The New Paltz women’s soccer team concluded their season on a high note, capturing victories against State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) rivals SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State at home this past weekend.
The team finished the season with a 6-11-1 overall record, while going 2-6-1 in conference matches.
Despite missing the SUNYAC tournament, head coach Mike Eckberg said they have a strong foundation upon which they will look to build for next season.
“This weekend, we were more sophisticated on the attack than we have been all season,” he said. “Friday against Fredonia was the first time we responded and saw results after being scored on first.”
The team was 0-10 in games where they were scored on first before their victory against Fredonia. They had also dropped five straight games, including an 8-0 beatdown at the hands of Oneonta.
The Blue Devils lit the lamp first just over 15 minutes into the game, but New Paltz tightened their defense up, allowing Fredonia to put just six more shots on net.
Fourth-year midfielder Gabriela Cabello evened the game up at 35 minutes after taking a slight touch around Fredonia’s goaltender to light the lamp.
Two seconds later, fourth-year forward Danielle Grossi put a ball inside the box which deflected off a Fredonia defender and into the net. This would prove to be the game-winning goal.
Grossi later set up an insurance goal for the Hawks when she found fourth-year defenseman Julia Friedman, who tucked in her second goal of the season.
Overall, the Hawks outshot Fredonia 17-10 including 9-6 on target, while besting them in corner kicks 5-2.
Second-year goalie Angela Ratka and fourth-year goalie Katelyn Cordero combined to make five saves in net.
Eckberg said what he saw this weekend is important to build off of for next year.
“We have really implemented our style of play and the freshman through seniors have brought in,” Eckberg said. “We have really started to see improvement in every facet of the game.”
The following day, the Hawks came away with another 3-1 victory, this time against Buffalo State on Senior Day.
Grossi, Cabello, Cordero, Friedman, Jackie Donaldson-Hawkins, Monica Rouse and Shaye Alviene were all honored before the game.
The team matched Buffalo State’s physicality tit for tat before New Paltz ultimately lit the lamp first in the 40th minute.
After a pass from first-year midfielder Jessica Levinson to first-year midfielder Kaitlyn Connolly, the latter found first-year forward Monika Morasse who found the back of the net on a one-time shot.
Buffalo State tied the game at the 71st minute, but Cabello answered back with the game winning goal nearly three minutes later on a ball that skimmed the goaltender, but got through.
Cabello put the biscuit in the basket yet again 77 minutes in, her sixth of the season.
Buffalo State bested New Paltz in shots 17-13, but attempts on frame were even at seven. Ratka and Cordero again split time in net and had three saves each.
For the Hawks, it was the first weekend where they captured consecutive wins in conference since 2014.
“To win back-to-back games is a remarkable accomplishment,” Eckberg said. “Everyone in the program should be proud of that. This conference isn’t very forgiving, so the players get all the credit.
Eckberg concluded by thanking the seniors for all their contributions to the program and is excited for the future.
“We have a really good core of players coming back and we are excited to work with that core in the spring,” he said.