The New Paltz Men’s Soccer team will be going through some major changes next season.
There are 13 graduating seniors this year, some of which were main contributors to the team’s success during the fall 2011 season. The team will say goodbye to many fourth-year players including midfielder/forward and Captain Tommy Garafola and fourth-year forward Jimmy Altadonna, defender Jamal Lis-Simmons and goalkeeper Tom Viscardi.
Though there will be many changes for next season’s roster, Head Coach Gene Ventriglia said he is not daunted by the situation.
“I have been working my tail off recruiting, and when you bring some good kids in you don’t know what is going to happen,” Ventriglia said.
Ventriglia, a New Paltz alumnus and a former coach for West Point Women’s Soccer, said his goal is to bring New Paltz back to its glory days of the 1960s. Ventriglia said while he was playing, large crowds would come to watch the Hawks. A passion and feeling of pride for New Paltz is what Ventriglia said drives him to strengthen the soccer program at New Paltz.
Some of the contacts he acquired during his 25 years of coaching Division I college soccer, high school soccer and now at New Paltz, is what he said will help him create the team he believes will succeed in the future.
“I changed the whole game and the guys were really receptive,” Ventriglia said.
A combined effort saw the team finish with a 4-4-1 conference record. During games where the team faced SUNYAC heavyweights Geneseo, Oneonta and Brockport, they were able to keep the games tight by allowing only a one-goal advantage each game.
Returning players said they are ready and excited for the upcoming season that will present new challenges despite losing
“It’s nice to have a smaller roster, it helps give the younger players more experience,” said first-year midfielder Brian Spina.
Ventriglia hopes to have recruits replace the void of graduating seniors and is being careful with his selections. He said he knows what the team is capable of and understands their ability to become a successful team. For Ventriglia, fall 2011 was a warm-up for a team used to a certain coaching style.
Third-year defender Nicholas DiPaola mentioned a very popular saying for the team.
“We’re not rebuilding we’re reloading,” DiPaola said.