Men's Soccer Season Recap

Release Date:
November 8, 2011
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

Season Recap

With Hilbert’s first-year coach Jeff Panik leading the way, the men’s soccer program showed real signs of growth as the 2011 season progressed. Though no team is ever satisfied with their final record, unless they win a national championship, coach Panik and his Hawks should be excited about the future of the program. His team played to win games and physically challenged opponents from start to finish. The leadership on and off the field from the four graduating seniors will be missed next season, but their void opens the door for the continued growth in a strong core group of returning players.
Hilbert opened the season with a road game at Keuka College before they returned to Hamburg for a long-stretch of home contests. They struggled to find their 2011 team identity early on but finally understood they were a talented bunch of players if they played focused with a purpose of victory. Wells College, Grove City College, and NAIA Daemen College all took victories on the Hawks’ home field. Against Elmira, the blue and white came storming back late in the game and pushed to the final horn before losing 2-1. Then three days later, cross-town rival Buffalo State escaped with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory to end the Hawk’s home-stand stretch. Hilbert and Morrisville State played to a 2OT tie then the Hawks suffered a road loss to Thiel. In their last non-conference game of the season, Hilbert traveled home from a night game at Alfred University with a shutout loss.
Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) competition began with the 2OT home loss to Pitt-Greensburg in late-September. Franciscan hosted the Hawks in a mud bowl taking the home field advantage to the max.  Pitt-Bradford and D’Youville took away road wins in hard fought games. The Hawks earned their first win of the season at home against Mount Aloysius in a hard fought battle.  In the last four contests (3 away, 1 home), and as the season wound down, the Hawk’s defensive players were constantly on the hot seat facing the offensive push from La Roche, Penn State Behrend, Penn State Altoona and Medaille College. 
Graduating seniors were Ed Heffron, Eric Russell, Scott Walker, and David Walkow. Heffron’s senior season was cut short due to reoccurring concussions and his never-back-down attitude on defense was hard to replace. Russell and Walkow started and played almost every minute of each contest they dressed for their senior year. Their leadership and maturity carried the team over the course of the season. Walker rejoined the team after a year away from soccer and as a back-up goalie earned .703 save percentage his senior year.
Offensive leaders in 2011 were Ed Sarcione who earned 9 points (4g, 1a) followed closely by Russell with 8 points (3g, 2a). Walkow and junior Andy D’Amico each netted one goal and passed for one assist each, just ahead of junior Greg Zitnik who finished with one goal. Juniors James Knapp and goal keeper Kamil Cislak were credited with the teams other assists on the season. 
Hilbert’s midfielder saw most of the action helping on defense and pushing the ball forward to the front line. Sophomores Ed Minkel, Yonis Osman as well as Russell and Walker played many non-stop running games without getting a break.
Defensively, the core players protecting the net were juniors Knapp, Scott Cvetkovski and Tom Cheney, as well as freshman Tyler Coniglio. Cislak finished 1-14-1 with a (.708 save percentage). Walker played in 6 games and took the teams two other losses for the season.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.