Men's Soccer

Vikings Prepare For Contest Between Nationally Ranked Soccer Squads

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

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Wednesday, October 10, 2001

No. 8 Hudson Valley To Host No. 6 Mohawk Valley At 1 P.M. Saturday

Hudson Valley Community College's men's soccer team, ranked eighth in the nation among Division III junior colleges thanks to a roster full of Section II student-athletes, will host Mohawk Valley Community College, ranked No. 6, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 13.

Due to construction of a minor-league baseball stadium at Hudson Valley, the Mountain Valley Conference game, which will be Hudson Valley's regular-season finale, will be played at Troy's La Salle Institute.

Hudson Valley, who travels to Fulton-Montgomery Community College for a 4 p.m. contest on October 11, is 10-3 overall. Mohawk Valley is 11-2. The NJCAA Division III Region III playoffs, for which both teams should qualify, begin on October 27 at Herkimer County Community College.

"Saturday's game against Mohawk Valley Community College is an important one," said Hudson Valley coach John Meehan. "Not only could this game have some implications as far as playoff seedings go, but every team wants to enter the postseason with momentum on their side."

The Vikings have come up big in big games this season, defeating Michigan's Macomb Community College, then the No. 5 team in the nation, and Broome Community College, then the No. 13 team. There also was a close game against Herkimer Community College, currently ranked first in the nation. That road game, on September 15, was tied at one goal apiece with just 16 minutes left. Herkimer then netted a score on a penalty kick and went on to post a 3-1 victory, but Meehan was encouraged despite the loss.

"We proved we could play with Herkimer," he said. "With just 20 minutes left, Joe Teator (Maple Hill H.S.) hit the crossbar for us. If that kick had gone in, who knows how it would have changed the outcome?"

Balance has been the key to victory for the Vikings this season. Twenty of Hudson Valley's 24 field players (non goalies) have at least one point. And while no one on the club has more than four goals, six players (all from Section II high schools) have between 10 and 14 points. They are: Ian Gass (Guilderland H.S.); Craig Hotaling (Columbia H.S.); Faber Kelly (Saratoga Springs H.S.); Joe Kazukenus (Voorheesville H.S.); Chris Mahigian (Tamarac H.S.); and Teator.

Twenty-three of the 26 players on Hudson Valley's roster hail from Section II high schools. One of the non-Capital Region players – second-year goalkeeper Stanley Kowalczyk (Seminole H.S., Florida) – has had a huge impact, though. Against Division III opponents, Kowalczyk has a 0.9 goals against average. He also has recorded four shutouts.

"My goalie's awesome," Meehan said. "Everybody in Region III wants my goalie. When you need a big save, there he is. He's mentally in the game every second. His intensity is incredible."

Meehan hopes the Vikings can capitalize on their home-field advantage against Mohawk Valley. In home contests in 2001, Hudson Valley has outscored its opponents, 15-1.

"You know what's really made me happy this season?" Meehan said. "There's absolutely no quit in my guys. They never give up."

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.