The Huguenots are headed into unfamiliar territory later this week, and they couldn't be happier.
After Monday's 2-0 victory over Goshen in the Section 9 Class A final, the New Paltz High School boys soccer team will take on Section 4 champion Maine-Endwell on Friday to start the state playoffs for the first time in program history.
"I have to give them time to really absorb this and let it soak in," coach Stuart Robinson said moments after Monday's win at Faller Field in Middletown, which will host Friday's regional matchup at 2 p.m. "We'll get back at it (today) because we don't want this to end."
New Paltz, seeded third in the Section 9 tournament, will be bolstered by Monday's win against the four-time defending champs.
"We respected Goshen coming into the game because they've won seven of the last eight sectional titles," said Robinson, "but we also believed in ourselves."
The Huguenots (10-3-2) played the Gladiators (11-5-2) to a scoreless tie in the first half. Freshman Will Cymbal broke through for the first goal of the day, filling the net 9:52 into the second half and giving his team an emotional lift.
"The whole team wanted the game to end right there," Robinson said with a laugh. "We knew whichever team got the first goal would have some momentum."
Indeed, just 4:45 later, Cymbal added an insurance goal to propel the Huguenots into regional play.
"This was something they never thought was possible a few years ago," Robinson said. "During the season, though, they started believing in themselves and they knew they could be successful."