Following a wildly successful 2012 season, the SUNY New Paltz Women’s Field Hockey team has set its sights on another impressive standing in the 2013 SUNYAC conference. Finishing the season with a 16-5 overall record, a program-best, this season’s team has big shoes to fill.
But Head Coach Shanna Vitale says that she feels confident the team is capable of earning its second conference title.
“Our goal is ultimately to become the SUNYAC champions and to make it to the NCAA,” she said.
At the end of the 2012 season, the Lady Hawks lost three graduating fourth-years, who Vitale said were strong contributors to the success of the team.
The graduating fourth-years included former captain and defender Amy Lee, former captain, defender and midfielder Kim Lepore, and forward Morgan Lizotte. Lizotte led the team with 12 goals and 25 points, and finished fourth overall in the conference in goals and placed sixth in points.
Vitale said that despite a new portion of the team being young, there are a handful of forceful returning players who are bringing “experience and leadership” to the team. Three returning players, fourth-year goalkeeper Anotonija Pjetri, fourth-year defender Madeliene Forrester and fourth-year midfielder, Alyssa Stock, have been appointed as captains to lead the 2013 team.
Pjetri is going to be a strong asset for the Lady Hawks this year, Vitale said. In the 2012 season, Pjetri recorded eight shutouts and an overall .860 save percentage for the year. She was named the SUNYAC Field Hockey Player of the Year as well as earning the title of the SUNYAC Field Hockey Championship Tournament MVP.
Vitale said there is a good balance between experienced players and the fiery, adamant newcomers.
“The more experience they have on the field, the better we’ll get,” she said.
Following last year’s monumental season, opposing teams will be seeing New Paltz as their toughest challenge to face, Vitale said.
“Now we have a target on our back,” Vitale said. “We can’t take any of our opponents for granted.”
The Hawks started off the 2013 season with a dominating 6-0 shutout over Western Connecticut State University on Saturday, Aug. 31. Since then they’ve pulled out a 5-4 win over William Patterson University, but suffered a 5-4 loss to Skidmore College on Saturday, Sept. 7 and a 3-1 loss to Montclair State yesterday.
The New Paltz Women’s Field Hockey team will then take to the road to match off against Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 4:00 p.m.