Finishing Strong

The SUNY New Paltz Field Hockey team finished off their season with a 3-2 loss to SUNY Oneonta in the Conference semifinals.

The 2011 fall season for the SUNY New Paltz women’s field hockey team has ended their season but not without acclaim.

The team finished with an 8-10 overall record and a 4-2 conference record, while Head Coach Shanna Vitale was named the 2011 SUNYAC Coach of the Year and now holds the record for the most program wins with 25.

Two of the Hawks’ conference wins came when the team faced SUNY Oswego and SUNY Geneseo, with the latter making program history.

By defeating Geneseo, the Hawks accomplished something the team has been unable to do since 2004.

Vitale led the Hawks to its second consecutive SUNYAC Field Hockey Championship Tournament where the girls faced SUNY Oneonta, who the Lady Hawks lost to in overtime on Sept. 16 during their regular season.

New Paltz went into the tournament ranked as the No. 3 seed. Oneonta was a spot ahead of them in the No. 2 spot.

“We were competitors. I saw that we were connecting with each other and that we were the better team,” Vitale said, despite the team’s loss.

Team members agreed with their coach’s sentiment, concluding that the team as a whole put forth the extra effort.

“Everyone gave it their all out there,” fourth-year captain Maryana Organidis said. “Even though the loss was a heartbreaker, it was a good way to end the season, leaving it all on the field.

In response to their standout performance in SUNYAC play this season, four Hawks were named to All-Conference teams. Fourth-year forward Stacey Miller, third-year defender Amy Lee, and second-year defender Alyssa Stock each landed All-SUNYAC First Team honors while second-year defender Maddie Forrester was chosen for the All-SUNYAC Second Team.

The 2011 Hawks were a young team, primarily made up of underclassmen, with only six of the teams’ players  being upperclassmen.

According to Organidis, having to rely heavily on the first and second-year players brought the team closer on and off the field .

“We definitely have the closest team ever, and it’s obvious on the field,” Organidis said. ”It’s going to be hard leaving them; we’re all best friends.”

The team hopes to be more consistent next year, winning games and being more dominant on the field.

“We started this season strong,” second-year midfielder Lauren  Link said. “A lot of games though we could’ve and should’ve won so I think next year we are going to be out for revenge.  We know what it feels like to be on top and to have a chance to stay on top, so that’s what we are going to be after next season for sure.”

As for the graduating players, they feel comfortable leaving the team knowing that the group has promise for the next few seasons.

“Next year and the years that follow are going to be awesome for the team,” Miller said. ”Shanna’s bringing in a lot of talented girls and the current players are also challenging themselves every day.”

Vitale is looking forward to next season as well and she is going to continue to raise her expectations for her Hawks.

“Once you get the taste of a championship, you just want more.  I want a championship,” Vitale said.