Women’s Lacrosse Starts Season Strong

Fourth-year co-captain Melissa Wagner became the first Hawk in seven years to receive SUNYAC Player of the Week honors. Photo courtesy of sports information.

The women’s lacrosse team has surpassed its win total from last season. The Hawks currently have a record of 4-1 and have won their last three contests.

“This year we’re a whole different team,” fourth-year co-captain Nicole Petrullo said. “We have new coaches, new girls and a whole new attitude. We are more competitive this year and we are determined to make program history.”

After losing to Hartwick College in a game where New Paltz led 10-5 halfway through the second half, the Hawks bounced back to earn victories over Elmira College and United States Merchant Marine Academy over spring break.

The matchup against the Soaring Eagles was originally scheduled to be at Elmira on Thursday, March 23, but the location was shifted to New Paltz due to poor field conditions.

The Hawks defeated the Soaring Eagles 13-7. The score stood at 5-3 in favor of New Paltz at halftime, but Elmira came back to tie the score at 5-all with 24:32 remaining in the second half. A goal by Hawks fourth-year midfielder Alexa Criollo, assisted by third-year midfielder Kayla Massena, gave New Paltz back the lead at the 23:05 mark. The Soaring Eagles tied the game again less than a minute later on a goal by first-year attacker Rachael Goetz. However, the Hawks allowed Elmira only one more goal and scored seven of their own to claim the victory.

Hawks fourth-year co-captains Melissa Wagner and Nicole Gottschalk, Criollo and third-year attacker Caitlyn Morris led the offense with three goals each. Fourth-year attacker Nicole Stackpole also scored a goal and won a match-high four draw controls. Second-year defender Ashley Seiter and first-year midfielder Jahna Beiling held down the defense with three and two caused turnovers, respectively. Second-year goalkeeper Kendra Dansereau recorded a season-high nine saves in the victory.

New Paltz then defeated USMMA on Saturday, March 25 by a score of 14-5. The Hawks scored the first four goals of the game and dominated throughout the contest.

Wagner, Gottschalk and Morris each scored three goals for the second-straight game, with Wagner adding a career-high three assists. Second-year attacker Taylor Russell and first-year midfielder Emily Puciloski recorded two goals each, while first-year midfielder Jennifer O’Leary chipped in with one goal. Petrullo caused a season-high four turnovers, while Dansereau made two stops in net.

On Tuesday, March 28 the Hawks escaped with an 8-7 victory against Cazenovia College. New Paltz held an 8-1 advantage at halftime, but the Wildcats battled back to make it a one point game with 00:19 remaining in the match. Second-year midfielder Rachael Purtell won the following draw control and maintained possession to give the Hawks the win.

Wagner, Gottschalk and Purtell all scored two goals, with Purtell adding four ground balls and the game-winning goal. Stackpole and Massena added one goal each, while Dansereau made three saves in net.

On Monday, March 27 it was announced that Wagner was named the SUNYAC Women’s Lacrosse Player of the Week. She is the first Hawk to receive the honor since Brianna Horn was named Player of the Week back in 2012.

Hawks head coach Keith Detelj credits his team’s success to the fact that his players have been challenging each other on a daily basis.

“The team’s determination is to be better than they were yesterday and bring a teammate along with them in the process,” Detelj said. “The team continues each day to push each other and test their resilience and drive to adapt and overcome new challenges.”

New Paltz next hosts Farmingdale State College on Thursday, March 30 at 3 p.m. before beginning State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play against No. 9 SUNY Cortland on Saturday, April 1 at 1 p.m. on the North Turf Field.

“Coming out of spring break 4-1 has boosted our confidence in ourselves as a team,” Gottschalk said. “We know that we have what it takes to be a winning team and having this much success prior to conference play definitely is motivating us.”