The SUNY New Paltz Men’s Soccer team earned its first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Western Connecticut State University on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
Second-year midfielder James Falk was able to find the back of the net in the 24th minute off an assist from fourth-year forward Bernardo Menendez. The Colonials worked the ball in the Hawks’ box, which led to an own goal that tied the game in the 66th minute.
Despite the lapse in defense, the Hawks came back to win on a penalty kick scored by Menendez.
Although the Hawks clinched the victory over the Colonials, Head Coach Gene Ventriglia said he isn’t entirely satisfied with how the Hawks have been playing so far this season.
“I expected to be in a better situation at this point,” he said, “We are much better than our record shows.”
The scores of the games prior to their match against the Colonials, 1-1, 2-0, and 3-2, to Skidmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Fairleigh Dickinson-College at Florham, respectively, do not exemplify the team’s skill and prowess, Ventriglia said.
Ventriglia said part of the problem is the team’s overall experience level. With only five of the team’s 23 players on the roster being fourth-years, the team is fairly young. He said there isn’t one “pure forward” on the team, and that the goal scoring opportunities have to come “a bit from everyone” on the field.
The problem is that with many young players, the Hawks have been playing with hesitation and have been unable to finish their scoring opportunities, he said.
Falk said he agrees with Ventriglia that the Hawks’ record does not reflect their true ability.
“We’ve really got to pick up our intensity,” he said. “We can’t be flat when we play. We’ve got to come out ready.”
Ventriglia also praised the team, despite their losses.
He said the Hawks haven’t had a “cupcake” season, and that the teams they’ve played so far have been fierce competitors. Ventriglia also gave kudos to the team’s capacity to control the ball on the field, and said that possession time is increasing.
“We play parts of games where we are very technical, we just need to play more consistent,” he said.
On Tuesday the Hawks lost 1-0 to Union College in an unfortunate fashion, giving up a goal in the 84th minute to Union’s Carl Faber off of a corner kick.
Looking forward, Ventriglia said that he believes his team will still accomplish a lot the remainder of the season.
“I’m not negative on it,” Ventriglia said, “I’m still confident in our boys and I really think we’re going to win some games.”
The Hawks will take the field again on Friday at SUNY Oswego and on Saturday at SUNY Cortland.