With a playoff berth on the line, the men’s soccer team will control their own destiny heading into their final two games of the regular season.
The Hawks, who sit in sixth place in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) standings, will host two teams above them, SUNY Fredonia (fourth) and Buffalo State (third), in conference matches Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22, respectively.
With only the top six teams advancing to the SUNYAC Tournament, the Hawks will be guaranteed a spot in the postseason if they win both games.
“If we don’t win both, then it’s relying on other teams,” Hawks head coach Kyle Clancy said. “If we win both, we’re in. So we do control our fate in that aspect. That’s nice to be able to have control of your own destiny.”
For Hawks fourth-year forward Sam Spring said the team is just going to go out and play.
“We don’t really worry too much about where the other teams are in the standings, we just work hard, focus on our game and try and get the three points every game,” he said.
To get to this point, the Hawks matched up against three conference teams during their last four games.
In the midst of a five-game road trip, the Hawks continued conference play. The Hawks drew a 2-2 tie against SUNY Potsdam on Friday, Oct. 7, despite holding a 2-0 lead late in the second half.
Hawks first-year midfielder and defender Coltan Goodwine opened the scoring in the 62nd minute, giving the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes later, fourth-year forward Tucker Stern netted a cross from third-year midfielder Aleco Podias. The Bears would claw back with a goal in the 81st minute to bring the score within one. In the 90th and final minute, Bears fourth-year forward Justin Kellett tallied the equalizer in a scramble in front of the net with one second remaining on the game clock, bringing the game to extra time and ultimately ending in a draw.
During the pair of overtime sessions, the Hawks put up five shots, but could not tally the game-winner.
The following day saw another conference draw for the Hawks, this time a final score of 1-1, as they traveled to SUNY Plattsburgh to take on the Cardinals. Hawks first-year forward Luke Dole headed home a cross from second-year midfielder Manny Flory in the 83rd minute to go ahead 1-0. For Dole, it was his third goal of the season. For the second straight day, the Hawks’ opponent would score the tying goal in the final minutes of the match. During the 89th minute, the Cardinals got on the board, tying the game.
The Hawks returned home to earn a 1-0 conference victory over No. 7 SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, Oct. 15 on South Turf Field. The win was the first for the Hawks against Oneonta since Sept. 18, 2010. Additionally, it was the first defeat over a nationally-ranked opponent since knocking off No. 19 SUNY Plattsburgh 1-0 on Oct. 7, 2011.
Hawks first-year defender James Hennessy registered his first career goal, the lone score of the game, in the 27th minute.
After a string of five straight conference battles, the Hawks drew a scoreless tie with Mount Saint Mary College on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in a nonconference road matchup.
As the Hawks prepare for their matchups against Fredonia and Buffalo State, Clancy said the team will go in having a confident mentality and belief that they can step onto the field knowing they are capable of winning a game, no matter who their opponent may be.
“I think that any team in this conference is good, and any game is going to be a tough game,” Clancy said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Oneonta or if we’re playing Oswego, every team is going to give a good battle. It’s really about being confident when you go out and giving everything that you have.”
• Friday, Oct. 21 vs. SUNY Fredonia at South Turf Field, 3 p.m.
• Saturday, Oct. 22 vs. Buffalo State at South Turf Field, 1 p.m. (Heinz Ahlmeyer, Jr. Game)