Lacrosse Falls in Opening Game

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The lacrosse team is looking to improve on the 3-11 record they had during the 2015 season.

This season started out for the Hawks on the road with a 15-5 loss to Vassar College on Saturday, March 5.

Hawks head coach Liz Student said the team did not get off to a good start in the first game and were never able to dig out of the hole they were in.

“We’re still learning how to play together as a team,” Student said. “We’re playing a more high-paced offense this season, so we still have to get the hang of it.”

After second-year attacker Storm Sideleau scored for Vassar just 20 seconds into the game, Hawks third-year attacker Melissa Wagner countered 21 seconds later to tie the score at 1-all. The Brewers followed up with two more goals. Next, Hawks third-year attacker Nicole Stackpole tallied her first goal of the game at the 25:29 mark of the first half. From then on, the Brewers answered with seven straight goals. Stackpole would score the final three Hawk goals and finish with career-high of four.

Second-year attacker Caitlyn Morris tallied two assists in the loss. Wagner added an assist to her line as well. Hawks third-year goalkeeper Colleen Roemer turned aside six saves in her first start as a women’s lacrosse student-athlete.

Despite the season-opening loss, Student said she still has high expectations for the team as their conference games approach.

“This season, I want the team to be competitive in every game, especially in conference play that will take place later on in the season,” she said. “I want us to make the conference tournament.”

Last year, the team went 1-7 in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) conference play, which is a mark that they would have to improve on in order to qualify for the SUNYAC Tournament, Student said.

This year’s team is going through a roster transition, as seven seniors and two juniors graduated last spring. This season, the team has six incoming freshmen and no seniors on the team.

“In my time of being the head coach here, this is the hardest working team I’ve had,” Student said. “We had a great preseason. I think the team realizes that they are not just working hard for this season, but they are also laying the foundation for next season, and the following seasons.”

Before the start of the season, the team named three new captains, including third-year Nicole Gottschalk. She said that the preseason the team had was tough, both physically and mentally, but it will help the team. As a result, the entire team is in great shape.

Gottschalk said the team is looking to be faster and hopes their work will be evident in their games.

“I am very fortunate to be one of the team’s captains this year and I really enjoy this responsibility,” she said. “The team has responded really well to the leadership of the three of us captains. We work well together and each of us brings something different to the team.”

In their second game, the Hawks fell to Mount Saint Mary College 12-11 on Wednesday, March 9. Hawks first-year midfielder Rachael Purtell scored her first-career collegiate goal and netted a hat trick. She also added two assists.

Student said she likes the way the incoming freshmen have adjusted to the team setting, as the captains help them on and off the field.

“Our veteran players have helped the new players adjust to not just on-field things, but with how to handle the life of being a student-athlete,” she said.

The Hawks begin their season on the road for eight out of their first 10 games. With a big roster transition, this can be a season for the Hawks to surprise teams and make an impact that will lay the foundation for the upcoming seasons.

They will next host Penn State Abington on Thursday, March 10 at 4:30 p.m. on the North Turf Field.

Despite the younger roster transitions, Gottschalk said she likes the potential of this year’s team.

“We lost a lot of good players, but we also gained some good talent this year and a lot of girls have really stepped up,” she said. “We are a young team and many people may think that puts us at a disadvantage, but we are looking at it as an advantage. We have a fresh start and it has made us become a closer team as a whole. The girls get along really well and we couldn’t ask for a better team dynamic.”