Men's Soccer

Road Trip Helps Vikings Climb In Rankings And Build Team Unity

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or (518) 373-1262

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, September 11, 2001

Hudson Valley's Men's Soccer Team Moves Up To No. 8 In Country

The recent weekend trip taken to Michigan by Hudson Valley Community College's men's soccer team was a success on several levels.

First, the Vikings earned a confidence-building September 8 victory against the No. 5 NJCAA Division III squad in the country. Hudson Valley, a preseason Honorable Mention selection on the Division III coach's poll, got 21 saves from Stanley Kowalczyk (Seminole H.S., Florida) and a goal from Joe Kazukenus (Voorheesville H.S.) to post a 1-0 win over Macomb Community College, host of the Macomb Soccer Tournament.

The loss dropped Macomb, who has been to the final four of the NJCAA Division III championship tournament each of the last two years, to Honorable Mention status on the most recent coach's poll, released on September 10. With the victory, the Vikings ascended to No. 8 in the nation.

"What I was most impressed with is that the win came the day after an eight-and-a-half-hour bus ride," said John Meehan, Hudson Valley's second-year head coach. "And Stanley Kowalczyk made a save that I can still see vividly in my mind. Macomb had a direct kick from 22 yards away. It was a good shot; all I saw through a mass of bodies was the ball heading toward the corner of the goal and then a hand knocking it into the post. It was a great save by Stanley. That effectively saved the game for us."

Secondly, Hudson Valley came away from the trip with a heightened sense of team unity.

"At a community college with no dorm life, you need a trip like this," Meehan said. "It allows the players to learn more about each other. They get to spend time together off the field and see each other in a different light. I'm a big believer in having my team go away early in the year."

Faber Kelly (Saratoga Springs H.S.) provided the assist on Kazukenus's game-winning goal, dribbling into the corner before passing to Kazukenus in front of the Macomb net. Kelly then scored Hudson Valley's only goal in the tournament's championship game, against Division I Schoolcraft College on September 9.

Kelly tallied with 15 minutes gone in the second half, cutting Schoolcraft's lead to 2-1. The Vikings could get no closer, however, and Schoolcraft, ranked 11th among Division I schools (Division I schools offer athletic scholarships while Division III schools, like Hudson Valley, do not), triumphed, 5-1.

"I was still very pleased with our effort," Meehan said. "My guys were hustling the entire game – they never quit. What that game made us realize is that even after a big win against a tough team, we can't get too complacent. There are always other tough teams out there."

Hudson Valley defensemen Chris Mahigian (Tamarac H.S.) and Dan DiFiore (Averill Park H.S.) were named to the Macomb Soccer Tournament All-Star team.

Hudson Valley plays next at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12, traveling to SUNY Morrisville for a Mountain Valley Conference matchup with SUNY Morrisville's Mustangs.

In the 2000-01 academic year, Hudson Valley's athletic teams combined to win 72 percent of their contests. The ice hockey team won the NJCAA championship, the baseball team earned a berth in the NJCAA World Series and the football team won the Region III title. The women's basketball team earned a No. 1 national ranking and turned in a 24-3 record while the men's hoop squad competed in the Region III championship game. Additionally, two Vikings earned Region III Player-of-the-Year status, 20 were named All-Region III performers, and 10 were honored with All-American status.