Field Hockey Continues Strong Start

Photo by Raechel Manzler.

The field hockey team currently sits atop the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) standings with a 5-1 record in non-conference games.

The Hawks started their season strong, as they won their first four games of the season.

After the 1-0 season opening victory against Western Connecticut State on Tuesday, Sept. 1 the team traveled to Utica, New York to compete in the Utica Tournament. The Hawks won both games in the tournament.

The first win came on Saturday, Sept. 5, a 4-2 victory against St. Lawrence University. During the game Hawks fourth-year co-Captain Dani Ackerman became the program’s all-time leader in goals scored.

“It’s not a surprise that Dani is the all-time leading goal scorer,” Hawks Head Coach Shanna Vitale said. “She is the hardest working and most dedicated person that I know. She is talented, but it didn’t happen overnight. She is great at everything she does because she puts the time into it.”

D. Ackerman entered the game just one goal behind her former teammate Danielle Conklin for the program’s leader in goals scored. D. Ackerman and Conklin played together for two seasons from 2012 to 2013.

“Becoming the program’s all-time leader in goals scored is something I would never have imagined coming in as a freshman just a few years ago,” D. Ackerman said. “This achievement is very rewarding and continues to remind me that anything is possible if you put heart and hustle behind it.”

Conklin is also the program’s all-time leader in points with 95, and D. Ackerman will likely pass that mark as she currently has 91 points in her career.

“Danielle Conklin is one of the most talented attackers I have ever played with,” D. Ackerman said. “She has taught me so much and I cannot thank her enough for that. Danielle has always been that player I looked to learn from. Her talent has helped bring our program to a new level. I’ll never forget after ending our season in the NCAA Tournament her senior year, she said to me ‘I can’t wait to see you break all my re-

cords.’ Ever so humbly she serves as my role model every day when I step onto the field. Playing by her side was an honor.”

Just 2:05 into the game, D. Ackerman tied the record thanks to an assist by Hawks first-year midfielder Samantha Ackerman, Dani’s younger sister. Later in the game, D. Ackerman scored career goal 36 to stand alone as the program’s all-time leader.

“Having my sister assist me in my record tying goal is something I will never forget,” D. Ackerman said. “I am so happy to spend my last season playing alongside my sister, who has supported me endlessly in my journey of becoming the player I am today. It was not until I spoke to my dad, ‘the stat-master,’ that I became aware that I had tied and broke the record within that game.”

Third-year forward Kayla McKeveny also scored two goals in the game and second-year goalkeeper Megan Gangewere notched five saves in the victory.

Then on Sunday, Sept. 6 the Hawks defeated host Utica College by a score of 4-1. McKeveny scored two goals in the

match again to lead the team to victory.

Hawks second-year forward Sam Eberle notched her first goal of the season and first-year forward Serena Capsello contributed with her first goal of her collegiate career. Fourth-year goalkeeper Alayna Wageman tallied 14 saves in the win.

The Hawks then played their home opener on Wednesday, Sept. 9 and stunned No. 11 Montclair State University with a 2-1 victory. It was the first time in program history that the Hawks defeated a nationally-ranked team in the regular season and also the first time the Hawks defeated Montclair State. The Hawks had previously been defeated by the Red Hawks in 13 straight matches.

“The Montclair game was an emotional game,” Hawks fourth-year co-Captain Jessica Caruana said. “For many of us this has been the team every year that we strive to beat. To overcome it really boosted our confidence overall as a team. It was a true test of what hard work looks like and what it means to be a part of this team.”

S. Ackerman opened the scoring with her first goal in her collegiate career, and McKeveny added a goal of her own. Wageman recorded seven saves and held the Red Hawks to one goal despite the fact that Montclair State held a 16-4 advantage in shots and a 13-7 advantage in penalty corners.

The Hawks then lost their first game of the season, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of No. 20 University of Rochester on Saturday, Sept. 12.

The Yellowjackets scored all three of their goals in the first half. The Hawks held an 8-1 advantage in shots in the second half and a 16-14 advantage overall. The team also held a 9-6 cushion in penalty corners but it was not enough.

“The second half we turned it on, but it was too late because they already had three goals under their belt,” Vitale said. “There’s no reason why we can’t play like that for all 70 minutes of the game.”

First-year forward Rachel McLaughlin recorded the lone Hawk goal in the game, the first of her collegiate career. Wageman notched six saves in a losing effort. The win improved the Yellowjacket’s record to 4-0.

On Tuesday, Sept. 15 the Hawks defeated Union College by a score of 6-0. The Hawks dominated the whole match as they outshot the Dutchwomen 33-0 and held a 29-0 advantage in penalty corners.

Caruana led the offense with two goals and seven shots on her birthday. S. Ackerman, Capsello, McKeveny and McLaughlin tallied a goal each as well. The win improved the team’s record to 5-1.

“The win against Union College was big for us,” D. Ackerman said. “We cannot play down to any team we face. There is a consistency in our play that we are striving to achieve as we go forward with our season. We must outwork every opponent in training and competition. This will bring us to the top.”

The Hawks will next play Skidmore College on Saturday, Sept. 19. The Thoroughbreds enter the matchup with a perfect 3-0 record.

“Skidmore is extremely talented and they have some really strong players,” Vitale said. “But we need to realize that we are more than capable of playing at their level. We’re capable of doing well in order to create chaos on their side of the field and not ours.”

The Hawks will then open up SUNYAC play when they face SUNY Oswego on Friday, Sept. 25.