Hawks Fall to Utica in Empire 8 Opener

UTICA, NY Hartwick fell in its first Empire 8 Conference game of the season on Saturday, 13-5, to Utica at Charles Gaetano Stadium. The Hawks battled to Pioneers to a one-goal game through the opening 25 minutes, but six straight Pioneers goals would widen the gap. 'Wick trimmed the deficit to three in the second half, but UC pulled away in the final 18 minutes for the win.

The Hawks slip to 3-5 overall on the season. The Pioneers improve to 6-1, which is their best start in program history.

Utica started the scoring 1:12 into the contest on an unassisted tally from Jennifer Rogalski. It also marked her first goal of the year. The Hawks came back exactly three minutes later as Hartwick leading scorer Emily Jweid (Marcy, NY/Whitesboro) netted the first of her team-best two goals on the day.

Over six minutes elapsed with the game knotted at 1-1 until senior Erin Doyle (Syracuse, NY/Corcoran) beat UC goalie Stephanie Belanger for the 2-1 Hartwick advantage at 19:27. Up to that point, the Hawks held a 6-2 advantage in shots.

UC's Morgan DuPont answered for her team 47 seconds later on a free-position goal. It would mark the first of her game-high four goals on the day.

Both teams' defenses held up through the next six minutes as neither team was even able to attempt a shot. DuPont broke the goalless streak with 11:04 left in the half on the free-position and UC led 3-2.

Once again the defenses did not give up much as only one shot was allowed over the next six minutes of action. Louise Steele-Norton would score off a feed from Colleen Dowling with 4:52 left to double the Pioneer lead, 4-2.

DuPont would give her squad a three-goal cushion with 2:40 remaining. Courtney Wheeler assisted on the play and the Hawks went into halftime trailing by a count of 5-2.

Early in the second half, the Hawks had an opportunity to pull to within two, but Jackie Moynihan's (West Islip, NY/West Islip) free-position shot was blocked. Just over a minute later, DuPont's fourth goal of the game made the score 6-2. Steele-Norton extended the advantage to five at 27:16 on the man-up.

Kia Ference (Schenectady, NY/Schenectady) stopped the Utica run at 25:33 with her fifteenth goal of the year and 'Wick was within four, 7-3. Jweid would inch the Hawks closer as she scored on the free-position for her eighteenth goal of the season with 22:36 left to play and Utica's lead was just three.

'Wick had two shots at making it a two-goal deficit in the next minute of action but Belanger would come up with the key stops in the Utica cage. She stopped two free-position shots one from Ference and one from Jweid to keep the Hawks at bay.

With 18:05 remaining, Wheeler extended the UC lead to 8-4 with a free-position goal. Later, two goals from Dowling and Megan Kane 58 seconds apart would make it a 10-4 game with 12:26.

The Hawks won the ensuing draw and worked for a good shot. They got it from Meg Luce (Saratoga Springs, NY/Saratoga Springs), who scored her eleventh goal of the year with under 11 minutes to go.

Unfortunately for Hartwick, it would mark its final goal of the day. The Hawks fired five more shots on Belanger the rest of the way, three of them on the free-position. Belanger would stop three of the five shots with the other two sailing of-target. UC would add three scores in the final eight minutes for the 13-5 final.

UC had advantages in shots (29-19), ground balls (32-26), and caused turnovers (18-15). The Hawks won 12 draws to Utica's eight. It marks the fifth straight game the Hawks have earned more draws than their opponent.

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