Field Hockey Falls Short

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The field hockey team’s season came to an end on Wednesday, Nov. 2 as the Hawks lost a 1-0 match against SUNY Geneseo in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament semifinal round. 

This snaps New Paltz’s streak of four-straight SUNYAC titles.

“[This] was an extremely sad and tough loss,” Hawks second-year midfielder Samantha Ackerman said.  “Although we lost, I am proud of my teammates and know they put everything into the game they could. We had plenty of opportunities and did great things, but things just didn’t go our way.”

The Hawks finished their season with a 9-9 record. The last time the team did not finish the season above .500 was 2011, when the Hawks concluded their year at 8-10. 

Despite the score, the Hawks showed a strong offensive performance as they outshot the Knights 21-9 and held an 11-6 advantage in penalty corners. Knights third-year goalkeeper Nicole Gregg also had a strong day as she recorded an 11 save shutout.

Geneseo recorded the lone goal in the game when third-year midfielder Diana Ruggiero scored off a corner by third-year midfield Morgan Maley and an assist by fellow third-year midfielder Giovanna Fasanello in the 30th minute.

Hawks fourth-year forward Kayla McKeveny led the team with seven shots, four of which were on goal. Fourth-year forward Erin Landy fired off four shots, two being on goal, in her final collegiate game. Third-year midfielder Hayley Kim, third-year forward Justine O’Reilly and first-year forward Kaitlyn Gunter registered three, two and two shots, respectively. Third-year goalkeeper Megan Gangewere made six stops in the cage.

This is the first SUNYAC Tournament game the Hawks have lost since their 3-2 loss against SUNY Oneonta in the semifinals of the 2011 tournament. Before this game, New Paltz hadn’t lost to Geneseo since 2013 and had defeated the Knights 5-1 earlier this season on Sept. 24.

This was also a rematch of last season’s SUNYAC Tournament semifinal round, which the Hawks won 2-1 on Nov. 4, 2015. Similar to this game, New Paltz trailed that match 1-0 at halftime. Unfortunately this time around, the Hawks were unable to come through. 

Geneseo will be appearing in the SUNYAC Championship game for the first time since 2014. The No. 3 seed Knights will host No. 4 seed SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, Nov. 5. Oneonta pulled off their own upset against No. 1 seed SUNY Cortland, as the Red Dragons won 2-1 in overtime. Geneseo won one SUNYAC title back in 2010, while Oneonta has never won a conference championship.

McKeveny, Landy and fourth-year back Colleen Roemer will not be returning the team next season. Earlier this season, McKeveny passed Dani Ackerman ’16 as the program’s all-time leader in goals and points. She finishes her collegiate career with 42 goals and 104 points. McKeveny also finishes her career with 20 assists, tied for third all-time. 

Landy concludes her career with 23 goals, 57 points and 11 assists. Roemer finishes off her time at New Paltz with six goals, 17 points, five assists and eight defensive saves.

“Colleen [Roemer], Kayla [McKeveny] and Erin [Landy] have done a phenomenal job here at New Paltz,” Ackerman said. “I cannot thank them enough for their time, effort and energy. Because of my sister being on the team in the past, I have been able to watch all three players grow into outstanding athletes. Having three seniors all in different positions throughout the field have made a huge impact on myself and my teammates.  They have all taught us so much, and without their knowledge we would not be the players we have become this season.”

Ackerman explained that her team had a lot of challenges to overcome this season and did so very well.

“Most teams would not come out as strong as we did with the adversity we faced,” she said. “Myself and others were injured, and we had very few subs. This season was difficult at times, but the team remained positive and worked through every setback. A memory I have that I will always look back on is when we played the 2015 national champions, Middlebury.  It was such a proud moment for me and it was incredible to see how far we have come as a program.”

Despite the Hawks’ season coming to an end earlier than they would have liked, Ackerman remains positive that her team will continue to work hard in preparation for next season.

“Our team doesn’t have an offseason—New Paltz field hockey works 365 days a year,” she said. “I think what is important for next year is that we remain disciplined and continue to work hard towards our goals.  I believe and know we will take the time to learn more and prepare for our 2017 season. I am sad this season has come to an end, however myself and my returning teammates have a lot to look forward to.”