The Women’s Soccer team opened their season with two shutout victories on their home turf over the weekend.
On Saturday, Aug. 30, the Lady Hawks earned a 1-0 non-conference victory over Skidmore College. Third-year forward Chelsea Weir scored the lone goal of the game for the Lady Hawks, securing the win. First-year goalkeeper Katelyn Cordero made three saves in her first collegiate match to shut out the Lady Thoroughbreds.
On Sunday, Aug. 31, the Lady Hawks defeated SUNY Cobleskill 6-0 in the final game of the fourth-annual Michelle Vargas-Robin Memorial Tournament, a tournament dedicated to a woman who played soccer at New Paltz in the early 1990s.
Three goals in the first 22 minutes of action was just the start of a slew of goals scored by the Lady Hawks. Third-year midfielder Kristina Gandolfo netted a hat trick, scoring goals in the 17th, 56th and 65th minutes. Weir, first-year midfielder Danielle Grossi and second-year forward Sophie Constantino scored the final three goals for the Lady Hawks.
The goalkeeping duties were split between Cordero and second-year goalkeeper Ashley Rivera.
Weir, who ranks as a top goal-scorer thus far, said that these wins will propel the team into a very productive season.
“It definitely proved to us and to everyone else that we can have a very successful season this year,” she said. “We worked so hard during preseason and we all knew that we had to come out really strong in order to be recognized as a threat on the field.”
Head Coach Colleen Bruley said the start to the season is a complete turnaround from last year’s record of 3-11-4.
“We have a completely new positive feel to the program and to what we’ve been doing,” she said. “We’re definitely prepared, definitely more than we were last year. We filled some holes with some recruiting that has really helped as well.”
Another addition to the Lady Hawks is new Assistant Coach, Nicole Paulucci, who the team calls ‘Cubby’,” Bruley said.
“[Paulucci] has been an amazing addition as well,” Bruley said. “She’s one of the most positive people we’ve ever met. She has a smile on her face constantly. The girls love her. She’s closer in age to them, so it’s been great to have that liaison to the students as I’m getting older. She knows her stuff and we could not be more happy and could not have chosen a better assistant.”
Fourth-year Captain Eleni Anselmi wants to end her final season as a Lady Hawk on a high note.
“Speaking for myself and my fellow seniors, this is our last season to play soccer competitively and as a part of a team,” she said. “We want to make this our best season yet, no matter what happens. We just want to leave it all out there on the field one last time. As a team, we are clicking better than we ever have before.”
Weir said that with all the comraderie present in this season’s team, they believe they can mount a comeback from last season’s sub-par record.
“We wanted to come back this year and prove to everyone that we are extremely talented and that we will be a major competitor in the games to come,” Weir said. “We are a family this year and we only focus on one day at a time. We believe in ourselves, but more importantly we believe in each other and we know that our team can be unstoppable.”
Up next for the Lady Hawks is the Rutgers-Newark Tournament this weekend. The Lady Hawks and Brooklyn College play on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 1 p.m. They then take on Rutgers-Newark on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. to wrap-up the two-game tournament.
“As I told the girls, ‘We still haven’t done anything yet,’” Bruley said. “There’s a long ways to go and a lot of learning to do. We’re definitely excited and they feel good.”