The New Paltz Women’s lacrosse team opened the 2022 spring season on Wednesday, Feb. 23 against Western Connecticut State. Though our girls put up a tough fight, they couldn’t overcome the seven goal deficit from their nervous first half in the better played, more aggressive second, ultimately losing the game 11-3.
The first quarter began at the whistle with West Conn. grabbing the draw midair and pushing the ball quickly down to their attacking end. While their top scorers — second-year midfielder Vicky Gracy, fourth-year attacker Dominique DeMarsico and third-year attacker Alexa Riggio — took turns dodging from the eight meter-arc, our defense didn’t let up and kept them from shooting.
As the 90-second shot clock started getting dangerously close to zero, Demarsico took a risky, left-pipe shot that went wide. The Hawks, excited to finally get the ball in their sticks, were able to push it up through the midfield, but got zealous and passed the ball clear over their attacks’ heads.
The Hawks took a second to pass the ball around and catch their breath after their well-earned battle of possession, second-year midfielder and top scorer Kaitlyn “Shawty” Shaw and third-year midfielder Shannon Brosnon took turns dodging from the wings of the eight meter arc, but couldn’t find that perfect angle to shoot from. With five minutes left in the half, and the Hawks beginning to get annoyed, Gracy was able to hit Riggio on a clean cut made through the eight giving West Conn. the first goal of the game. In retaliation, Brosnan brought the ball past the restraining line and assisted it to Shawty, giving the Hawks their first goal of the 2022 season.
The next quarter was, unfortunately, not as defensively successful for our Hawks as it was in the first. With only a one goal lead, West Conn. was determined to show up the Hawks on their home-opener. Within the 15-minute quarter, West Conn. was able to score six more goals, while our Hawks were only able to get two shots off, both of which were saved. The score was now 8-1, but with still half a game to be played, victory was still in sight for the girls.
After halftime the ball was still mostly spent in defensive end. When the ball was down on attack, they waited patiently to find the easy shots instead of power-shooting from outside the eight. First-year attacker Alyssa Idelicato passed the ball to third-year attacker Megan Kerr who was able to roll smoothly around the crease and put the ball in the left corner of the cage. Next possession, Kerr returned the favor by assisting fourth-year attacker Katie Zito on a beautiful shot made from inside the eight.
Defensively speaking, the Hawks were able to keep West Conn. from shooting for the rest of the quarter.
“I believe that the defensive end did extremely well getting easily over 10 forced turnovers,” said second-year goalkeeper, Hailey Aber. “We stayed working together as a unit and demonstrating how successful and strong the defensive end of our field is.”
However, with two minutes left in the quarter, an unlucky shooting-space call was made on our defense and Riggio was able to sink her power-shot. With West Conn. up by six and only a quarter of the game left, the Hawks were getting worried.
In the final quarter, the Hawks were exhausted due to the multiple failed clear attempts made by both teams and were unable to take any shots off. The defenders were still able to keep the visitors from shooting, but Riggio got a gust of end-of-game wind and scored two shots in with only three minutes left of the game. The final score was 11-3; though the Hawks were disappointed they didn’t put their heads down. They are now more determined than ever to take it game by game, focus on the little things and make a name for themselves in the SUNYAC ranks.
“In our next game, I hope we value the ball and have more quality looks at the net on the attacking end,” says first-time Hawk Head Coach, Randy Vite. “I want us to possess the ball and make good decisions, but I think it was really important for us to have that first game. Now we know what those pregame jitters feel like and how to put them away when the first whistle blows. I am really excited to get another good game under our belt and make some adjustments to come out on top.”