Women’s Soccer Earns First SUNYAC Win

The Hawks will look to finish their last home weekend strong with two matches against SUNY Potsdam and Plattsburgh State. (Photo courtesy of Monica D'Ippolito/Office of Athletic Communications)

The women’s soccer team earned its first State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) win this past weekend, beating the College of Brockport 1-0 Oct. 5, while losing to SUNY Geneseo 0-2 the following day.

The Hawks move to 2-10-1 on the year, and 1-4-1 in conference. With SUNY Geneseo holding first-place in the SUNYAC at 6-0, New Paltz’s head coach Mike Eckberg was pleased with his team’s performance this weekend.

“I believe our match against Geneseo was a testament to the team’s ability to compete day in and day out, regardless of who our opponent is,” Eckberg said. “It was exciting to celebrate a short moment of success this year, given the degree of adversity this team has faced.”

With little action until ten minutes into the first half against Brockport, the Golden Eagles applied pressure first, forcing two third-year goalkeeper Angela Ratka saves within three minutes of each other. The Hawks answered by subbing in third-year forward Nicole Sheintul and fourth-year forward Alicia Fanni.

Eckberg’s move proved to pay off, as Sheintul quickly impacted the match by serving a ball to second-year forward Monika Morasse, finding the back of the net for her first goal of the season and a 1-0 New Paltz lead.

The goal would be the Hawks last shot on goal throughout the rest of the half, as Brockport persistently attempted to find the scoresheet. The Golden Eagles would accumulate six more shots at Ratka, never scoring to end the half at 1-0 New Paltz.

At 60:38 in the second half, a Brockport corner kick caused a scare for the Hawks. Another Ratka save, however, preserved the lead. With the Golden Eagles only finding Ratka four times in the second compared to eight in the first, the Hawks found the net three times themselves, but never finding the scoresheet again.

With Brockport desperately trying to put one past Ratka, a last-minute shot in the 90th minute by the Golden Eagles sailed high over the goal post, giving New Paltz their first SUNYAC win of the season.

“We have shown all year that we can put up a fight against high level teams,” Sheintul said. “This win gave us the confidence that we can compete with any team in the SUNYAC if we execute tactically as a team, and work hard on an individual level.”

The Hawks came back the next day hungry, staying in contention with SUNYAC leader Geneseo.

The Knights asserted their dominance quickly in the first half, when their offensive pressure led to a header goal by second-year forward Miranda Ozimek, assisted by fourth-year midfielder Caitie Cunningham, giving them an early 1-0 advantage.

Second-year goalkeeper Megan Tornatore grabbed five saves for the Hawks in the half, while Geneseo racked up four corner kicks. The Hawks could never find a shot on goal, however, ending the half, 1-0 Knights.

Although New Paltz’s offense continued to lack into the second, the defense stood its ground against Geneseo, keeping the half scoreless 25 minutes in. At 71:51, the Knights struck again, raising their lead to two with a goal by fourth-year midfielder Ashley Byrne.

The Hawks first shots on goal in the 81st minute were stopped, holding as their last chance in the match. Geneseo raised its undefeated SUNYAC record to 6-0, winning, 2-0.

“One thing about SUNY New Paltz women’s soccer is that we do not back down from challenges,” said fourth-year midfielder Raven Blake. “We have to continue to take risks, and refuse to back down from our battles.”

New Paltz will return to action at home Friday, Oct. 12, against SUNY Potsdam. They will play Plattsburgh State the following day; their last home match of the season.