It has been a while since Hudson Valley soccer had a successful season, as the women’s team hasn’t won a conference championship since 1992. However, it has been even longer for the men’s team: their last conference championship occurred over 50 years ago, in 1963. Even though it has been a long drought for both teams, so far in the 2015 season they have showed signs of breaking out of this slump, as each team has won 3 of their first 4 games.
For the first two games of the regular season, each team participated in the Northeast Cup in the final weekend of August. Both the men’s and women’s teams had successful trips. The men’s team split the two games in the cup, dropping the first game to Brookdale 2-1 and then bouncing back, winning the second game in tournament against Holyoke, 4-0.
“I feel a little bad about that first one [loss]. We dropped to a team in New Jersey, but I think they ended up in the national rankings now and we could have got them too, we could have beaten them,” said men’s soccer coach Travis Cooke about splitting the two games in the Northeast Cup.
The women’s team was a step ahead in the Northeast Cup. They won both games they played, defeating Cayuga in the first game 4-1 and defeating Tompkins Cortland Community College in the second game 1-0.
“It feels pretty good. We got our two powerhouses up top [teammates Danielle Sloan and Elisabeth Morehouse] and we really utilized their speed and endurance,” said second-year midfielder Renee Casey on getting off to a good start.
After playing their first two regular season games in the Northeast Cup, both teams have played two more games up to this point, one on the road and one at home. In a doubleheader last Wednesday in Finger Lakes, the women’s team dropped their first game to Finger Lakes 3-0, while the men’s team won their second game in a row by defeating Finger Lakes 5-2 to put both Hudson Valley teams’ records at 2-1.
“Even the game that we lost, we could have won, so we feel pretty confident,” said sophomore defender Emily Mitchell.
After the games at Finger Lakes came Hudson Valley’s first home doubleheader, last Saturday afternoon against Corning. The women’s team started off the day on a very good note, as they defeated Corning 8-2 after falling behind 2-0 early in the game.
“Those two goals should not have happened. So we kind of put our heads up, looked at each other and [were] like, What is going on? Realized that this isn’t the team we know we are, and played like we should,” said Casey on coming back from an early 2-0 deficit.
Hudson Valley scored eight unanswered goals on Corning. Five of them came from freshman forward Elisabeth Morehouse, and the other three came from another freshman forward, Danielle Sloan.
“We work well together. Dani and I have that connection, and we are good buddies,” said Morehouse on the hat tricks by her and teammate Danielle Sloan.
Morehouse and Sloan have each been coming up big for the Vikings so far this season, as Morehouse already has eight goals in just four games while her good buddy Sloan has five goals. These two freshmen have combined to score all 13 goals for the Vikings women’s soccer team so far this season, which is a huge reason why this team has won 3 of their first 4 games.
The men’s soccer team also had a good day last Saturday, defeating Corning with a final score of 5-1 after the Vikings fell behind 1-0 early. It was a very good day for Hudson Valley goalie Joshua Rasmussen, as he allowed no goals after letting one get in within the first ten minutes of the game.
“The goalie Josh Rasmussen has been a key player for us so far,” said men’s coach Cooke.
While Rasmussen was making saves in the net, his teammates gave him a lead to work with after trailing 1-0 early. Freshman forward Adam Kaarstad scored two goals during the afternoon, giving him four goals over the first four games of the season. Teammates Nicholas Petschko, Elidon Bardhollari and Roodley Dorce each had one goal in the game, giving the Vikings a 5-1 victory and a 3-1 overall record.
“We are still learning our identity here. It’s a brand new team basically every other year, so we are really trying to see how guys fit in. [There are] some small-school guys, some club-heavy-based guys, so everybody’s just trying to fit in together, and we are doing it, too,” said Cooke on the first four games of the season.
Overall, it has been a strong first four games for both the men’s and women’s soccer teams, and they look to build on this solid start throughout the remainder of the season.