The Hawks are flying forward.
After a comeback tie against SUNY Buffalo State on Oct. 22, the women’s soccer team clinched the No. 2 seed of the SUNYAC Tournament which starts on Saturday, Oct. 29. The team won their match against SUNY Fredonia on Oct. 21 by a score of 2-0, enabling them to possibly clinch the No. 1 seed in the tournament and hosting the championship game at home.
Saturday’s game saw the Hawks down 2-0 against Buffalo State at the half. Women’s Head Coach Colleen Bruley said the team needed to start “playing to their ability.”
“I wouldn’t be upset with them if I didn’t think that they could do it, but I knew that they weren’t playing to the best of their ability, and I know that they knew it as well,” said Bruley. “It was more of us getting together and us realizing that we weren’t playing the best to our ability. After that, they just came out and they were on fire. You could sense the momentum shifting.”
The team came back in the second half with a goal coming from first-year forward Samantha Abravanel and another goal coming from third-year midfielder Beth Bowling, who had also clocked in the lone goal against SUNY Oneonta on Oct. 18. The game went into double overtime with no extra goals, even though Bruley felt the win was within reach.
“I’ve never really had a team do that to be fair, and they did,” said Bruley. “And then we had a couple chances. To get that first goal, then it was like, it’s a matter of time before that second goal and a possible third go in.”
The goal came in with 12 minutes left in regulation, leaving third-year goalkeeper Stephanie Vega ecstatic.
“I’m amazed and blown away,” Vega said after the game. “We were down 2-0 at halftime and we came back full throttle and just finished what we need to finish.”
With the tie, the Hawks automatically earned a spot in the semi-final match of the tournament, which they will play against either SUNY Brockport or Fredonia. The Hawks have defeated Fredonia the past two seasons with shut-out victories, while the Hawks fell to Brockport during an overtime loss earlier this season.
“We lost to Brockport earlier in the year, so that’s who I think everyone wants to face,” said Bruley. “It was horrible conditions on a bad field when we went up there and played them and the kids just want to redeem themselves and they want to get that win against Brockport.”
In the time the team has off, they will be dedicating their practice time to fitness training before they know who they will match up against. Bruley said the team will know the style that they’re up against, and she will focus on the other teams’ style of play during next week’s practices.
After Satuday’s match against Buffalo State, it was evident that the team was excited and ready for the upcoming challenges.
“I feel great, I know the team is very excited,” said Bowling. “We worked really hard all season for it, so hopefully we can go into this tournament and come out on top.”
The team will compete at Alumni Field on Nov. 2, where home field advantage will give the team a leg up over their competitors, according to Bruley.
With 10 shutouts on the season, Vega said she is confident that the team will do well come match time.
“I’m ready, I feel like we’re ready,” said Vega. “I think we’ve proven to a lot of people this season that we’re ready and we’re pretty excited.”
Bruley said she is happy and comfortable with where the team stands, but knows the road ahead is still going to be challenging.
“It’s nice to be able to relax right now and just kind of breathe and enjoy sitting in second for a week and a half. No one can take that away from us” said Bruley. “We’re happy with where we are right now, but it’s not over yet.”