Women’s Lacrosse Opens Season with 10-9 Loss to Utica

Fourth-year midfielder Rachael Purtell is tied for most goals on the team with two. (Photo courtesy of Robin Weinstein/Office of Communications and Marketing)

The New Paltz women’s lacrosse team started their 2019 campaign off with a hard fought battle at Utica College on Friday, March 1, losing 10-9. 

“A month is a long time to be in preseason, especially with fluctuating temperature and weather conditions,” said fourth-year offensive midfielder Rachael Purtell. “We were just excited to finally get out there and show everyone and each other what we’ve been able to put together so far.” 

The scoring started early, with the first goal coming just after two minutes of play. After a turnover by the Hawks, a ground ball pickup and clearance by Utica third-year defense Devon Burri led to the games first goal by second-year attack Stephanie Hunsay. 

New Paltz would come back less than a minute later and tie the game at the hands of second-year attacker Tara Bovich. From there, the Pioneers broke the game open with four consecutive goals in a fifteen minute span to put them ahead 5-1with 12 minutes to play in the first half. 

The Hawks woke up in the final 12 minutes and were relentless. In a four-minute span, goals by Bovich, Purtell, fourth-year defensive midfielder Ashley Seiter and a free position goal by second-year attacker Amy Hofer evened the score at five and closed out the first half scoring.

The action would pick up again in the second with the Hawks getting things started just three minutes in. After a ground ball pickup and clearance by Seiter, first-year attack Kathleen Zito put one in the back of the net to give New Paltz their first lead on the day, 6-5. 

Utica was equally persistent, quickly answering back with three consecutive goals in three minutes. A free position goal by first-year midfield Jessie Biegel and two goals by third-year midfield Kaitlynn Palmer made it 8-6 Pioneers. 

The Hawks would inch closer less than a minute later with a goal by second-year offensive midfielder Keydy Espinoza. However, just as they did all day, Utica continued to put the ball in the back of the net with a goal just two minutes later to extend their lead to 9-7 with 20 minutes left to play. 

Once again, New Paltz would come back just three minutes later with two goals in less than a minute. Two free position shots by Purtell and Hofer evened the score at nine with 17 minutes to play. 

The dagger would come just 40 seconds later when Utica first-year midfield Lexi Scaccia put one past Hawks second-year goalie Haley Timarky for the 10-9 victory. 

“We wanted to have constant action, which would allow us to play free and fast. When we had good tempo consistently we had better urgency on both sides of the ball,” said Hawks head coach Keith Detelj. “When we didn’t, Utica did a good job of finding opportunity and capitalizing. We lost because we didn’t make it our game.”

The Lady Hawks will look to turn things around when they travel to Oneonta on Saturday, March 9 to take on Hartwick College. 

“Although the outcome of the game wasn’t what we were hoping for, our offense and defense communicated very well on both sides of the field,” Bovich said. “I think we mainly struggled with our transitions in the middle of the field, along with missing multiple ground ball opportunities. Now we know the feeling of defeat and hopefully won’t let our mistakes result in any more losses.”