Morgan Woolley puts on her blue and orange jersey and takes a deep breath: Losing is not an option.
As a second-year starting forward, this is technically Woolley’s first season playing for the New Paltz Field Hockey team. So how did she come to be honored with the title of SUNYAC Athlete of the Week?
Woolley grew up in Blue Point, NY with her parents Jason and Kathi, plus her younger siblings Hunter and Kendal. Sports are a big part of the Woolley household, but especially ice hockey. Although her dad supports the Canadian teams, Woolley and her brother are fans of the Boston Bruins. Woolley played both lacrosse and field hockey in high school, but when it came to making a decision for college, her heart was pulled towards the ‘hockey’ aspect of field hockey.
At Bayport-Blue Point High School, Woolley was a five year varsity starter. During her junior year, eighth grade Kendal was pulled to varsity, where the sisters competed together.
Woolley said when looking at colleges, she loved the tiny town of New Paltz. She also had familiarity with some of the New Paltz Field Hockey girls: Kayla Ahern and Carly Corteau were high school teammates and close friends. Although Woolley was also considering the University of Toronto, knowing a little bit about the New Paltz team and coaches made the decision very easy. Woolley said that the established trust already built up with two of her teammates translated well onto the field.
Woolley said having a real season is a big difference compared to last. She explained how this year, the team is on an “away season,” so they are constantly traveling for hours on end, on top of balancing school work. Woolley stays motivated, though, by playing every game like it could be her last.
Woolley knows there are no guarantees. After COVID-19 canceled her senior season of lacrosse, she said she is grateful for any and every game she gets to play at New Paltz.
“[The team] puts in effort at every practice,” Woolley said. “We’re a very competitive team, and we focus on being relentless. That’s a big thing for us. We want to keep it up. I will do anything to win.”
It’s easy to see why a player with that attitude has locked in eight goals and 17 points in nine games so far this season. Woolley has been a huge asset to the team—in some games having a part in every New Paltz goal.
Woolley took a very humble attitude to the SUNYAC Athlete of the Week recognition. “I was not expecting it, I thought it was cool,” she said.
When Woolley is not putting in work for the team, she is focusing on her studies. Woolley is an early childhood education major, with a minor in deaf studies. She dreams of working in special education.
With six games left in the regular season, and two more years for Woolley after that, it’s clear that we can all get excited about what’s to come next. Come support Woolley and the team this Saturday, Oct. 9 on the North Turf Field at 1 p.m. as they take on SUNY Cortland.