NEW PALTZ, N.Y. - The Simmons College field hockey team was defeated by host State University of New York at New Paltz, 1-0, in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament this afternoon at North Turf Field in New Paltz, N.Y. The Sharks finish their season with a 14-5 record, while the Hawks improve to 16-5 and advance to face Messiah College on Saturday, November 14 in a second round match that will be played at regional host The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township, N.J.
SUNY New Paltz controlled the first 15 minutes of the opening half with 10 penalty corners, including four in the first four minutes of action. Simmons was able to defend the first three shots from the Hawks in the opening minutes of the period, but was unable to survive another offensive rush by New Paltz. Sophomore midfielder Hayley Kim (West Hurley, N.Y.) inserted the ball off a penalty corner to senior back Jessica Caruana (Holbrook, N.Y.), who blasted a shot from the top of the circle that was saved by Sharks' junior midfielder Amy Wilson (Falmouth, Mass.). Kim then collected the rebound and tipped it into the goal to give New Paltz a 1-0 lead.
That goal broke a streak of 323:38 scoreless minutes of defense from Simmons, as the Sharks had not allowed a goal since Oct. 17.
New Paltz held a 10-0 shot and penalty corner advantage at the half, but the Simmons defense limited the home team to just one score.
The Sharks had one of their best scoring chances of the afternoon just 47 seconds into the second half, as sophomore forward Julie Saltamartini (East Hampstead, N.H.) broke past the New Paltz back line at the midfield and had a one-on-one opportunity, with senior goalkeeper Alayna Wageman (Getzville, N.Y.) being the last line of defense for the Hawks. Wageman charged out of the goal and met Saltamartini at the top of the circle, knocking the ball away to avert the Simmons scoring chance.
Minutes later, Saltamartini nearly leveled the score again for the Sharks, ripping off a shot into what appeared to be a vacant left side of the cage, but senior midfielder Dani Ackerman (Nesconset, N.Y.) came up with a defensive save for New Paltz. Simmons tried to take advantage of one last offensive opportunity when junior forward Madeline Koufos (Needham, Mass.) tipped a shot that was kicked away by Wageman in the 67th minute.
Simmons junior keeper Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) turned back a pair of shots from the Hawks off a penalty corner in the 43rd minute of play. Junior forward Kayla McKeveny (Holbrook, N.Y) and sophomore forward Sam Eberle (Hamburg, N.Y.) were both denied by Rastello.
Rastello finished the match with eight saves, while Wageman made a pair of saves to post her fifth shutout of the season.