SUNY New Paltz Soccer Starts the Fall 2023 Season Off Strong

New Paltz women's soccer shares a celebratory hug on the field in their game against Buffalo State on Sept. 23. Photo curtesy of Ethan Scully

Since the start of the season, both the men and women’s soccer teams have fought a good fight. The teams respectively achieved several victories to kick off the fall 2023 season. 

The New Paltz men’s soccer team has been maintaining a winning streak as they head into the first week of SUNY Athletic Conference. With five wins, one tie and only one loss, the Hawks are in for a great season. 

Graduate student and midfielder Philip Varner said “there’s a lot of good players that came in and just upped the level a little bit on passes.” 

The Hawks competed in the Drew Fall Festival on Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham’s field on Sept. 1 where they defeated them 2-1. Third-year midfielder and forward Joseph DiPreta ultimately scored the winning goal in minute 77, with just 13 more minutes to go. 

Just two days later on Sept. 3, they came out on top 4-0 against Saint Elizabeth University.

DiPreta said, “We know the mistakes we made and so now it’s on us to change it and I think we’ll have a lot more poise, a lot more composure this time around and have a better understanding of what’s needed to win.”

During their home opener game on Sept. 6, the Hawks destroyed Lehman University on the South Turf Field. The Hawks started strong with a 2-0 lead and sealed the deal when they ended with 26 shots and a final score of 6-0. 

Men’s soccer Coach Kyle Clancy revealed that “we’ve invested a lot in our culture development and the team building that we do, the mental performance training that we do, and just revamping what our values are and who we are as a program.” 

Their first and only tie this season, 1-1, came with the Sept. 9 game against Union College.

Varner expressed “we’ve been playing better as games have been going on, even though we didn’t get the end result.”

Their proudest win yet was across the river on Sept. 13 at Vassar College where the Hawks won 1-0. Third-year goalkeeper Christian Micheli kept the Brewers in check with six saves which consequently led the Hawks to victory. 

While Coach Clancy reflected on the season thus far, he said “we have to play at that elite level with the same mindset every single game because if not, whatever we’ve done up to this point, we could miss out on the playoffs. So it’s really competitive. We love that aspect of it. You know, it’s a really high level and I think the players will be ready for the next one.” 

On Sept. 16, the Hawks trekked up to Saratoga Springs where they defeated Skidmore College 4-0. 

Although they broke their winning streak on Sept. 20 at Oneonta, they fought the good fight and were neck and neck, just barely losing at 1-0.  “Even though we had our first loss yesterday, I’d say it’s probably up there with the best performances we’ve had,” DiPreta said. 

The Hawks made a comeback on Sept. 23 in their game at Buffalo State where they won 2-0. 

The New Paltz women’s soccer team has been off to a successful start to the 2023 season. Between their four wins this season and a tight-knit team, the Hawks are having a good season both on and off the field. 

The Hawks kicked off their season on Sept. 1 where they secured their first win against Sage 2-0.

Third-year goalkeeper Maddie Franklin said “I think there are more leaders than just the captains. Everyone on the team leads in their own individual ways and contributes in that aspect.” 

On Sept. 3 up in Troy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Hawks narrowly lost 2-1.

On Sept. 6 in New Jersey at Montclair University, the Hawks unfortunately saw their second loss of the season, 3-2. Coach Mike Eckberg spoke on the significance of the Montclair game.

“Going toe-to-toe with them, you know, losing the game 3-2, I think just gave us an opportunity to see a top 25 program and to see how athletically, tactically, technically, physically, we match up against an opponent of that level,” said Eckberg. 

Graduate student forward Ally Donovan expressed the difficulties the team encountered during the tied game at Stockton, and proved just how resilient these women are as a team. 

“It just showed how much we put in even when people are about to pass out from heat exhaustion, but we still went out there and played to give it our all. We tied them 0-0. But, it was a really good game and we all played really well, given the conditions,” said Donovan.

In their game at Drew University on Sept. 10, the Hawks were back on top with the final score 3-2. 

Down in Newburgh on Sept. 13, the Hawks swept the floor with Mount Saint Mary College 6-1.

On Sept. 16, the Hawks held a green-out game for mental health awareness where they beat Manhattanville College 4-0. Franklin kept the Valiants in check, limiting them to only four shots. 

The Hawks endured their third loss of the season on Sept. 20 at Scranton, 3-1. Donovan reflected on the game, stating that “it was good preparation for some of the top picks of the conference.” 

On Sept. 23, the Hawks hit the road once more, trekking up to Buffalo State where they swept the floor 9-0. Franklin confessed that this “was the best teamwork-based game we have played so far.” 

The men’s soccer team will go head to head with SUNY Plattsburgh on Wednesday, Sept. 27 and SUNY Geneseo on Saturday, Sept. 30, both on the South Turf Field. “So, I think it starts off the field,” said Clancy. “It starts with having the right beliefs. It starts with doing the right things, the right process, training hard every day, competing every day.”

As for Eckberg’s team, he said, “something that has just continued to compound year after year is their connection as a group on and off the field and how they invest in each other and the relationships that they pursue. That only builds stronger bond and connection chemistry on the field.” 

The women’s soccer team will be on the road for the next few games, so they won’t see another home game until they play SUNY Potsdam on the South Turf Field on Oct. 4.