By Monica D’Ippolito
BINGHAMTON – The State University of New York at New Paltz never spoke once about getting back into the SUNYAC Championship game.
The Hawks’ three-straight dynasty run ended last spring against the Oneonta Red Dragons and all year coach Rob Bruley set up his schedule to prepare his team for a run at the program’s eighth conference title. On Saturday, they finally avenged that loss to the same Red Dragons team but this time left no doubt who the better team was, sweeping Oneonta, 5-0 to re-claim a coveted SUNYAC Championship.
“It’s haunted me for 52 weeks,” Bruley said. “We’ve never talked about it all year. We didn’t say a word of getting to the final. It wasn’t until last night when we got through that we even mentioned that we’re playing Oneonta in the final.
“I’m always relived,” he continued. “I’m pleased to say – I was a bit more relaxed today. I said to the team try and enjoy it. You never know what’s going to happen and if you’ll be back and I think they did enjoy it. I think they made the college and the whole athletic department proud.”
SUNY New Paltz swept doubles play to gain a quick 3-0 lead to start with Justine Stanejko and Loretta Donovan winning at first doubles, 8-1 and Isabel van der Venn and Alex Chimenti also earning an 8-1 win at third doubles. Second doubles was tight, but Onalee Batcheller and Tatiana Barnett grinded out a tough win, 8-6 to clean up doubles play.