By Greg Allen
NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz women’s soccer team picked up its third win of the season Saturday in a 4-1 victory over Mount Saint Vincent. The win gives the Hawks more wins through eight games than they had all of last season, and keeps them unbeaten on the South Turf Field.
“Winning back-to-back games feels very rewarding,” Hawks freshman defender Jess Funke said. “It’s a great feeling going forward as a team considering all the work we’ve put in since preseason.”
SUNY New Paltz got the scoring started early when freshman Ally Donovan crossed the ball into the box and connected with an attacking Dana Salinas. Initially Salinas tried to score off the volley, but the shot was denied. The rebound popped straight up into the air and the freshman was able to head the ball into the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
The Hawks were up 1-0 just six minutes into the game.
“I saw that [Donovan] was going to cross it, and I really wanted it,” Salinas said. “So I went in with everything and attacked it, and then I was able to score it.”
Hawks coach Mike Eckberg emphasized the importance of scoring an early goal right before kick off. His team answered his call.
“Usually when we start with a lot of intensity in the first five minutes, that’s when we do our best because everyone is pushing,” Salinas said.
The score stayed 1-0 for the next 26 minutes of play, as both teams struggled to gain offensive momentum. That was until Hawks senior Alex Wild fired a beautifully placed cross that found the body of freshman Siena Diaz-Colon. The ball ricocheted off Diaz-Colon toward the far post and snuck into the net, giving the Hawks a two-goal advantage.
SUNY New Paltz appeared to be in control after its second goal, but right before the half, Mount Saint Vincent converted a set piece to cut the Hawks lead to one heading into halftime.
The Hawks’ third goal came in the 78th minute when the Dolphins miscued and put the ball into their own net. With less than 15 minutes to play and a two-goal lead, SUNY New Paltz regained control, but Wild wanted to add some insurance. In the 90th minute, the senior scored her third goal of the season on a sliding shot that got past the Dolphins’ keeper.
SUNY New Paltz out-shot Mount Saint Vincent 24-6. Fourteen of its 24 shots were on target, and the Hawks took eight corner kicks. Hawks goalie Megan Tornatore picked up three saves.
“This win gives us more energy and confidence heading into the SUNYAC schedule,” Funke said. “We’re going to have to endure through the real tough games, so this is making us ready.”