The Women’s soccer team opened up State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play over the weekend by splitting a pair of games.
First, the team lost to SUNY Cortland by a score of 2-0 on Friday, Sept. 25.
The Red Dragons scored the first goal of the game in the 62nd minute when first-year midfielder Sam Barringer found the back of the net. Less than a minute later, first-year forward Amanda Profera scored a goal of her own to put Cortland up 2-0, which would be the final score of the game.
“We played okay,” Hawks Head Coach Colleen Bruley said. “We had a minute and 27 seconds where we gave up two stupid goals. But they felt okay and I was okay because we played really well other than those two minutes. We did some good things and we have been building and getting better every day.”
Cortland held a 16-4 advantage in shots but New Paltz had a 6-5 cushion in penalty kicks. Hawks third-year co-Captain Sloane Lipshie led the team with two shots, one of which was on goal. Hawks second-year midfielder Danielle Grossi had a shot on goal as well and Hawks fourth-year co-Captain Kristina Gandolfo contributed with a shot. Hawks third-year goalkeeper Mikaela Stiklickas played all 90 minutes and notched eight saves in the losing effort.
Then on Saturday, Sept. 26 the Hawks defeated SUNY Oswego by a score of 1-0. It was the team’s first win since their 4-1 season opening victory against Purchase College on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
“The win against Oswego was huge,” Hawks fourth-year co-Captain Allie Festa said. “We needed that to get the spirits up on this team and really get us going. It’s a great feeling to win.”
Bruley couldn’t stress enough how big the win was for a team that was really struggling.
“That win was bigger than any SUNYAC win other than our championship year [of 2011],” she said. “It was more of a mental win for us, we just had to get over that barrier. The team has been really close through it all even though we struggled. We faced the adversity together and I kept telling them ‘it’s going to come, it’s going to come’ and finally it did. It was like a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. It was great.”
Second-year defender Julia Friedman scored the lone goal of the game at the 56th minute mark for the Hawks. This was the first goal the Hawks scored since third-year forward Kara Butzke scored the team’s lone goal in a 5-1 loss against Ramapo College on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Oswego outshot New Paltz 16-8 and held an 8-1 advantage in corner kicks in a losing effort.
Hawks second-year forward Gabriela Cabello and fourth-year midfielder Chelsea Weir led the Hawks with two shots each. One of Weir’s shots was on goal, and she was also credited with an assist on Friedman’s goal. Hawks third-year midfielders Skye Kaler and Hannah Moran, and second-year defender Monica Rouse each fired off a shot on goal as well. Stiklickas notched six saves and earned her first win and shutout as a Hawk.
While the Hawks currently have a 2-8 overall record, the team has a 1-1 record in conference play. The team is hoping to build off of their win and play well in their remaining SUNYAC games, Gandolfo said.
“Winning against Oswego really gave us the opportunity to show ourselves and the rest of the conference that we have the ability to compete,” she said. “We have a lot of talent on this team and now we have to build upon the confidence we gained in order to succeed.”
The team will begin a four-game road trip when they face off against SUNY Geneseo on Friday, Oct. 2. Despite the difficulty of traveling, Festa doesn’t view it as an excuse for her team.
“Honestly traveling isn’t the easiest thing, we have to come prepared and be ready to go both mentally and physically,” Festa said. “There are no excuses just because we are traveling, every team has to travel. It’s how you play and show up to a game that proves who wants [to win].”