Field Hockey Closes Conference Play

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The field hockey team finished State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play with a pair of wins against SUNYAC opponents after losing a nonconference game.

On Saturday, Oct. 10 the Hawks lost to No. 7 William Smith College by a score of 4-1 in a nonconference matchup. Second-year forward Hannah Wood scored all four goals for the Herons, a single-game career-high for Wood.

New Paltz held a 15-13 advantage in shots and a 6-2 cushion in penalty corners in a losing effort. Second-year forward Sam Eberle scored the lone goal for the Hawks and third-year forward Kayla McKeveny was credited with an assist on the goal.  Fourth-year goalkeeper Alayna Wageman and second-year goalkeeper Megan Gangewere combined for four saves in the loss for the Hawks.

Hawks Head Coach Shanna Vitale believes that the loss wasn’t because William Smith College was the better team, but because of some costly errors by the Hawks.

“They took away [from the loss] the importance of being aware of the entire field during the match and to make sure that they’re communicating to each other about the shifts that need to be done defensively to making sure that they are aware of their marks,” Vitale said. “They also took away that we were more than capable of playing a much better game and we’re able to play at that level no matter what. Even though we did lose it was because of some errors, not because William Smith was a better team than us.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 14 the Hawks notched a 4-0 Catskill Cup Victory over SUNY Oneonta. This was a rematch of last year’s SUNYAC Tournament semifinal round, which the Hawks won 3-2 on Nov. 5, 2014. The win improved the team’s home record to 7-0 for the season.

Hawks fourth-year co-Captain Dani Ackerman led the offense as she notched a match-high seven shots, all of which were on goal and one reached the back of the net. Hawks fourth-year co-Captain Jessica Caruana fired off six shots, scored a goal, was credited with an assist on a goal by third-year forward Erin Landy and tallied a defensive save in the win. Second-year forward Justine O’Reilly also scored a goal for the Hawks. Wageman notched three saves and recorded her third shutout of the season.

“The win against Oneonta was huge,” Ackerman said. “We needed to win that game in order to secure a higher seed in the SUNYAC Tournament. This is another team we could see in the postseason, so we must be prepared to beat them again. Oneonta has always been a tough competitor for us, so it felt awesome to dominate against them and really capitalize on our strengths as a team.”

On Saturday, Oct. 17 the Hawks defeated Morrisville State in their final SUNYAC game of the season by a score of 5-0. The Hawks finished the regular season with a 5-1 record in conference play and have clinched the No. 2 seed in the conference.

McKeveny scored three goals in the victory, marking a single-game career-high. It also is tied for the fourth-most goals scored in a single game in program history. O’Reilly and first-year forward Rachel McLaughlin each scored a goal for the Hawks as well. Wageman and Gangewere notched two saves in the win.

On Monday, Oct. 19 Wageman was named SUNYAC Field Hockey Defensive Player of the Week and McKeveny was named SUNYAC Field Hockey Offensive Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Oct. 18. This is the fourth time this season, and the sixth time in her career that Wageman has received this honor. This marks the second time that McKeveny has received this honor, her first time coming on Nov. 11, 2013 following the SUNYAC Tournament.

Following the game against Morrisville State, Ackerman had 94 points in her collegiate career, which was just one point behind Danielle Conklin for the program record. Earlier this season, Ackerman passed Conklin to become the program’s all-time leader in goals scored.

“I try not to think about breaking the record too much,” Ackerman said. “What is important is playing my game and doing everything in my power to help get my team to where we need to be. The way I see it is, if I play hard and do the simple things right, I will reach this achievement. I try to keep a level head, sometimes coming up with that big tackle or making that crucial pass are just as instrumental as putting the ball in the goal.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 21 the Hawks lost to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by a score of 2-1, dropping their overall record to 12-4. This is the first game the Hawks have lost at home this season.

Ackerman scored the lone goal for the Hawks, passing Conklin as the program’s all-time leader in points.

The Hawks’ next game will be their last home game of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. on the North Turf Field against Kean University.