After defeating Drew College, Merchant Marine and Farmingdale State, the New Paltz Men’s Soccer team met their match at Vassar College.
On Wednesday, Sept. 15, the Hawks traveled to Poughkeepsie to play Vassar. Graduate Marc DePasquale took his place at the goalpost to single the start of what would be a very long and slow matchup. It took a full 11 minutes and 46 seconds for anything other than a foul to happen; a corner kick by Vassar’s third-year defender Nolan Alexander.
The slow start had nothing to do with effort, the Hawks were shooting, but Vassar’s third-year goalkeeper Eric Wnorowski was saving them all. Vassar was attempting to shoot as well, and their shots were either saved by DePasquale or wide.
Interestingly, the liveliest part of the game came right at the end, between 78:25 and 86:43 when three yellow cards were thrown: two on Vassar, one on New Paltz.
The New Paltz foul came from first-year midfielder Joseph DiPerta. Unfortunately, Vassar was able to capitalize on the penalty kick shot and put themselves on the board 1-0. The Hawks were unable to come back in time and ultimately fell to Vassar.
Fourth-year forward Paul Tola said the team had the right intentions with Vassar, just struggled on executing the way they wanted.
Luckily, the Hungry Hawks, ready to start a new winning streak, came back in a brazen manner. On Saturday, Sept. 18 New Paltz traveled to Pennsylvania to face and conquer King’s College.
In the first period, three yellow cards were thrown and just like on Wednesday, two were from the opposing team with one New Paltz penalty. Unlike Wednesday, though, no damage was done from the yellow card.
With less than five minutes left in the period, fourth-year midfielder Ryan Stevens got a goal for the Hawks, assisted by fourth-year midfielder James Maltes.
Now going into the second half with a lead of one, the Hawks were looking good. Another New Paltz goal came quickly, this time from third-year midfielder Philip Varner, assisted by third-year forward Brandon Davenport.
“With Kings, we came to play!” Tola said. “Everything was coming together.”
With defense looking strong, the rest of the game came easy for the Hawks. At 86:12, Tola was substituted for Maltes, and exactly thirty seconds after that, Tola scored all on his own. This secured New Paltz the 3-0 win against King’s College.
Tola’s goal was the first of his collegiate career.
“Even as I was subbed in at the end I gave it my all,” Tola said. “Applying a lot of pressure and aggression for that time. I was excited to make an impact while I was in.”
The next nine games New Paltz will play are all SUNYAC games, kicking it off with Brockport on Friday, Sept. 24. Although New Paltz has not defeated Brockport since 2012, if there’s any year they can go into the competition with a strong mindset, it’s this year.
“Expect us to come out just as hungry and with just as much energy and confidence as we showed in the game against King’s College this weekend,” Maltes said. “We know that when we play to our full potential we can compete with anyone in the SUNYAC, and we’re committed to showing that throughout this season.”