The New Paltz lacrosse team wants their competitors to know that they are not the same team from last season. The team started with a five-game winning streak, setting two program records and having one of their players named as the SUNYAC Goalie of the Week, all within five weeks.
Last season, the Lady Hawks went 4-11 and were winless in SUNYAC play. While this can be seen as troubling, Head Coach Heather Semelmacher sees a completely different type of potential and effort in the players that she has this year as opposed to the team she had in the 2010 spring season.
“This is the second recruiting class and there is definitely just a phenomenal vibe about this team,” said Semelmacher. “They’re positive and upbeat and they definitely live by the word that they state everyday at practice which is ‘We are Family’ and they wear that on the back of their T-shirts, and it doesn’t say anything else but ‘Family’ because that’s what they really are.”
The Hawks opened up their season with a 10-6 victory over Ramapo College and continued to beat their next four competitors. Semelmacher attributed this to how the team prepared coming into the season. Semelmacher explained that being able to recruit players made a difference in the attitude and work ethic of the team. She said that coming into the season, the team changed many of their ways in which they conditioned, including more heavy-weight lifting, how the team ran the play during the fall and altering their strategies and skill training.
“We really just changed our objective of how we play a little bit more,” said Semelmacher. “We have much more field sense and a broader vision as far as players go.”
While only beginning the season a short while ago, team members have already begun to make a mark on program records and among other SUNYAC competitors. Third-year goalie Stefanie Mignone, who just took on the position of starting goaltender this season, was recently dubbed the SUNYAC Goalie of the week for the week of March 13.
Samantha DelGaudio, also a third-year student, set the all-time points record for the Hawks in their March 30 loss to the University of Scranton. DelGaudio, who also lead the team in goals and assists last season, was described as being humble about the honor.
“I think that it is definitely a confidence booster because this team is really not about being individuals, they are just about being one team,” said Semelmacher. “When Sam got that she was very docile about it and didn’t make a large deal about it…She was just about doing it for the team.”
One of the team’s major goals this season is to win a conference game. The Hawks are currently winless in SUNYAC play and have been winless against SUNYAC competitors since the 2009 season. However, Semelmacher believes that this is the year for the team to break out of that.
“We do right now have four teams that are nationally-ranked in the SUNYAC, meaning they lie in the top 20 teams in the country, so that’s four teams out of nine that lie top 20 in the country,” said Semelmacher. “Our goal is to win all of our SUNYAC games, but one step at a time.”
The Hawks will play their next game against The College at Brockport on April 9 at 1 p.m. at SUNY New Paltz.