The field hockey team began their season by winning both of their matches over the weekend.
“It’s always good to start with a few wins,” head coach Shanna Vitale said. “I was impressed with their overall communication and that they were playing with confidence. They were able to make adjustments when needed and they stayed very in control of what they were trying to do.”
In the first game on Sept. 3, the Hawks were victorious by a score of 4-1 over St. Lawrence University. Fourth-year forward Kayla McKeveny led the offense with two goals and a match-high 13 shots. First-year forward Sophia Urrutia notched a goal and an assist in her collegiate debut, while third-year forward Justine O’Reilly scored a goal of her own. Fourth-year forward Erin Landy chipped in with an assist. Third-year goalkeeper Megan Gangewere made 11 stops in her season debut.
The following day, the Hawks again won by a score of 4-1 over Utica College after outshooting them 33-9. O’Reilly, fourth-year back Colleen Roemer, third-year midfielder Hayley Kim and second-year forward Serena Capsello all scored goals, while second-year midfielder Maggie Cottrell helped out with an assist. Gangewere made seven saves to lead the team to their second-straight win.
On Tuesday, Sept. 6 it was announced that Gangwere was named the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Defensive Player of the Week. This is the first time she has received the honor in her career.
“I was really impressed with Megan [Gangwere], who stepped up and just was a true leader on the field; directing traffic and defense,” Vitale said. “Our defense stayed more poised than we have in the past.”
The Hawks look to repeat as SUNYAC Champions for the fifth-straight season this year.
“This season we are working towards being the most disciplined team in the division,” Roemer said. “Our good habits and work ethic will lead us to success.”
Although the team lost two Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) NCAA Div. III All-Americans in Dani Ackerman and Jessica Caruana to graduation, six new freshmen have joined the team and will look to contribute.
“It usually takes a little time at the beginning of the season for the freshmen to get used to our level of play and for the team as a whole to really click,” Landy said. “But the freshmen are really adjusting nicely and we’re all fully committed to putting in the work to achieve our goals.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 7 the team lost 5-1 against Montclair State University. O’Reilly scored the Hawks’ lone goal of the game off a feed from Capsello. Gangwere made a career-best 23 saves in a losing effort. The Hawks’ record currently sits at 2-1.
The Hawks will resume nonconference play on Tuesday, Sept. 13 when they take on Union (N.Y.) College. This will be their last nonconference matchup before their first SUNYAC game and home opener against Morrisville State College on Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. on the North Turf Field.
Vitale expects her team to continue to work hard and improve going into conference play.
“I look for continuing the growth of our program,” she said. “I expect us to work on things that we have been working on in practice and carrying it over to our games. I also expect us to continue to play with urgency and remain poised, while continuing our winning habits throughout the season and building upon our strengths.”