Men's Soccer

Team Concept Winning Games For Meehan

CONTACT: Jeff Foley or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, September 20, 2000

First-Year Coach Has Hudson Valley's Men's Soccer Team Off To A 3-1 Start

It didn't take first-year Hudson Valley Community College men's soccer coach John Meehan long to find some excitement on the job. The Michigan transplant captured his first two games as a college coach, winning on the road against Paul Smith's College and North Country Community College, and made his home debut against SUNY Morrisville on September 13. The Vikings, looking for their best start in four years, came from behind to tie the score at two goals apiece by the time regulation ended.

Before the start of overtime, Meehan gathered his players in a huddle and looked around at the faces.

"I told them I wanted to win and asked how they felt about going after a goal rather than playing for the counterattack," said Meehan, who was down a player due to a red card. "I don't think there was anybody that said they didn't want to go for the W. That's a confidence booster as a coach."

It also proved to be the right move. Eight minutes into the extra session, Craig Hotaling (Columbia) booted his second goal of the game, giving Hudson Valley a 3-2 victory and improving the Vikings' record to 3-0.

"They wanted to win," Meehan said. "They weren't happy with a tie. So they set a goal and achieved it. They're making team decisions and everybody's a part of it."

Meehan was named 1999 Coach of the Year by the Port Huron Times Herald after guiding Michigan's St. Clair High School's boys' varsity team to a league title. He subscribes to the philosophy that "A star can win any game, but a team can win every game." According to his Hudson Valley players, that attitude is indeed conducive to winning.

"If we don't play as a team and everybody's going their own way, it's not going to work," said defenseman Evan Gilligan (Columbia), one of Hudson Valley's captains and one of just two second-year players on the squad. "When we play well together, you can tell. The ball moves around quickly, we catch people off guard. And that's something Coach does well; everybody knows what their position is. When we play together as a team, we play really well."

The other second-year player, sweeper Don VanPatten (Scotia-Glenville), said Meehan also brings a wealth of positivity to the game.

"If you make a mistake, he won't ridicule you for it as long as you hustle back. If you play your best, he'll just reward you for that."

The Vikings dropped a 2-0 decision to the defending NJCAA Division III national champions, Herkimer County Community College, on September 16, but with a 3-1 record, one thing is certain: Meehan is enjoying his team's fast start.

"When you end up with a group like this, it's nothing but fun," the coach said.

Hudson Valley travels to SUNY Cobleskill for a 4 p.m. matchup on Thursday, September 21.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.