After two weekends of State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) competition, the men’s soccer team (8-3 overall, 3-1 in conference) are tied for first in the SUNYAC with The College at Brockport and SUNY Oneonta.
Despite a tough 1-0 loss to Buffalo State, the Hawks have earned impressive victories over SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Oswego and the previously undefeated No. 14 SUNY Cortland.
The Hawks went up early, just over the five-minute mark, against the Devils on Friday, Sept. 21 when fourth-year forward Manny Flory played a ball back from the end line to second-year midfielder Kevin Doorley, who deflected the ball into the net. Doorley scored again in the 28th minute after he chipped a long ball from fourth-year captain and defender Sebastian Gordon-Somers-Archer over third-year goalkeeper Ty Bentham (five saves).
Second-year goalkeeper Marc DePasquale contributed three saves in the shutout victory against Fredonia.
The Hawks came out strong the next day against Buffalo State with a solid first-half performance. Unfortunately, a defensive breakdown resulted in a goal by third-year midfielder Ali Shawish that decided the victory.
This past weekend, the Hawks won both SUNYAC matchups against Oswego and Cortland with 4-1 and 5-1 victories, respectively. This was the first time in three years that the Hawks were able to hand the Red Dragons a loss.
“We’ve battled really well,” Doorley said. “We came from behind against Oswego and were able to turn it around against Cortland when they tied it up. Our mental toughness has been a huge part of our success.”
Despite an early 1-0 deficit, first-year midfielder Spencer Ryczek, first-year forward Ryan Stevens and first-year midfielder Nicholas Honor came off the bench and put away the game-tying goal, ensuing an unanswered four-goal run to secure the victory.
“I think what’s special about this team is that every player is impacting our team in a different yet positive way,” Doorley said. “As long as we all do our part, we will be successful. The freshmen have really stepped up the last couple of games; they’ve scored some big goals.”
Stevens led scoring against Oswego with two goals; his first was the go-ahead goal off of a penalty kick and his second was the final insurance goal of the game, when he knocked a loose ball off a missed clearance in the six into the back of the net.
“I feel like we’ve performed pretty well [in conference thus far] but we need to keep working hard and getting better every day,” Stevens said. “We need to take the rest of this season day by day and put in 100 percent effort to keep improving.”
The Hawks gained a huge advantage early, when Cortland third-year goalkeeper Sean Kelley earned a red card after sliding into a New Paltz attacker, forcing the Red Dragons to go down a man. Although New Paltz was not able to put the penalty kick past third-year goalkeeper Noah Smith who subbed in for Kelley after the red card, it did not deter the Hawks from their eventual four-goal victory.
It did not take long for the Hawks to score. The first goal came in the 13th minute after Ryczek put away a pass from fourth-year midfielder Khalil Scott-Ludewig. Cortland committed seven fouls and two yellow cards in addition to Kelley’s red card, not getting a shot on goal to leave the Hawks up 1-0 at the half.
In the seventh minute into the second half, a foul in the box allowed third-year midfielder Jake Keller to put away a penalty kick to tie the game. At 55:11, the Hawks answered back with a goal by Stevens off another Scott-Ludewig pass. Stevens put another goal away four minutes later.
Doorley and second-year midfielder Ryan Martinez racked up scoring for the Hawks with a goal off a header at 75:31 and the final goal of the game a minute later, respectively.
“It’s a big win knowing [Cortland] is nationally ranked, but every game is a championship game,” said Hawks coach Kyle Clancy. “When you get to the point where you address the first game of the season to the last like that, you’re going to be a great team. Just really great stuff from the guys, I’m proud of them.”
The Hawks will continue their 2018 SUNYAC campaign on the road at The College at Brockport and SUNY Geneseo on Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6, respectively.