As Week Four of lacrosse preseason comes to a close, the New Paltz Hawks are hard at work readying themselves for the upcoming season.
The spring season has many changes for both the men’s and women’s teams, including new players and coaches. 10 out of the 24 players on the women’s team are freshmen. Five freshmen have also joined the men’s team.
In November of 2022, the men’s lacrosse team hired a new head coach, Dylan Neisler, after the previous coach, Dwayne Stewart, left the team earlier in the fall semester to focus on his family, according to The Oracle. The women’s team also had a change in coaching staff this academic year. In September 2022, they added Lara Keenan as an assistant coach.
Both teams commented on the success of their new additions. Men’s fourth-year Captain and goalie, Nate Lindsey said, “He was a coach my freshman year. Things come back full circle. Having him back is great. He’s coming in, and he’s doing a great job.”
Since Fall-ball began, the Hawks have been working on conditioning to improve their overall game and find their new sets of strengths and weaknesses amongst the team. Women’s fourth-year Captain Shannon Brosnan, midfielder, said, “Preseason is all about learning what we got in front of us and finding out the new contributions for the team. It’s a time to be inclusive and make the newcomers feel a part of the team.”
One newcomer to watch is Lexi Atwater, who plays midfield. Brosnan said, “She is striking quick in the eight, and she is explosive and sneaky on her cuts.” This will be her first season with the Hawks, right alongside her twin sister Morgan Atwater, also midfield.
Another set of siblings will also be taking the field this spring, this time on the men’s team with the Scully brothers, Ethan Scully, midfield and Ryan Scully, attack. Ethan Scully, who is a second-year, said, “I’m looking forward to playing with him this year. He’s a senior and it’s the first year we actually get to play because of the COVID seasons. So, it’s the first time we’d get to play together since high school.”
During the 2021-2022 season, the Hawks performed better than they had in previous years. Both teams made it to the SUNYACs, with the men winning their first-ever game in the conference and the women making it to the quarterfinals. Lindsey said, “I think we’re going to do better than we did last year, definitely. But we can only take it one game at a time.”
Brosnan said, “This year is our year. We have many strong individual players that can move the ball and perform strongly on the field. Our motto for the season is ‘winning mentality.’ We are here to be the best and to want more. We can never be too comfortable playing and by pushing each other, we can have a really effective season for women’s lacrosse.”
The men’s lacrosse team had their opening game on Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. against Maritime College on New Paltz’s South Turf Field. The women’s team has their first game on Feb. 25 at 1 p.m., also with the home-field advantage over Utica University.