TROY — Early-season success sent the Hudson Valley Community College women’s soccer team to a top-10 national ranking.
Leading that charge? Schalmont graduate Sydnee Metzold, the team’s leading scorer.
“I was really shocked when I heard we were 10th because I wasn’t really paying attention to the stats,” said Metzold, whose team started the season with six consecutive wins and stands at 7-2-1 heading into Sunday’s game at North Country Community College. “I was really focused on winning, [so] when my coach told me, I was not expecting it at all — but I was really excited.”
HVCC was ranked as high as No. 8 before going through a 0-2-1 stretch. HVCC got back on track last weekend with an 8-0 win against Niagara County Community College.
What has been consistent for HVCC, though, has been the starring play of Metzold. The sophomore from Rotterdam leads the team with 18 goals and a dozen assists.
“She’s having a fantastic season,” HVCC head coach Jay Pokines said. “We’re always trying to find ways to get her the ball more and find ways to get her involved in the overall scheme of the game.”
Metzold gives her teammates and coaches a lot of credit for her success, which included her being named NJCAA National and the NJCAA Region 3 Women's Soccer Player of the Week earlier this season.
“It definitely means a lot getting the credit,” Metzold said. “It also means a lot to the team because they are the ones who are setting me up for the plays, passing the ball and looking for me.”
Metzold graduated from Schalmont High School in 2017 and played soccer there for four years.
“I grew up in a community where basically everyone played soccer,” Metzold said. “I’ve grown up with all my friends playing, including [HVCC teammate] Jessica Clifford. We’ve played together for a long time and we kind of just loved it ever since.”
Clifford, who graduated from Schalmont in 2018, has five goals and two assists for the Vikings this season. The connection between Clifford and Metzold on and off the field makes them a perfect duo.
“They have giant chemistry together,” Pokines said. “It’s definitely big to have a couple of players to come from the same high school. [At HVCC], they play for two years and then they’re gone, so it can be hard to develop chemistry with any team, which this one definitely has.”
Pokines has been coaching HVCC women’s soccer for the last 14 seasons and said this team is different from the rest.
“Working with them has been the best part of the season. This has been a fun team to coach,” Pokines said. “They’re very coachable and very soccer-savvy. They understand the game and they’re pushing me to be a better coach.”
“Our team just works so good together,” Clifford said. “Our chemistry [is great], and everyone is friends with each other. It really affects how we play on the field.”
The team isn’t done yet. The goal for the season has yet to be accomplished.
“Their goal is to make nationals,” Pokines said. “If we don’t, they will be devastated.”
Last year, HVCC lost to Herkimer County Community College in the regional finals. This year, HVCC tied them 2-2 in double-overtime during the regular season.
“If we end up playing them again at regionals,” Metzold said, “I really hope we can beat them this time around.”
Jennie Heyward is an intern at The Daily Gazette. Heyward, a senior at the University at Albany, is majoring in journalism.