The Men’s soccer team began State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play last weekend.
On Friday, Sept. 25, the Hawks beat Cortland for the first time since 2009 by a score of 2-1.
Hawks fourth-year forward Jason Gonzalez scored both goals for the Hawks. The first came after Cortland’s third-year goalkeeper Joe Brandofino rebounded a save back to Hawks third-year forward Tyler Lundgren, who passed the ball off to Gonzalez for the shot.
Third-year forward Nick Tata scored the equalizer goal for Cortland in the second half, striking a shot from 30 yards out. However, the Red Dragons were unable to recover after the penalty kick. Hawks second-year goalkeeper John Guzzo recorded five saves on the night.
The second goal by Gonzalez was the result of a penalty kick after a hand ball in the box by the Red Dragons in the 85th minute.
“It felt amazing to contribute to the win against Cortland, but it was a great team effort all around,” Gonzalez said. “I think we truly deserved to win that game.”
According to Hawks Head Coach Gene Ventriglia, Cortland is one of the toughest teams in the SUNYAC conference; the Red Dragons went to the Final 16 in the NCAA Tournament last year and they remain strong this season.
Ventriglia said he believes that Cortland had little respect for the Hawks coming into the game, as New Paltz was “blown off the field” two years ago. However, it didn’t take long for the Red Dragons to realize they had a tough game ahead of them.
“We did not allow Cortland to get away from us, we stayed with them the whole time,” Ventriglia said. “The statistics were very close, they could have won, but we managed to do certain things at the right time.”
The following day, the Hawks fell to Oswego 2-1.
The Lakers’ first goal came in the 51st minute when first-year forward Jason Siracuse headed the ball into the back of the net. In the following minute, the Hawks failed to capitalize on a penalty kick and would not score until the 62nd minute when third-year midfielder Charlie Versen scored off a free kick outside of the 18. The Lakers scored the final goal of the game with less than two minutes remaining.
Ventriglia said he believes the challenge of the weekend was not that the Hawks were on the road, but the amount of emotional energy they expended during the game against Cortland, as they did not look quite as sharp the following day against Oswego.
“The challenge is that we have to bring it every game, every conference game,” he said. “We need to win four or five games to make the playoffs, and we can do it, but you also go into every weekend knowing that you could lose two games, it’s easy.”
Although the Oswego game resulted in a loss, Ventriglia said he remains optimistic.
“We could have won both games, but look what our boys did and the way they competed,” he said. “Even losing 2-1, we were the better team. The good thing about the weekend, even though we didn’t bring home both games, I like the effort that the team put forth. We could have lost both games, but it’s not because we didn’t leave it out there and that’s what’s important.”
The Hawks fell 1-0 against Union College in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
With a record of 6-3, New Paltz will next face SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Brockport at home this coming weekend at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2 and 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, respectively.
“Once you cross the sideline to get on to the field, nothing else matters,” Ventriglia said. “There’s nothing else you can do about anything on the other side of the line, we have to just focus on what we have to do. You can’t worry about your test next week, you can’t think about the fight you had with your boyfriend or girlfriend, that’s what you do.”