forward Khalil Scott Ludewig scored the equalizer in the 39th minute. Third-year midfielder Caiden Williams followed by notching his first career goal in the 47th minute, giving the Hawks the lead and the win.
New Paltz outshot the Colonials, 15-5, but Western Connecticut State held a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Lundgren and Williams each tallied three shots for the Hawks. Falk, second-year midfielder and forward Gino Scardino, and third-year midfielder and forward Sam Wasser recorded two shots apiece for the offense.
Guzzo made two stops in goal for the day, while Colonials second-year goalkeeper Austin Tierney notched four saves.
In order to keep their success going, Ventriglia said the team has to stay healthy and not have injuries, because they affect the team’s overall play.
“We lost arguably one of our best defenders from an injury,” he said. “You can’t have injuries because once you have them, you have problems.”
Falk said the team is continuing to work hard for their upcoming games in practice and looking to finish the season strong.
“As a team, we are continuing to play hard at practice,” Falk said. “We all understand the importance of the upcoming games and will make sure we try to win our remaining games.
Ventriglia is looking to take the rest of the season one game at a time and wants the team to stay focused and win their upcoming games.
The Hawks continue their six-game homestand and will play two more conference games against No. 20 SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday, Oct. 9 and SUNY Potsdam on Saturday, Oct. 10. They will also play a non-conference game against Hunter College on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
“We have to stay focused on our purpose and objective and work hard,” Ventriglia said. “Our goal this week is to go out and win our games. The fact that we’re in the running at this time is huge, because only six teams make it to the postseason and everybody is in the running for it.”