SUNY New Paltz’s Field Hockey team is upping the ante this fall season.
Currently holding a 2-1 record and starting off strong, Head Coach Shanna Vitale has plans to make tangible improvements.
“Specifically, we plan on increasing our intensity throughout practice and the game,” Vitale said.
Vitale plans to implement a game strategy focused on “organized defense.” She also said she is teaching her team to be “relentless on attack” while striving to “instill good (technically sound) habits for game play.”
Keeping the season’s strategies in mind, Vitale is shooting to “win the big games.” For the past three seasons as head coach of the team, Vitale has 25 victories to her credit. With more wins than any other coach in program history and the program’s first-ever SUNYAC Coach of the Year award, she said her ambition for this season is to keep moving forward.
One of the “big games” in their sights is the SUNYAC tournament, which they qualified as the No. 3 seed for in 2011 for the second year in a row.
“This year, we hope to host and win [the tournament], come November,” Vitale said.
Depending on the outcome of the rest of the season, they also aim to compete in the NCAA tournament.
They are already off to a strong start with a 3-0 win over William Paterson University (1-2), which took place on Wednesday evening at Wightman Stadium in non-conference action.
Third-year forward Alicia Aragosa believes the team is strong and deep.
“We brought in freshmen with a lot of talent this season and the rest of the team has really improved on all the basic skills,” Aragosa said.
Vitale has faith that her players will really step up to the challenge, especially Alyssa Stock, Amy Lee, Madeleine Forrester, Alicia Aragosa, Lauren Link and Toni Pjetri.
“Our freshman class is very good,” Vitale said. “They will challenge our returners.”
Aragosa has already tallied two goals and four shots on goal this season, something she plans to keep up throughout the season.
“Personally, I want to score as many goals as it takes to win and not back down,” Aragosa said.
The team believes their determination instilled within the team’s dynamic enables the possibility of a season of great plays and will be a key component for the team’s success.
“Everyone we play will be our biggest competitor,” Vitale said. “We cannot look past any team. We have four nationally ranked teams on our schedule this year, so we do have a challenging schedule.”
Aragosa said that, whatever the challenges may be, the team is ready to face them head on.
“We are going to have to work very hard but we are more than capable of winning and everyone on the team knows that and is going to be striving for that,” Aragosa said.