With the start of a new season, all teams at SUNY New Paltz are opening up their rosters to new athletes to come and add talent to the Hawks’ lineups. This year, the field hockey team has eight new additions, although only six of them are players.
Abby Cerrone and Megan Spittal were both introduced to the New Paltz Athletic community as Assistant Coaches at the end of this summer. Cerrone and Spittal, both alumni of Lock Haven University, are joining Head Coach Shanna Vitale after playing under her.
“I coached them while they played together at Lock Haven,” said Vitale. “Abby was a senior while Megan was a freshman. Abby was my first recruit, too.”
Cerrone, who is a native of the Hudson Valley, began her college field hockey career in 2004 as a varsity player and would continue playing for Lock Haven’s varsity squad all the way through her senior year, where she was team captain. Before coming to New Paltz, she was an Assistant Coach at Washington College.
“I was very excited to have this opportunity to work with Coach Vitale,” said Cerrone. “She was my coach as a college athlete so I already knew I respected her and her knowledge of the game.”
Spittal started her college career at Lock Haven during the 2006 season. In 2010, she served as an Assistant Student Coach for Lock Haven and said she was surprised, yet excited for the opportunity to help out Vitale.
“I didn’t know about the position being open so I was initially surprised by it,” said Spittal. “I’m super excited about helping out this season because I think that this is something that’s great for me and I’m really excited to work with Coach Vitale after playing for her.”
Vitale said she “automatically” knew who to call when she was looking to fill up the two positions for assistant coach. She said that Cerrone and Spittal always played well together and that they’re both easy going and would bring a certain dynamic to the team.
“They both have Div. I playing experience, which I think is very important to have on this team,” said Vitale. “Abby is very fiery as a player while Megan is more mellow, but very demanding at the same time.”
Vitale said now that there are three coaches working with the team, players get more one-on-one attention.
“We now have more eyes, more knowledge and more feedback to give our players,” said Vitale. “What the girls might not understand from me, they might be able to understand from Abby or Megan. They can break it down for them one-on-one.”
Spittal and Cerrone are no strangers to success, which is something Spittal says she will definitely be bring as an assistant coach to the team.
“In high school and in college, I was always part of very successful teams,” said Spittal. “Having that kind of success can bring a wealth of knowledge and can help you to not just be in the winning mind set for games, but for life as well.”
Cerrone, who has helped coach before, hopes that this season she can expand her ability and knowledge as a coach.
“I am hoping to gather more knowledge about the game as well as a successful experience,” said Cerrone. “So far this season I have learned the potential of this field hockey team so I hope to help each athlete reach their personal goals as well as team goals throughout the season.”