Bouncing back from a tough State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) loss against SUNY Geneseo, the Hawks earned a 1-0 victory Tuesday against Stevens Institute of Technology.
The win moves New Paltz to 9-5 on the year. The Hawks will look to boost their 4-1 conference record this weekend, playing against SUNY Oneonta Saturday in the last SUNYAC match of the season.
“It is now or never, and we have an amazing opportunity in front of us,” said fourth-year back Samantha Ackerman. “Bottom line is, we need to leave it all out on the field. We are more than capable of taking another title home.”
In a match with Stevens that featured 116 combined fouls, New Paltz and the Ducks battled throughout the first half for an early lead. With the Hawks not getting their first shot on goal until 12:09, New Paltz’s 29 first half fouls got them in trouble at 14:44 when Stevens earned a penalty shot.
Much like she has all year, first-year goalkeeper Ryan Dowling came up big for the Hawks, making the save to keep the match scoreless.
However, the scare woke up the Hawks, as five minutes later, an Ackerman corner shot set New Paltz up for success. With the ball in the box, the Ducks first-year goalkeeper Emily Franco was able to stop fourth-year forward Serena Capsello’s shot, but was not quick enough, as a deflection in the net by second-year forward Carly Croteau, put the Hawks up, 1-0.
Dowling would fight off five shots on goal throughout the first half to keep her team ahead. It wasn’t until the second half, however, where she had one of her most solid performances of the year to preserve New Paltz’s lead.
With the Ducks racking up 17 corner shots throughout the second half, Dowling made 14 saves on 23 shots. Although New Paltz only had four shots on goal throughout the match, Dowling’s showing led the Hawks to victory, 1-0.
“The win helped bring us back after our SUNYAC loss,” Capsello said. “We tried to fix mistakes, and work on generating attacks and dominating with more possession.
New Paltz’s win comes after this past weekend’s SUNYAC split, beating the College of Brockport 4-3, while losing to SUNY Geneseo, 0-2.
The Hawks jumped on the board early against Brockport, when a scrum in front of the goalkeeper led to a Capsello goal, assisted by third-year forward Kaitlyn Gunter. The Golden Eagles answered at 12:15, tying the match at one off a second-year forward Meaghan Lurz score.
Keeping their offense up throughout the half, a corner shot for the Hawks allowed first-year forward Jessica Ascencao to get on the board, gaining a 2-1 lead for New Paltz on a shot from the top of the circle. The Hawks would finish the first up by that score.
New Paltz continued their quick-pace offense into the second half, extending their lead to two off a Gunter goal at 42:44. Five minutes later, however, Lurz struck again for Brockport, bringing them behind one at 3-2.
Forcing nine shots on goal within the second, the Hawk’s persistent offense found the back of the net once again at 65:12, when Gunter scored her second goal of the match to put them up top, 4-2.
A last minute goal by the Golden Eagles at 68:17 was not enough for Brockport, giving New Paltz the win, 4-3.
The Hawks will finish their SUNYAC schedule Friday against Oneonta, followed by two non-conference matches against Kean University and Vassar College before postseason play.
“Our entire defense has been playing great hockey,” Dowling said. “And defense will be a huge part of getting the win against Oneonta.”