The SUNY New Paltz women’s lacrosse team fell in their season opener at home on Saturday to the Utica College Pioneers, 14-7.
Last season, the Lady Hawks went 8-8. They bowed out of the playoffs in the initial round against the Brockport Golden Eagles, losing 17-8 after a first half scoring spree by Brockport. The Pioneers went 13-4 in 2019, losing in the first round of the Empire 8 Conference Tournament to the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks, 11-6.
Four seniors on the team graduated at the end of last season, so the Hawks’ introduced eight new first-year faces on their roster for their 2020 campaign.
New Paltz began the game with momentum on their side, putting five quick shots on Utica’s fourth-year goalie Hali Vandermeulen in the first five minutes. However, the Pioneers struck gold and scored five minutes and one second into the game to put an end to the Hawks’ momentum.
Utica followed up their initial goal with two more in a span of five minutes, giving them the 3-0 advantage. The Hawks answered their opposition’s scoring spree with a goal by third-year attacker Amy Hofer at 17:41, putting the team on the board.
Last season, Hofer was a dominating force, scoring an impressive 42 goals and 50 points. Her teammate, third-year midfielder Tara Bovich, led the team in the goals and points category, barely topping out over Hofer with 46 goals and 61 points.
A little more than four minutes later, Bovich tacked another goal on for the Hawks, bringing their goal deficit down to just one.
Unfortunately, their resurgence was short-lived as Utica’s fourth-year midfielder Kaitlynn Palmer and third-year attacker Stephanie Husnay landed shots into the Hawks’ net within nearly 90 seconds of one another to give their team the 5-2 advantage.
Nearly halfway through the first half, Hofer tallied her second goal of the game, cutting the Hawks’ disadvantage to 5-3. However, Husnay scored her third goal of the match with 4:06 remaining to close out the scoring for the first half and give her team a 6-3 lead.
With the Hawks down by three going into the latter stage of the match, they had an arduous mountain to climb. Frustratingly for the Lady Hawks, the Pioneers scored two goals off the start of the second half, bringing their lead up to 8-3.
Despite another goal from Hofer to bring the Hawks closer to their opponent, Utica was steadily pulling away. The Pioneers scored four unanswered goals, with Husnay, third-year attacker Lauren Wolff, and two from second-year attacker/midfielder Lexi Scaccia, respectively, adding on to their team’s building total.
Yet the Hawks still had some fight in them. First-year midfielder Shannon Brosnan, second-year attacker Katie Zito and fourth-year attacker Jennifer O’Leary, respectively, scored three in a row to bring the total number of New Paltz goals to seven.
Utica added two more in the closing stages of the game, coming from Scaccia and lastly first-year midfielder Reva Mussi to close out the game and give the Pioneers the 14-7 victory.
The ladies in blue and orange will face the Hawks from Hartwick College on home turf on Saturday at noon before embarking on a lengthy two-week road trip, including a multiple-day trip to Colorado.