Field Hockey Preps for Semifinals

Photo by Lizzie Nimetz.

The field hockey team clinched the No. 3 seed in the SUNYAC standings and will be playing No. 2 SUNY Oneonta in the semifinal round on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

The Hawks played two non-conference games in the past week.

A close matchup for the Hawks this season was a 2-1 victory against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that needed two 15-minute overtime periods and a shootout to be decided last Wednesday, Oct. 22. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute fourth-year Captain Molly Zuk scored the first goal of the game to give her team the lead in the third minute.

Hawks third-year co-Captain Dani Ackerman tied the game up at 1-1 scoring a goal in the 31st minute. Fourth-year midfielder Deirdre O’Neill tallied an assist on the goal.

The Hawks won the shootout 2-0. Third-year goalkeeper Alayna Wageman played all 100 minutes in goal for the Hawks and made 11 saves.

Ackerman said this win was very important in getting the team ready for their upcoming SUNYAC tournament competition.

“Hustle and heart won the game for us,” Ackerman said. “This win was instrumental in fueling the fire we need at this point in the season as we prepare for the SUNYAC Tournament.”

Head Coach Shanna Vitale said she hopes the team will carry this momentum from the win all the way through the tournament.

“The momentum is good, the spirits are high,” she said. “We look to still take chances, continue to learn, continue to grow and get out of our comfort zone and lay it all on the line these last few games – we have nothing to lose at this point.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, the Hawks fell 4-1 to Rowan University in a non-conference matchup.

The team now has an overall record of 11-6 and a 4-2 record in SUNYAC conference play. In their only regular season matchup against their  next competitor, the SUNY Oneonta Red Dragons defeated them 2-0.

Along with intense practices, Ackerman and O’Neill said the team has been watching film all season in order to learn from their mistakes in preparation for the tournament. Vitale along with Assistant Coach Sara Woodward have been hosting individual skill sessions with the Hawks.

In the final few games of the season, the team in looking to “take things to the next level,” O’Neill said.

“We need to raise the bar and do things during games we wouldn’t normally do but we know we are capable of,” she said. “We want to constantly be doubling the ball all over the field and smother other goalkeepers.”

As the SUNYAC Tournament approaches, the Hawks are working vigorously to prepare, O’Neill said, so they are coming into these next two weeks as if it is preseason.

“We are going to work harder than ever and really focus on our weaknesses to make them strengths come playoffs,” she said.

The Hawks will be facing No. 2 seed SUNY Oneonta on the road in the semifinal round of the 2014 SUNYAC Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m.

Before the tournament begins, the Hawks will finish up their regular season as they host Vassar College in a non-conference matchup Saturday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.