Field Hockey Cruises into SUNYAC Play

Fourth-year forward Serena Capsello is currently tied for fourth on the team in goals with three. (Photo courtesy of Todd Gunter/Office of Communication and Marketing)

The field hockey team enters their first two-game weekend of State University of New York (SUNYAC) play, coming off of an impressive conference win this past Saturday, beating Morrisville State College (1-7 overall, 0-3 SUNYAC) 7-1 in their first SUNYAC match of the season.

The win pushed the Hawks to 5-4 on the year, while giving them a strong push into the conference-play portion of the campaign.

“We’re making significant strides to move in the right direction,” said New Paltz head coach Shanna Szablinksi. “I think this win builds confidence that our team can play at an elite level, and leaves them hungry to capitalize on opportunities during conference play.”

The Hawks scored early and often on Sept. 29 against the Mustangs, finding the back of the net within the first five minutes off a third-year forward Kaitlyn Gunter goal, her second on the year. Gunter would later score again at 11:30, coming off an assist from second-year forward Carly Croteau.

At 14:45, third-year forward Sophia Urrutia boosted the Hawks lead to three, as she scored off a pass from first-year back Jessica Ascencao. New Paltz continued to attack throughout the period, but could not find the scoresheet again, ending the first at 3-0, Hawks.

Morrisville came out hungry in the second period, scoring within three minutes of the half off a second-year midfielder Heather Cummings goal, putting them behind, 3-1.

Racking up three corner shots in-a-row five minutes later, first-year midfielder Shannon Bernhardt recorded her first goal of the season for New Paltz, extending their lead to three. Within that same minute, Urrutia also scored, raising the score, 5-1.

In a decided match, the Hawks would score twice more, at 49:14 off a goal by third-year forward Rachel Beam, assisted by fourth-year back Maggie Cottrell, and at 63:17, when third-year back Sarah Swift put her first of the season past the goalie. They would win at that score, 7-1.

The Hawks offense attacked all match against the Mustangs, forcing 18 corner shots and 36 shots on goal. Second-year goalkeeper Jamie Owens led New Paltz in saves with three.

“A SUNYAC win definitely gave us a boost after those tough losses the week prior,” said fourth-year forward Serena Capsello. “We have learned from the mistakes we made, and have been working hard in practice to prepare for the upcoming weekend.”

Prior to the Hawks first SUNYAC win, New Paltz lost to the University of Rochester, 1-4. The Yellowjackets are currently 10-0 on their 2018 campaign.

Falling down 0-2 in the first period against Rochester, the Hawks took advantage of their opponents mistakes late in the half. At 34:03, Ascencao forced one past the keeper on a penalty shot, putting New Paltz behind one into the second.

With the Hawks playing defense for most of the second half, it wasn’t until 52:43 when the Yellowjackets found the back of the net once again, raising their lead at 3-1. They would later score again at 57:35, finishing New Paltz off for good, 4-1.

First-year goalkeeper Ryan Dowling racked up 14 saves for the Hawks in the defensive battle, while New Paltz’s offense put up only four shots on goal. Rochester recorded 11 corner shots within the match.

The Hawks will be in action next at Oswego State Friday, Oct. 6. They will travel to SUNY Cortland the next day for another conference match-up.

“We’re confident we can make an impact in the SUNYAC this year,” Ascencao said. “It doesn’t matter how young we may be, we’re hungry.”