No Halloween Eve festivities could distract the New Paltz Field Hockey team from emerging victorious in yet another match. On Saturday, Oct. 30, New Paltz hosted a game against Vassar College and closed out the regular season with an eight game winning streak while celebrating their senior players on Senior Day.
Vassar started the game in full force, but it wasn’t enough to shake New Paltz’s players. Nearly a minute into the game, fourth-year goalie Ryan Dowling saved a shot made by Vassar. Vassar struggled to break through New Paltz’s tight defense, with fourth-year midfielder Courtney Kruzikas and fourth-year midfield/back player Jessica Ascencao each saving a shot within the first ten minutes of the game. This strong defense coupled with Dowling on her A-game, who saved another shot by Vassar at 7:36, managed to keep Vassar from scoring in the first period.
With only two shots attempted by New Paltz going into the third period, Vassar continued to dominate on offense going into the 30-minute mark of the game. Dowling was working hard, saving two more attempted shots by Vassar within a two-minute span. Ten seconds after her previous save, the Brewers finally managed to get one past her, making the score 0-1 at 33:12.
Now that Vassar was on the board, New Paltz sought to tie the game. Third-year forward Natasia Plunkett tried to score, but it was saved by Vassar’s goalie. Not to be kept down for long, Plunkett successfully contacted the net to score her ninth goal of the season about three minutes later, assisted by Ascencao. Vassar attempted to recoup and score at 41:00, but once again, Dowling made the save.
The start of the fourth period was tense, with the teams tied and eager to score in the final period. While Vassar’s goalie saved a shot made by Ascencao, Dowling refused to let Vassar get another shot into the net and performed two more major saves in the fourth period. At 60:00 the game remained tied, and the players were forced to go into a nail-biting overtime.
In the first overtime, four shots were made by Vassar. Dowling saved two more, and fourth-year back Kayla Ahern performed a save at 65:12. Ascencao shot once again towards the end of the period, but it was saved by Vassar’s defense. The start of the second overtime period played out similarly, with four attempted shots made by New Paltz that couldn’t break through Vassar’s defense. As a result, the game led to 1v1 shootouts.
Both teams missed their first shootout attempts. Fourth-year midfielder/forward Shannon Bernhardt made New Paltz’s second attempt, with Vassar then making their second attempt as well. Following both teams missing their third attempt, New Paltz players needed a successful shot.
Luckily, second-year forward Hannah Ackerman delivered and performed a successful shot for New Paltz’s fourth attempt. Dowling then saved Vassar’s fourth attempt, which allowed New Paltz to claim victory after Vassar failed to save the next shot by Plunkett, giving the New Paltz Field Hockey team a well-deserved win 14 of the season.
This match marks the first time the New Paltz Field Hockey team has beat the No. 18 ranked Vassar College in six years. New Paltz’s final match of the regular season was a tough but exciting win, and the Field Hockey team now enters the postseason with their first game in the SUNYAC Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 3 against Oneonta on the North Turf Field.