On Saturday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m., the New Paltz Field Hockey team celebrated their home opener.
Coming off of the St. Lawrence invitational where they dominated Utica College and St. Lawrence University 7-2 and 1-0, the Hawks were as ready as ever to host St. John Fisher. Historically, New Paltz has only ever lost to this school. Would this be the day they turned their luck around?
Not even a minute and a half into the game, New Paltz scored. Fourth-year midfielder Julia Cummings found the net, assisted by third-year back Jessica Ascencao. Fourth-year Mackenzie Mortimer was the Hawk’s goalie and she saved a few Cardinal shots. One shot did get by at 11:56 to tie the game, but overall everyone looked strong.
St. John Fisher had Mortimer working in period two, she saved three shots within the first few minutes. New Paltz attempted to score as well, but defense was strong on both sides. Within the last two minutes of period two, the Cardinals scored again to take the lead 2-1. However, with two more periods to go it was really still anyone’s game.
At 33:01, third-year forward Natasia Plunkett found contact with the net, assisted by Ascencao. Twenty eight seconds after that St. John Fisher scored again, keeping their lead over New Paltz. Plunkett wasn’t done though, she came back to score again, this time assisted by second-year forward Morgan Woolley.
Now the game was tied 3-3 and New Paltz was hungry for the lead. Many Hawks were shooting, all were being saved by the Cardinal’s goalie, but they just needed one to click. Finally, it did, at 44:28 Cummings came out on top to score, assisted by Woolley.
With 15 minutes left in the game, New Paltz looked to tack some insurance points on. Second-year forward Hannah Ackerman tried to score, along with fourth-year midfielder Morgan Gunter and Plunkett. All valiant attempts, but all saved by the Cardinal’s defense.
If New Paltz couldn’t get more goals, then they would just have to hold on to their lead. The pressure was now falling on Motimer. St. John Fisher did not have many opportunities to score, but the two times they did Motimer was there and saved them. New Paltz took the game 4-3, officially breaking the losing streak against St. John Fisher. This shows early on that this team is a huge force to be reckoned with.
Plunkett said it felt totally nice to beat St. John Fisher for the first time in program history.
“I’m feeling great about the game and the way we played,” Plunkett said. “After our halftime meeting when we were down 2-1, Julia turned to me and said ‘we’re gonna score three goals this quarter at least’ and we went out there and did it. We were moving the ball well and together on attack, working on the sideline/endline. We took advantage of opportunities and took lots of shots, it really paid off.”
On Saturday, Sept. 18, the Hawks are on the road to compete against Rochester. Similar to St. John Fisher, New Paltz has historically struggled against Rochester, but their last performance against them in 2019 resulted in a win, so the team is hoping to keep the momentum.
Shortly after Rochester, the team will face Brockport for their first SUNYAC matchup. New Paltz has a current 11 game win streak against Brockport that dates back to 2009. Will they be able to make it 12?
“This year’s team spirit is at an all time high,” Plunkett said. “You can expect to see the same energy we had on the sideline and the field going forward. We’ve always prided ourselves in the way we encourage our teammates on and off the field. We’ve had a great start to the season, but it doesn’t stop here, there’s lots more excitement to come.”