The field hockey team advanced to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament finals after upsetting SUNY Oneonta on the road by a score of 2-1 in the semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 1.
“Today was all about believing,” Hawks third-year midfielder Samantha Ackerman said. “We came out confident and powered through every second of the game. We were confident that we were going to get the job done and come out with the win.”
The No. 3 seed Hawks will next travel to No. 1 seed SUNY Cortland for the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. The Red Dragons defeated New Paltz 5-0 back on Oct. 21.
These two teams have met in the final round three other times: in 2012, 2013 and 2015, with the Hawks coming out on top each time.
“We are extremely excited for another SUNYAC championship against Cortland,” Ackerman said. “Cortland is a great team and, without a doubt, it’s going to be a difficult game. However, we are up for a challenge and are ready to bring another title home.”
New Paltz was looking to avenge their 4-1 loss to Oneonta back on Sept. 27.
Neither team scored by halftime, leaving the game with a scoreless tie.
Fourth-year forward Justine O’Reilly broke the ice and gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute off a corner from Ackerman. O’Reilly’s shot was dribbled in just past second-year goalkeeper Danell Jones thanks to an assist from fourth-year midfielder Hayley Kim.
The Red Dragons responded at the 48:51 mark when fourth-year midfielder Sierra Palmatier tied the game after taking possession of a loose ball and beating fourth-year goalkeeper Megan Gangewere to the right side of the cage.
“Oneonta had tied up the game, but it created more fire under us,” Ackerman said. “It made us hungrier. There was not an ounce of doubt on the field, and we took advantage of that fire and put the ball in the goal yet again.”
Around 10 minutes later in the 59th minute, first-year midfielder Carly Croteau gave New Paltz a 2-1 lead after her initial shot was saved and she slapped the rebound past Jones.
“After scoring the go-ahead goal I was ready to go back, reset and fight the rest of the game with my team because it wasn’t over yet,” Croteau said.
Oneonta still had 10 minutes to tie the game, but Gangewere held down the defense with seven saves on the day to preserve the victory.
This marked the Hawks’ third playoff victory over the Red Dragons, as they previously defeated them in the semifinals in 2012 and 2014. Similar to this season, in 2014 New Paltz lost their regular season matchup to Oneonta before defeating them by a one-goal margin in the playoffs.
O’Reilly notched a game-high five shots, and Croteau was right behind her with four. Kim had two shots, while third-year forward Serena Capsello, second-year forward Kaitlyn Gunter and first-year midfielder Sawyer Kessler each recorded one shot.