On Saturday, Oct. 29, many New Paltz Athletics teams found themselves competing against other collegiate competitors for a spot in SUNYAC games. Women and Men’s Soccer, Cross Country, Women’s Field Hockey and Women’s Volleyball competed against other New York teams in hopes of pursuing a championship.
Men’s Soccer started the competition early with a match against SUNY Plattsburgh on the South Turf Field. Although SUNY New Paltz had an overall better offense — 22 shots in total compared to Plattsburgh’s 16 and played a much cleaner game — Plattsburgh had 11 fouls to the Hawks’ five; they could not capitalize in a win. The Cardinals offense started a bit too strong for the Hawks’ defense to handle, scoring three back-to-back goals in the first half. In the second half, second-year midfielder/forward Joseph DiPreta scored two back-to-back goals to give his team a fighting chance against the Cardinals. Unfortunately, the effort came too late as Plattsburgh defeated the Hawks, 3-2.
Across the Hudson, held in Poughkeepsie, the Women’s Volleyball team had their first game of the Tri-Match between Vassar College and William Paterson University. During Game 1, the New Paltz Hawks dominated the Vassar Brewers, sweeping them in three sets, 25-12, 25-20, and 25-11, respectively. Fourth-year outside hitter Katie Steele was phenomenal, leading the team with eight kills. Fourth-year middle hitter Victoria Konicki also had an excellent Game 1 with four blocks and five kills.
In the second game against the Wm. Paterson Pioneers, the Hawks kept on soaring: defeating the opposing team in three sets, 25-20, 25-18 and 25-19, respectively. Third-year outside hitter Mackenzie Williams had 11 kills and six digs, and her teammate, second-year middle hitter Letisha Perez, followed with nine kills, two aces and three blocks.
SUNY New Paltz’s success didn’t end there. The Hawks continued to fly above their opponents in the SUNYAC Quarterfinals against No. 6 seed Buffalo State. Keeping the sweeping streak alive, the Hawks demolished the Bengals in three sets as well, 25-12, 25-13 and 25-14. Williams led the team with 21 kills and two blocks, while her teammate Konicki had eight and three, respectively. SUNY New Paltz Women’s Volleyball advances to the semifinals and will play against No. 2 seed SUNY Brockport on Friday, Nov. 2 in Cortland, New York.
Staying in Poughkeepsie, the SUNY New Paltz Field Hockey team faced off against Vassar College at the Weinburg Turf. About nine minutes into the first quarter, fourth-year forward Natasia Plunkett scored the first and only goal of the game, assisted by third-year midfielder/forward Morgan Woolley. First-year goalkeeper Gail Comiskey played the entirety of the game, saving two shots on goal and securing a Hawks win.
Back over the river, SUNY New Paltz Women’s Soccer hosted the quarterfinals against SUNY Brockport on the South Turf Field. The Hawks rolled over the Golden Eagles, defeating them 5-2, starting things off early with three back-to-back goals in the first period and then two in the second.
First-year forward Brooke Kelleher kicked the Hawks’ offense into ignition, scoring two goals within 10 minutes of each other. The first goal was assisted by second-year midfielder Emma Voege, and the second was assisted by second-year midfielder/forward Rachel Eisert. The third goal of the day came from first-year midfielder Kelly Licata assisted by fellow first-year midi Mia Baldinger.
As for the second period, the Hawks kept their talons on the gas pedal as Eisert scored the fourth goal and assisted for the fifth when fourth-year midfield Dana Salinas scored. Second-year goalkeeper Maddie Franklin played great, only allowing two out of six shots to get past her.
Although they advanced to the Semifinals held on Wednesday, Nov. 2, the New Paltz Hawks could not capitalize on a win against the SUNY Geneseo Knights, losing 3-2
Traveling to western New York for the SUNYAC Cross Country Championships, SUNY New Paltz’s Men’s and Women’s finished strong for their regular season. The Women’s team placed fifth out of the seven teams competing, and the Men’s placed seventh out of the 10. Fourth-year Kate Cochran placed third overall in the 6K race with a time of 22:52.9, earning first-team all-SUNYAC honors since she finished in the top five. First-year Lillian Stephenson was the first Hawk to follow Cochran, placing 35th with a time of 25:53.2. “I was very happy with my placement, being in the top 40 at SUNYACs, and the fifth freshman girl, overall,” stated Stephenson. “I’m very proud of my team and myself for overcoming the barriers and hard work that we have dealt with the past few months.”
Graduate student Hans Hilson-Schneider was the first Hawk on the Men’s team to cross the 8K finish line, placing 42nd overall with a time of 28:10.1. The average time for the Men’s was able to stay under 30 minutes with 29:26, and the score was 216, allowing them to place ahead of Oswego State, SUNY Potsdam and Buffalo State.
The Hawks will finish their 2022 season on Saturday, Nov. 12 for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships hosted by St. Lawrence University. They are doing a lot of preparation for the race. “We have been doing a lot of track workouts, working on our speed to really help us push through that last mile in the race, to get those PRs and the goals we have been driving for over the past few months,” said Stephenson. “Trying to improve every day and out on the cross country course is definitely an example of perseverance that every student faces … I wouldn’t want to end my first year as a college athlete any other way.”