Lacrosse Looks to Finish Season Strong

Photo by Holly Lipka.

With only four games remaining in the season, the lacrosse team is focusing on the long-term future of the program.

Over the past few games, the Hawks dropped State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) matchups against Buffalo State, SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Fredonia. New Paltz lost each game by at least 10 goals.

Though the statistics have not shown desired results, Hawks head coach Liz Student discussed her pleasure of the team’s progress so far and how the rest of the season can only be beneficial for the players.

“I think the cohesion this year is one of our strengths,” Student said. “We have a young group, and we don’t have any seniors. It’s not something where ‘the seniors are doing this’ and the ‘freshman are doing this,’ we’re just one team. It’s a great environment to grow  and to play in. We have different people stepping up every day, working on leadership and that will help us moving forward.”

On Friday, April 8, the Hawks went up against Buffalo State for a conference matchup, which had a close start, but wasn’t enough.

The Bengals grabbed a 4-0 lead midway through the contest before Hawks third-year attacker Nicole Stackpole and second-year attacker Caitlyn Morris scored back-to-back goals to bring the score within two. The Bengals netted a pair more before Morris retaliated with her second goal of the game with just 6:02 before halftime. Buffalo State followed with four unanswered goals to enter halftime with a 10-3 advantage.

Buffalo State scored four goals in the second half, with a New Paltz goal courtesy of third-year co-captain Melissa Wagner who scored in between. Third-year goalkeeper Colleen Roemer made eight stops in the loss for the Hawks, while two Bengal goalkeepers combined for five saves in the win.

Morris finished with two goals to lead the New Paltz attack, while Wagner and Stackpole each scored one a piece. Hawks second-year attacker Orlagh Brady scooped up five ground balls, while third-year midfielder Alexa Criollo caused two turnovers and controlled four draws.

On Tuesday, April 12, the Hawks played their first home SUNYAC game of the season, as they fell to SUNY Potsdam by a score of 18-5.

The Hawks had a hopeful start, as they got on the board in the first 1:21 of the game off an unassisted goal from third-year co-captain Nicole Gottschalk. However, Potsdam scored 10 unanswered goals to close the half and enter the intermission with a 10-1 advantage.

New Paltz kept up the pace with Potsdam early in the second half, as Criollo quickly answered an early Bears goal with one of her own. Following another Potsdam score, Morris and second-year attacker and midfielder Colleen Jones netted back-to-back markers to draw within eight at 12-4. The Bears wound up scoring six of the game’s final seven goals.

Wagner, Criollo, Gottschalk, Morris and Jones all scored, while Wagner and Gottschalk each provided an assist. Roemer scooped up a game-high six ground balls, while second-year defender Kaitlyn DeTrinis caused three turnovers.

Gottschalk said despite the loss, there’s plenty left in the season to really show what the team is all about.

“We’ve definitely struggled a bit in the past few weeks as we entered conference play,” Gottschalk said. “We are working out all of the small issues and we are looking forward to everything finally coming together in our next few games.”

For their final game of the week, the Hawks suffered a 15-4 setback against a tough SUNY Fredonia team on Saturday, April 16.

New Paltz had a tough first half in the game as the Hawks were outscored 8-2. However, after the halftime break, Criollo scored just 24 seconds into the second half to bring the score within five.

The Blue Devils answered with six straight goals, before Hawks second-year attacker Kelsey Aeberli registered her second goal of the day with 8:07 remaining in regulation to break up Fredonia’s scoring spree. The Blue Devils scored one final goal with 4:44 left to finish with a final score of 15-4.

New Paltz falls to 3-9 overall and 0-4 in conference play with the loss and next hosts SUNY Oswego on Thursday, April 21, at 4 p.m.

Student said the last few games of the season can potentially be a huge turnaround for the team.

“We made a few mistakes in some games and it hurt us,” Student said. “When you’re playing with the hardest conference in Div. III, there’s not much wiggle room for errors. We just have to keep playing and working toward the next game, but we also have to work for the long run. Despite what our record says, our program is moving forward and in the right direction because of how hard our players work on and off the field.”