The field hockey team started State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play with a perfect 3-0 record.
Four of the team’s last five games have been SUNYAC matches, and during this time, the Hawks outscored their conference foes 16-2.
New Paltz also dropped a nonconference match against No. 16 Skidmore College on Sunday, Sept. 18, by a score of 2-0. Despite the loss, the Hawks hung tough against a very strong opponent.
The team also showed their resilience as they bounced back from that loss with a pair of conference wins this past weekend over The College at Brockport and SUNY Geneseo.
“This weekend our defense was extremely big and strong and our attack was explosive and hungry for the ball,” Hawks second-year midfielder Samantha Ackerman said. “We did not let either team outwork us. Composure and confidence was the key to our success this weekend.”
It should come as no surprise that the four-time SUNYAC Champion Hawks have gotten off to such a quick start in conference play. Their offense has been solid this season, as New Paltz ranks second in the SUNYAC in goals with 30 and goals per game with 3.3. The team just barely trails SUNY Cortland, who ranks first with 32 goals and 3.6 goals per game.
Even with the team’s success, Hawks fourth-year back Colleen Roemer understands that there is still work to be done and room for improvement.
“We are working on playing more disciplined defense and taking more chances on attack,” Roemer said. “We have to continue building on our communication and passing game because those are the simple things that make a huge difference on the field.”
On Monday, Sept. 26 it was announced that Roemer and fourth-year forward Kayla McKeveny were named SUNYAC Defensive and Offensive Player of the Week, respectively.
Over the weekend, McKeveny notched her 36th career goal, which puts her into second place on the program’s all-time goal scorers list behind Dani Ackerman. She will likely pass Ackerman, a current assistant coach who scored 39 goals in her career, as the all-time leader in goals scored before the end of this season.
On Wednesday, Sept. 28 the Hawks beat SUNY Oneonta 2-0. Fourth-year forward Erin Landy scored both goals, one of which was off an assist from third-year forward Justine O’Reilly. Their record now stands at 7-2 overall and 4-0 in conference play.
New Paltz will not play another conference match until Friday, Oct. 21 when they take on SUNY Oswego. Even with a big gap between SUNYAC matches, Hawks head coach Shanna Vitale expects her team to remain focused and keep working hard.
“We need to keep improving and continue to get better,” Vitale said. “So when we are at that point, we’re ready to compete.”
• Saturday, Oct. 1 vs. No. 9 University of Rochester at north turf field, 1 p.m.
• Wednesday, Oct. 5 vs. Stevens Institute of Technology AT n. turf field, 4 p.m.