The women’s lacrosse team had dropped six-straight games before beating SUNY Potsdam 8-7 in overtime on Wednesday, April 19. The Hawks are currently 1-5 in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play this season with two games left in the season.
The chances of New Paltz making the SUNYAC Tournament are slim, with the Hawks needing to win out the rest of their season to make the playoffs.
The top six teams in the conference will make the playoffs, which begin on Tuesday, May 2. The Hawks currently sit in the eighth seed behind SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Oneonta, who carry 1-4 and 2-3 records in conference play, respectively.
The team recently dropped close matchups against SUNY Oswego and Buffalo State. Both of the matches saw the Hawks lose by two goals apiece without fourth-year midfielder Alexa Criollo.
Criollo is out with a broken foot and last played against SUNY Geneseo on Saturday, April 8. She had eight goals in her last four games prior to her potential season-ending injury.
“The last two games were close and we were without somebody who has played major minutes for us the whole year,” Hawks head coach Keith Detelj said. “That obviously affects how we play a little bit, but I think the girls are stepping up a little bit and coming into their own.”
In the game against SUNY Oswego on Tuesday, April 11, the Hawks saw third-year midfielder Kayla Massena tally a hat trick on six shots. Other notable offensive performances came from second-year midfielder Rachael Purtell, fourth-year attacker Melissa Wagner and first-year midfielder Emily Puciloski, who each tallied a goal.
The Hawks and Lakers battled back and forth the whole game, with the score being 6-4 at halftime. Both teams finished with two goals in the second half, and the Hawks were unable to overcome an 8-6 final score.
Massena kept her team alive throughout the game, scoring the tying goal in the first half to knot the game at 2-2. She then scored her second of the day and ninth of the season to bring the team to a 6-4 deficit. Her final goal came in the second half to get her team within two.
She has four goals in her last two games, including a score in the matchup against Buffalo State a few days later.
“I think Kayla has definitely stepped up quite a bit,” Detelj said. “We’ve put her in the role where she has the ball in her hands a little bit more. She’s done very well with her decisions.
“We had an injury to one of our top players, Alexa. When that happens, a door opens up for other people to step up and we’re seeing that with some players.”
In the following game, Wagner stepped up and recorded a hat trick in New Paltz’s conference loss against the Bengals. She scored all three of her goals in the second half.
With her team down 3-1 coming out of the first half, Wagner scored back-to-back goals to tie the game up at three. Third-year attack Caitlyn Morris tacked on another score to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead.
Wagner scored her third goal of the game to extend New Paltz’s lead to 5-3, but the Bengals scored four unanswered goals in the final 22 minutes to seal a comeback win at North Turf Field.
New Paltz outshot the Bengals, 19-17 and held a 33-25 edge in ground balls. Both teams ended the game with six free-position shots each.
“Our shooting is where we need to be cleaning up,” Detelj said. “We’re getting our chances, it’s just about finishing them. With a little more focus in those areas, we’ll be coming out with wins.”
The Hawks will face-off against SUNY Fredonia on Saturday, April 22 in New Paltz’s second to last game of the season. Fredonia is currently 2-11 with a 1-4 conference record.
Detelj believes that the team needs to be efficient with their shooting and also play the full game to win their final two games.
“I think when we do go up, we have to stay up and keep the momentum going,” he said. “If they call timeout or we give up a few turnovers, we have to get through it and put three, four or five goals in a row on somebody. It’s a huge hurdle for us to get over and responding with a goal instead of letting them catch up to us.”