The inaugural SUNYAC Championship Tournament for field hockey isn’t like most of the other SUNYAC tournaments; only four of the six teams that play during the fall season will get a spot in the tournament, where the only way to move forward is by winning. This season, the Hawks have earned a spot in the tournament after their recent 3-0 victory over SUNY Oswego and are the current No. 3 seed in the tournament which is to start on Nov. 5 at SUNY Geneseo.
The Hawks are currently 9-8 this season and 3-3 in SUNYAC play. Despite the inevitable rough patches that briefly occur during any season, Women’s Field Hockey Head Coach Shanna Vitale knows that the team is in a great place and is ready for the upcoming tournament.
“There are always ups and downs with every season, and we’re incredibly honored to be in the tournament,” Vitale said. “It isn’t an easy task to get into the tournament at all.”
Come tournament time, the team will go up against the no. 2 seed Cortland, who is 5-1 in SUNYAC division play, and has already defeated the Hawks once this season by a score of 3-2. Despite this, the Hawks are going into this tournament with plenty of confidence.
Both fourth-year captains Sarah Schloss and Alyssa Finck agree that the team is extremely close, the closest they’ve seen the team in their four-year career as Hawks. And anyone who has ever been involved in a competitive team knows that this is incredibly important and practically a key factor for championship teams.
“We’re incredibly close. We’re friends on and off the field and we’re pretty much like sisters. We’d do anything for one another,” said Finck.
Sarah Schloss agreed.
“Our bond is undoubtedly something that sets us apart. It’s apparent when we step on the field that we mesh extremely well together, better than many or most teams we’ve played,” said Schloss. “A strong bond is a strength that can make all the difference in a tough game; when other teams start to turn on each other we stay strong and we know we’ve already won.”
This will not be the only advantage that the Hawks enter the tournament with. The Hawks have been undefeated in their past three games against Oswego, Stevens and Ramapo, respectively. They will enter the tournament with plenty of momentum, and know that they have each other to push themselves to be even better.
“One of the biggest and most important things our coach has taught the team is that we need to be each other’s biggest competition. During practices we need to push each other as hard as or harder than our competitors are going to so that we’re prepared for anything,” said Schloss about how the team was getting ready to prepare for the upcoming tournament.
“The girls get it. They know that they need to push each other to be their best,” Vitale said.
As for now though, the team is taking it one day at a time.
“We aren’t solely focusing on Cortland at this time. We still have two games to do really well in before the tournament and we’re focusing on those games most,” said Vitale, of how the team is approaching the game against SUNY Cortland.
“I think we’re going to do tremendously well,” said Finck. “We have a great group that has a really great chemistry and I believe we’re going to be great at the tournament.”