In the past week, our New Paltz Women’s Lacrosse Team has had a lot to celebrate. Between hitting multiple career milestones, beating their SUNYAC rivals for the second year in a row and honoring the group of seniors that made the New Paltz lacrosse program a NCAA force to be reckoned with, the Hawks are revitalized and properly pumped-up to take on their last two opponents in the regular conference season in the upcoming week.
Their victorious week began on Wednesday, April 20 when the Hawks welcomed their infamous rivals, the Oneonta Red Dragons to the North Turf at 4 p.m. Our girls had been preparing all week to face their opponent’s high pressure zone defense and driver-heavy offense, and were more than ready to remind them that last year’s single-goal win wasn’t a fluke.
“I think our greatest success during the Oneonta game was our hustle and mindset,” said Head Coach Randy Vite. “We were trailing pretty much the entire game but never let down or gave up. When you look at the ‘hustle stats,’ like ground balls and draw controls, we lead by a significant margin in both categories which helped us come out on top. Offense was our strength in that game, making really smart decisions and seeing the second and third options.”
In their notorious game-day fashion, the Hawks let the Red Dragons put the first goal in the back of the net on a free position as they adjusted to Oneonta’s style of play and showed them that New Paltz is not afraid to get aggressive. Soon thereafter, third-year midfielder Maddie Gillis grabbed the draw mid-air and single-handedly fast-broke down to the attacking end, passing it off to fourth-year attacker Katie Zito who sunk her 34th goal of the season to tie up the game 1-1 halfway through the first quarter.
The second quarter began with the Hawks only three goals behind the Red Dragons, and with most of the game still left to play, our girls were not worried in the slightest. Immediately after second-year midfielder Kaitlyn “Shawty” Shaw tied up the score 7-7 with her 39th goal of the season, third-year midfielder Shannon Brosnon joined the 100-point club by grabbing the next draw control for the Hawks with elegance and ease. By the end of the game, she had 117 draw controls under her career belt.
By the fourth quarter, the Hawks were only two goals behind their SUNYAC rivals, with the score sitting at an uneasy 15-13. Shaw, as she does for her team every game, fought hard to get a free position shot that graced the back of the net to tie up the score at 16-16 with only five minutes left of the game. With the stakes high and a win just out of talon’s reach, underdog first-year attacker, Kira Tucker, stepped up to the plate and scored the game winning goal with an assist from Gillis with three minutes left to go.
Three days later, the Hawks welcomed the Buffalo State Bengals to the North Tuft at 10:30 a.m. for the annual senior game, honoring the upper-classmen who have set the standard of competitiveness and determination that is so evident in the New Paltz women’s lacrosse program. Coming out with a breezy 14-3 win, this was a perfect game for our seniors to take a well-deserved victory lap.
“Being on this team has had more of an impact on my life than I ever could have imagined,” said fourth-year attacker, Viviana Scotti. “It isn’t just about the wins or losses on the field, New Paltz Women’s Lacrosse is a lifelong bond, and I will forever be thankful that I was able to call my team my family.”
With only two games left in the regular season in the upcoming week, facing the Plattsburgh Cardinals on Wednesday and the Geneseo Knights on Saturday, the Hawks aren’t in the clear quite yet to place in the post-season SUNYAC tournament, but after the week they just had, their momentum and hustle should be enough to secure the bag.