The SUNY New Paltz Women’s Lacrosse team began this season under the guidance of a new coach and a brand new approach to victory.
On Tuesday, April 17 a historic win was secured. The 21-20 game over SUNY Oswego ended in the favor of the Lady Hawks, giving them their first win over a SUNYAC team since the program’s reinstatement in 2009.
Head Coach Liz Student said the team really pulled it together in the game. She said they quickly realized they needed each other to win and made all of the right moves.
“It’s been a joy to watch them grow as people and players on the field,” Student said. “Our approach to every game is the same, and the girls have kept their winning attitudes.”
Student said the team’s perseverance, positivity and refusal to let the tough times beat them has been their greatest advantages. Thinking of the SUNYAC games as different from others is not something she stresses to her players.
Student said her focus on details has brought out the best playing in the team overall.
Fourth-year Captain Samantha DelGaudio said the team was confident at the start of the game and collectively sensed a win going in. The entire team, she said, understood the “significance of the win.” Their greatest asset is that each girl strives for what is best for the team as a whole, she said.
The ladies made sacrifices to benefit the rest, third-year Captain Juli Rehain said, which is something she has never seen from any other team. She said they hold the camaraderie of doing what is best for the group, not the individual, which will lead them to victory come the approaching games.
Student attributes much of the team’s success to their winning attitude. More of a psychological element, she said they are shifting their focus from their past to their extremely bright future as a young team.
The balance of the team, Student said, is somewhere between physical and mental. With this in mind, Student has assigned a summer reading list for the 2012 summer, compiled of books that address the mental side of the team.
“It’s not fair to just focus on the physical side of the game,” Student said.
Fourth-year Captain Julia Donato agreed and said the team has changed its tactics these past few weeks, practicing as a whole in order to “strengthen relationships” as well as prepare to leave everything behind when taking the field.
“We have begun to focus more on holding each other accountable for everything so we play consistently and thoroughly,” she said.
DelGaudio said even when the team was down in their Tuesday game against Oswego, “nobody’s heads dropped” and “[they] never felt as though a win was out of [their] reach.”
Pumped up from this well-earned victory, Student said the team is anticipating more success in their future games, as well as looking forward to the quickly approaching Senior Day on Saturday, April 21.
“There’s a quote we say before each game,” Student said. “‘Nobody who ever gave their best regretted it.’ And it’s true these girls give their best each time. And this season, we’re going up.”