Both the Men’s and Women’s New Paltz Lacrosse Teams shared a heartbreaking loss against the Oswego Lakers on their home turf this past Saturday, April 9. After the week that both teams had, prior to the Oswego matchup, where the men set an offensive program record against the Delhi Broncos in a landslide 19-8 win, and the women came dangerously close to a major SUNYAC upset against the Brockport Eagles. Our Hawks were hoping to continue on with their forward momentum and secure their place in the postseason NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, both teams had failed to execute their game plan, putting them yet another game behind on their season record.
The women took the field first, dressed in blue, and well prepared to fight against Oswego’s driver-heavy offense. Our defense, which had a last-minute change of starting lineup due to first-year defender Francesca Corozzo’s unforeseen ankle injury occurring less than 24 hours before the game, came out a little nervous, but second-year defender Grace Berardi wasted no time filling in Corozzo’s gap. It was her first time playing a full 60-minute SUNYAC game, but New Paltz fans could’ve sworn that she had been playing the entire season. Her hustle, intensity and willingness to fight hard for her team was an important part of the game, and ultimately played a huge role in keeping the Hawks only goal or two behind the Lakers each quarter.
“It was exciting but nerve wracking to play my first full SUNYAC game, especially since I haven’t played a full game since 2019,” said Berardi. “ I don’t think we played to our full potential and I think the entire team was aware of that. We all felt a bit flat that day, but we all know we have the potential to be in the best position the program has ever been in. It’s hard stepping in for such an important position so late in the season, but I’m going to try my hardest on the field and with the help of my teammates keep a strong defense even in Frankie’s absence.”
The game started off with a lot of back and forth. Oswego grabbed the first draw and quickly pushed it down to their attacking end, but nationally ranked Hawk goalie Hailey Aber slowed their advances with a low-angle save, clearing with the ball with perfect connection to second-year midfielder Kaitlyn “Shawty” Shaw’s stick, who assisted a shot to fellow midfielder, third-year Maddie Gillis, which went wide. The next few minutes played out in a similar fashion, but finally Oswego was able to get around Aber and put the first goal on the board at the 9:55 minute mark.
It took until the second quarter and two more Oswego goals for the Hawks to get angry enough to find the back of the net; part of New Paltz’s success in this game was to tricking Oswego into believing they were to be the clear victors, then knocking them off their rhythm by making the score 5-4 just before halftime. They may have let the Lakers take the first quarter, but they were not going to let them off easy for the rest of the game.
As soon as Oswego got a goal, the Hawks were hasty to follow. The score was neck and neck all of the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter, both teams knew it was coming down to the wire. The Lakers thought they had the game with 10 minutes left to go, the score being 9-6, but Shaw wasn’t going down without a fight. Within the next two minutes, she scored two unassisted goals, straight off the draw; an incredible feat against the Lakers’ aggressive defense.
Despite Shaw’s valiant efforts, the rest of the Hawk’s attacking line couldn’t find a lane into the net by the end-game buzzer, something they needed desperately to bring the game to overtime and compete for the winning goal.
Our girls walked off the field disappointed by the loss, but proud of their efforts and already looking forward to their next game, where they take on Cortland at the Red Dragon’s home field. In the meantime, they all took their spots in the bleachers to cheer on their men’s team, hoping they would redeem the Hawk reputation.
Similar to the women, the men struggled to find the back of the cage in the beginning of the game, but still took the field fired up and ready to go. They took four shots on net in the first two minutes of the game, but failed to find the back of it. The Hawk defensive line fought hard to keep the ball in our possession, but let in two back-to-back goals at the nine minute mark.
Our boys weren’t going to let one of the top teams in the SUNYAC bully them so easily; they’ve been working hard to prove themselves this season to their conference and desperately needed an upset to confirm their threatening momentum. Second-year midfielder Ryan Kaelin won the faceoff battle immediately following Oswego’s goal, and was the first to put the Hawks up on the scoreboard with a dirty side-arm rip. The rest of the first quarter was spent mostly in the Lakers’ possession, where they ended with a seemingly comfortable four-goal lead. However, with 45 minutes still yet to play, and the score being a measly 6-2, the Hawks weren’t ready to give up quite yet.
In the second quarter, the Hawks success was due to their incredible generosity and team-oriented attitudes; first-year midfielder James Flanagan, third-year attacker Thomas Armetta, third-year midfielder Aidan Gregory, second-year attacker John Reese and third-year goalie Nate Lindsey all worked together to put some more points up on the board and keep the Lakers from doing so, bringing the Hawks to a single goal behind the Lakers by the end of the quarter, with an exciting score of 8-7.
A major problem that our boys have been dealing with this season is mid-game inconsistency, a flaw that stood out heavily in their third quarter style of play. As the Hawks were dropping the ball in the midfield and struggling to keep possession, the Lakers took advantage of their disorganization and, yet again, put themselves ahead of the Hawks with another four-goal lead.
“I think we played a good first half but did not play a good second half,” said Reese. “In the first half, especially the second quarter, we were getting stops on defense and the offense was buzzing and then it seemed like at half time, we took our foot off the gas. We have to work on playing a complete 60-minute game by keeping the pressure on our opponents the entire game. If we can do that, we will get the results we are looking for.”
The Hawks still weren’t defeated yet, and in the fourth quarter were able to get another three goals. However, that wasn’t enough to stop the Lakers’ momentum, who outshot the Hawks by putting up another six goals on the board, bringing the end-game score to a tough 18-10 Hawk loss. The boys are not willing to give up their dreams of a (program-first) New Paltz debut in the SUNYAC post-season tournament, so they refuse to let this loss get to them; they are going to keep working hard and learning from their mistakes in order to come out on top.
“Next this season for us is Potsdam which is a game we are looking at as very winnable.” says top-scorer Reese. “If we clean up our game this week and continue to work hard like we have been, we hopefully will get the win there.”