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
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
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