The field hockey team earned its first ever win in the regular season against SUNY Cortland Saturday, Oct. 6, 2-1. The win comes after a 3-0 victory against Oswego State on Friday, making the Hawks undefeated in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play.
The two-win weekend moves New Paltz to 7-4 on the year, and 3-0 in the SUNYAC. The Hawks are currently tied for first in the conference with SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Oneonta.
“A successful team is one that controls the controllables, and that played a huge role in the outcome of our weekend,” said fourth-year back Samantha Ackerman. “Proud is the only thing that comes to mind after defeating Cortland. We controlled the pace of the game with our energy, effort and heart for a full 70 minutes, and did not let up in the slightest bit.”
The defending SUNYAC champion Red Dragons were determined to keep their undefeated streak against the Hawks early in the first half, gaining a 1-0 advantage at 11:50 off a third-year forward Amanda Glaser. It would be Cortland’s last shot on goal, as New Paltz quickly turned momentum on its side.
With the Hawks attacking continuously through the half with six corner kicks and six shots on goal, Ackerman found the back of the net at 28:56 on an assist by second-year forward Carly Croteau, tying the match at one to end the first.
Early in the second, the Red Dragons attempted to play their style, accumulating five corner shots and two shots on goal to keep the pressure up on New Paltz. A green card by first-year back Kayla Ahern resulted in another Cortland corner shot, but first-year Ryan Dowling came up big for the Hawks with another save, preserving the score.
Racking up seven corner shots and seven shots on goal on New Paltz in the half, the Red Dragons forced the Hawks defense to bear down. At 61:24 in the second, Croteau gained the lead for New Paltz on an assist by Ackerman to put them up, 2-1.
With 10 minutes left in the match and the lead, victory looked promising for the Hawks. That was, however, until first-year midfielder Morgan Gunter and Croteau grabbed yellow cards, putting the Hawks down two players with five minutes left.
Staying consistent all match, New Paltz’s defense closed out the match, never allowing Cortland to get a shot on goal with the two-man advantage. For the first time in the regular season, the Hawks defeated the Red Dragons, 2-1.
“We have scenarios planned for these situations, and have gone through situations like this in training sessions,” Croteau said. “Everyone was prepared and kept their composure. I had no doubt in our team that we wouldn’t let the cards affect them.”
The first win in program history against Cortland comes after a 3-0 shut-out by New Paltz against Oswego State. The Hawks controlled the tempo thoroughly against the Lakers, totalling for 12 shots on goal and 15 corner shots, compared to Oswego’s two on goal and five corners within the entire match.
With no scoring at all in the first half, New Paltz got the scoring going early in the second, taking a 1-0 lead two minutes into the match on a third-year forward Kaitlyn Gunter goal, assisted by Croteau.
The Hawks kept the pressure up 15 minutes later, when fourth-year forward Serena Capsello tipped one past the goalie on an assist by Gunter. The two-goal advantage proved too much for the Lakers, as they would never get a shot off afterwards to finish the half.
At 67:44, first-year back Jessica Ascencao sealed the deal for New Paltz, scoring a goal on an assist by Ackerman to boost the Hawks lead to three. Her team-leading ninth goal of the season would end the match, 3-0 New Paltz.
“We did a good job staying composed this weekend and taking each game one day at a time,” Capsello said. “When we come together, we have a lot of potential and play at an elite level.”
The Hawks will travel to the College at Brockport Friday, Oct. 12, heading to SUNY Geneseo the following day for two more SUNYAC matches this weekend.