Women’s Soccer Kicks Into Gear

Photo provided Brian Savard
Photo provided Brian Savard

The Women’s Soccer team has recently experienced a dramatic series of wins, culminating in a four-game winning streak proving that the lady Hawks are not out of the playoff race.

After starting the season with a mixed batch of wins and losses, the Hawks began stepping up their quality of play according to Head Coach Colleen Bruley. Bruley said the team faced some of the toughest competition early in the season, but once the worst was over, the girls took action and pressed on victoriously.

“All of those games gave us time to learn and figure things out positionally. This all helped us get that first conference win at Fredonia and our confidence just continued to grow from there,” said Bruley.

Second-year goal keeper Stephanie Vega is one player who Bruley described as an athlete who has not only been living up to her team’s expectations, but who has also lifted the team to greatness.

Another such player is second-year forward Shelby Kondelka. Kondelka is the leading scorer for the team, and has been described as a creative player who makes things happen for the Hawks.

“[Kondelka] has made our offense more dangerous than it has been in a few years,” said Bruley.

Second-year forward Katie Oliver has also played her part in the teams success and her comrade on the field. Co-Captain Brittany Benett commended her determination and persistence.

Due to the mixed outcomes of earlier games, future success seemed to be a fleeting hope for the Hawks, but following a tough battle at Buffalo State, the team held a huge team meeting. The meeting would mark a turning point for the Hawks, something they had been waiting for all season.

“They knew that things had to turn around and they came through at the Fredonia game,” Bruley said. “Getting that win gave us the confidence to go on the run of only having one loss in the past six games. It has really given us a lot to believe in.”

Following their victory against Fredonia, other games, such as that against SUNY Brockport helped reinforce the teams high morale, allowing them to push on with confidence.

“That game set the bar for us and it is our goal to play with that level of intensity and skill for the rest of the year,” Benett said.

Third-year Co-Captain Shannon Cobb agreed, stating that the Brockport game allowed the team to realize their potential.

“The team knows how big this coming weekend is and they are looking forward to getting it done.  Once we get there it is a whole new season and anything can happen,” Bruley said.

Even if they don’t succeed, the Hawks still plan to remain steadfast competitors, with each season becoming a valuable learning experience that has only strengthened their bonds.

“I know I will walk away from my final season on [the team] never forgetting the experiences I have had with these girls who have become my best friends… To be able to play with these girls really has been an honor and I want to do the best I can to lead them through the rest  of the season hopefully to that conference championship,” Cobb said.

Burley too feels that the team has only became greater during the season.

“We have learned that this can’t be done by individuals – it must be done together as a team – everyone has a role to play and if we remember that, and play as a team – we can accomplish our goals.”