On Wednesday, March 24 the New Paltz women’s lacrosse team traveled to Cortland for their first game of the season. Historically, Cortland has beaten New Paltz with a large margin. The last three matchups have seen a New Paltz loss 6-21, 5-15 and 6-20. Many wondered whether that would be the case again.
It would not be. New Paltz arrived at Cortland ready to play, and showed a fierce performance offensively and defensively. Although in the end the Hawks fell 17-18, it was the closest they got to Cortland since 2013. Seeing as Cortland already had two games under their belt before the matchup, New Paltz fans should be nothing but proud.
Within the first minute of the game, both New Paltz and Cortland scored. Fourth-year attacker Tara Bovich proved to be the Hawks’ hero early on. In just 172 seconds, Bovich scored the first three New Paltz goals. Fourth-year attacker Amy Hofer was also a force to be reckoned with and scored early, too, bringing the Hawks to a quick 4-2 lead.
“It felt great to score those goals so early in the game,” Bovich said. “I think it excited my teammates even more to compete against a good team like Cortland and show off our talent. I think it definitely pumped up the team and made us play more confidently throughout the rest of the game.”
The Red Dragons scored a few times in between Bovich’s fourth goal and Hofer’s second, proving how difficult the game would be. The game tied up several times. It was even tied up at 11-11 with 53 seconds left in the first half, but Cortland got a goal with 12 seconds to spare.
A highlight of the second half was first-year midfielder Kaitlyn Shaw. She picked up her first collegiate goal and assist.
The second half continued to mirror the first. It was a very back and forth nail biting game. In the second half alone the game was tied three times: 12-12 at 28:11, 13-13 at 21:55 and 14-14 at 19:31.
With two minutes and 45 seconds left, New Paltz was down by two. It would come down to the wire to get the win. At 2:14 fourth-year midfielder Keydy Espinoza scored assisted by Hofer bringing the score to 18-17, Cortland.
With a valiant effort the Hawks attempted to tie the game, but in the end the clock ran out. Still, the game proved that the upcoming rematch on April 24 should be an exciting one.
“I don’t think Cortland knew what was coming,” Bovich said. “We definitely proved to them that we’re a super competitive team who will be fighting hard for a playoff spot. [In April] we will be more patient on offense and wait for the best opportunities to shoot closer and smarter shots on goal.”
New Paltz’s March 27 game against Plattsburgh was postponed, but they will be hosting Oneonta on Wednesday, March 31 at 4 p.m. Oneonta is another team New Paltz has struggled with in the past. Will the momentum from the Cortland game carry them to a win?