Field Hockey Fights to the Finish

The field hockey team’s season came to an end on Saturday as they lost 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament against The College of New Jersey Lions.

“We played a tough first half against them and had them on their heels,” Head Coach Shanna Vitale said. “Once the second half came, there were some mistakes and errors that we caused and they took advantage of that.”

The game was scoreless through the first half. The Lions scored four goals in the second half. Fourth-year Lions forward and midfielder Lindsey Hatch led the way with two goals and an assist. Fellow fourth-year forward Erin Healy and second-year forward Danielle Andreula scored a goal apiece for their team. Second-year Lions goalkeeper Kelly Schlupp had three saves and earned a shutout in the Lions’ victory. The win bumped the Lions’ record on the season up to 20-1.

Although they fell short in the end, third-year forward Dani Ackerman said the team is very proud of their accomplishments this season, and they’re glad that they fought so hard against such a talented team.

“Our team has a lot to be proud of,” she said. “We won a lot of big games this season and worked incredibly hard to make the NCAA Tournament. Losing to a talented team like [them] makes us stronger as a team.”

The team made it all the way to the NCAA tournament for the third year in a row this season. Fourth-years to graduate the team this spring are midfielder and back Emily Vanacore, forward Alex Gallo and midfielder Deirdre O’Neill.

“We are really going to miss our seniors who are graduating,” Ackerman said. “They have always been a big part of the team. Personally, I have become very close with them and hate to see them go. We would have never made it as far as we did without them.”

O’Neill, who spent all four of her years at New Paltz playing field hockey, said she couldn’t be happier with the experiences she had during her time on the team.

“Playing for New Paltz field hockey these past four years is an experience that is hard to put into words,” she said. “The field hockey team every year has been considered my family. I have learned so much and have grown as a person since playing here. No questions asked, coming to New Paltz and playing field hockey has been the best decision I ever made.”

As the team looks ahead for next season, O’Neill left one last bit of insight as to what she believes will make the team successful next season.

“Our head coach is extremely knowledgeable and pushes the team to new limits every day,” she said. “She will never stop believing in the success New Paltz field hockey is capable of achieving. I am very excited to follow [the team’s] success next year and the years after.”

With all of the accolades the team has achieved the past few years, Vitale said she looks to do more of the same next year.

“We have to keep working harder and use this last game to fuel the fire,” Vitale said. “Being in the Sweet 16 but not quite finishing the deal, that’s motivation.”