White Hot O’Reilly Leads Charge for Field Hockey

Senior Justine O'Reilly currently leads the SUNYAC with 13 goals. Photo courtesy of sports information.

After winning consecutive matches against State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) rivals Brockport and Geneseo, the field hockey team dropped its match with Oneonta on Wednesday afternoon at the North Turf Field.

Prior to the game, Hawks head coach Shanna Szablinski said the key to success recently and for the rest of the season will be a group effort.

“Everyone will fuel success, everyone has a role,” Szablinski said. “Mistakes will happen over 70 minutes, but [the team] needs to continue to play hard and support each other.”

New Paltz defeated Morrisville State College on Wednesday, Sept. 13, but dropped its following match to the University of Rochester in overtime 3-2.

The Yellow Jackets lit the lamp first 1:13 into the game, with third-year attacker Nancy Bansbach putting one past Hawks’ fourth-year goalkeeper Megan Gangewere.

Gangewere held tight in net the entire game, recording 26 saves despite the loss.

New Paltz answered back with two goals of its own in the second period to take the lead. Second-year forward Kaitlyn Gunter knotted the game up 44:00 in and third-year midfielder Samantha Ackerman followed suit seven minutes later, with a tip in assisted by fourth-year forward Justine O’Reilly.

Late in the second, the Yellow Jackets evened up the game with a goal from second-year midfielder Colleen Maillie which ultimately forced extras.

Just 1:07 into overtime, Rochester sealed the victory. Fourth-year attacker Claire Dickerson put her eighth tally of the season past Gangewere for a heartbreaking New Paltz loss.

Despite the losses early on in the season, Szablinski sees positives in her team.

“It’s important to be organized defensively and prepared at all times,” Szablinski said. “[But] we are finding ourselves and playing together as a team.”

The Hawks bounced back nicely in its following match against The College at Brockport to the tune of an 8-1 drubbing.

New Paltz scored early and often, with this one being over very early on. O’Reilly opened the scoring 3:15 in and went on to score a hat trick in the first 26 minutes. Altogether, she would light the lamp five times.

Third-year forward Serena Capsello added two goals of her own while first-year midfielder Carly Croteau put the biscuit in the basket as well.

Gangewere made four saves in net, while New Paltz outshot Brockport 32-6. The Hawks also bested them in corners 11-5.

Szablinski praised her team for playing aggressive hockey day in and day out and how her older players are setting examples for the younger ones.

“Justine O’Reilly is outstanding offensively, Megan Gangewere is phenomenal in the backfield and has been explosive,” she said. “Everyone has their role and is looking to deny the opponents for 70 minutes.”

The following day, New Paltz took on SUNY Geneseo at home and edged them out 4-2. O’Reilly touched the twine 1:53 in, while Ackerman added to the Hawks lead 25:13 with a goal of her own.

Geneseo answered back with consecutive goals by fourth-year forward Giovanna Fasanello, the latter of which came on the strength of a penalty kick.

However, New Paltz regrouped and O’Reilly exploded for two more goals to propel the Hawks to victory.

O’Reilly was named National Field Hockey Coaches Association Div. III Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

That same day, the Hawks fell to Oneonta at home by a score of 4-1.

The game remained scoreless through the first 19 minutes before O’Reilly broke the silence with a goal to put New Paltz up 1-0, but it would ultimately be the entirety of their scoring.

Oneonta scored four unanswered goals, two in the first and two in the second, to come away with a victory.

New Paltz edged out the Red Dragons in shots on goal 20-16, corner kicks 12-4 while Megan Gangewere made 10 saves.

The Hawks will next travel to Rochester to take on St. John Fisher Sunday, Oct. 1 followed by a match against Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey on Wednesday Oct. 4 before returning home next weekend.