The Leopards Are Ready For The Raiders

Rather than than a written article I thought I might just publish several pictures from last friday. The pictures were taken and posted by go leopards and they show a team that rose to the occasion and is capable of a great athletic effort. A similar effort on Saturday in Hamilton would be a great reward after the long trek by fans to Hamilton New York. It looks like there will be no live stream of the game, but there will be live stats!!  Go Pards!!

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Amanda Magadan takes to the air as the Boston Goalie tries to take her out..the result was a goal
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Ami Turner takes to the turf for the turnover
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Kristen Taylor is escorted by Cam Costello up the field
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Sam Di Maio will not be denied
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Kaitlynn Ewing steps over a fallen Boston player pursuing the ball

Beware The Colgate Raiders

 

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Kelsey Mead advances the ball in the 2012 win against Colgate

On friday, Lafayette will board a bus to make the trek to upstate New York, and their homecoming meeting with the Colgate Raiders. The Leopards arrive with a 6-3 record in tow, and still glowing in the victory that left them 1-0 in the Patriot League, having beaten the  league preseason favorite and number 9 ranked team in the nation. Colgate is 1-10 and 0-2  on the season. So why am I writing “BEWARE THE COLGATE RAIDERS.”

In recent years Colgate has managed to be a tough opponent despite their record, especially in Hamilton, New York. Not only will the Leopards be greeted by a cold, cloudy fall day, but it will be homecoming for a team that is 0-2 in the league with a loss that would put them within one loss of being eliminated from post-season play. On the other hand a win by Lafayette would make them 2-0 in league play and one step closer, to not only post season play, but hosting the two day tournament.

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Haley Keenan scored the overtime goal in semifinal win against Colgate 4-3

The last visit to Hamilton ended in disappointment as Colgate won 1-0 eliminating Lafayette from the tournament. This was done despite a 14-9 advantage in shots and 12-7 advantage in corners. Colgate was helped with 8 saves. But close games are not rare between these two teams. In 2012 the regular season game was won by Lafayette 6-1 but only after a 1-0 lead by Colgate in the first half. The Leopards outshot Colgate 33-5 but the Colgate goalie came up with 15 saves. Colgate did make it to the  semi final of the Patriot League tournament and gave Lafayette fits as the Leopards needed overtime to score a 4-3 win after a goal by Haley Keenan. The Leopards led in shots 28-7, corners 19-2,  with the Colgate goalie getting 14 saves. Lafayette went on to win the tournament making later appearances against eventual national champion Princeton and defending champion Maryland.

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Ellen Colbourne provided the game winner early against Colgate last year.

In 2013 the Leopards fell behind 2-0 in the first half before coming from behind to win 4-3. Last year at home the Leopards locked up a Patriot League Tournament bid with  1-0 win against the 0-15 Raiders. It was Ellen Coulbourne’s first half goal that was to provide the difference.

This year, the Raiders despite their record, have come up with good efforts. Against Boston they held the Terriers to a 0-0 tie in the first half. In the second half, Boston found solutions to Colgate’s defense and won going away 9-0. Last saturday Holy Cross needed overtime to win 2-1 at Colgate. The next day Colgate saw Rider launch 41 shots to their 3, and give up 13 corners to their 1. Remarkably the Raider goalkeeper made 27 saves.

I have written about desperate teams and Colgate certainly has their back to the wall. But they will be at home, during homecoming. The Leopards should not take them lightly. I had counted this game as a  must win before the season. I have not changed my mind.

Delaware Puts Together A Strong First Half To Give The Blue Hens A 5-1 Win

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Rachael Bird shows her form, skill and strength delivering the ball upfield

Delaware managed to get off eight first half shots and finding the goal on four of the them to down the Leopards five to one. Meeting their second top 15 opponent in three days, the Leopards came out sluggish, not demonstrating the same quickness that helped them to defeat the number nine team two days before. Delaware also had four corners to the Leopards none in that first period. The four goal lead came despite Coach Stone’s attempt to get fresh legs into the contest, substituting at a rate nearly twice that of Delaware during the game.

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Liza Welch pins a Delaware player to the sideline

The Leopards, however were to make some half time adjustments, and the stats did even themselves out with the Leopards getting more shots (6-4) and more corners ( 6-1) in the second period. The redoubled effort enabled Lafayette to get on the board with a Lisa Van der Geest strike at 55:11 into the contest. It was a hard shot to the left side of the goal. Kaitlyn Ewing was at the post ready to deflect it, but the ball passed the goal mouth unmolested. Delaware was to score one more time to finish the scoring, giving the Blue Hens the final 5-1 victory.

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Aliza Furneaux drives the ball into the Lafayette side of the field

After the game Head Coach Stone opined that Delaware may have been the strongest opponent of the year to date. It would be hard to dispute that statement, as Delaware showed skill and speed during the afternoon. In any case, Coach Stone felt there was something to be learned and applied in the coming games.

Lafayette returns to Patriot League play next Saturday at 11:00 am for a homecoming game in Hamilton, New York against Colgate University. Last week the Raiders held Boston University to a 0-0 tie in the first half before succumbing 9-0. This week they lost an overtime game to Holy Cross. Traveling to Hamilton and playing Colgate has had its challenges for Lafayette. Two years ago the Leopards lost a 1-0 game there, despite dominating on shots and corners. Colgate managed a late shot getting the upset win. Last  year’s game was equally close with Lafayette getting the win.

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Amanda Magadan speeds upfield

Lafayette does have the deeper bench but will be playing at homecoming with Colgate, who will be desperate  not to end up 0-3 in the Patriot League at the end of the day. Lafayette will want to keep marching forward on  their trek, to not only have a 2-0 record in league play, but advance their chances for a playoff slot and perhaps host the championship at home. They will travel the day before and hopefully arrive with fresh legs and energy in upstate New York!!

 

 

Leopards Rise To The Occasion And Beat Number Nine Boston University

First a confession, as I drove to the game tonight I rehearsed in my mind paths to victory against Boston University, a team that had won seven straight games,  blanking their opponents for over 150 minutes. Yes, Lafayette was 5-2, a record not to be taken lightly, but as I had written, I thought this team had not played their best game yet. But tonight, they demonstrated the heart and character that Coach Stone always says she looks for in her players when she recruits. This is one of those games these athletes will look back on 50 years from now, seared in their memory. If I were to name the players who made significant contributions to this win, it would include every player on the roster including those who did not make it onto the field. This was a total team effort. The above video captures the intensity close to the field in its beginning moments.

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Meg Lillis splits the defense on a drive upfield

The evening started on a downer as I learned that Lafayette’s leading scorer and reigning Patriot League rookie of the week, Rosa Jonckheer would not be playing due to an injury. But this was a night of character and leadership, that would allow this team to overcome obstacles. Leadership belonged tonight to the coaches and seniors. Amanda Magadan was seen all over the field inspiring and encouraging her team. Her unassisted goal at 21:09  was a tribute to her skill and perseverance. As she dribbled past several BU defenders she was not to be denied. She ended very near the end line at the left post at difficult angle on the goalie’s stick side. She reversed her stick and found the right corner of the cage slamming home a goal that was to be the difference for most of the game. Lafayette goalie and senior, Katelyn Arnold had the best game of the season, preserving the 1-0  Lafayette edge for all but the last four minutes and twenty two seconds. In those sixty five minutes and eighteen  seconds she was to turn away corners and field shots that seemed to energize the team after every save. But it was her later heroics in the overtime and shootout that would stand out equally well in my memory.

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Aliza Furneaux closes in on the BU defender

Even after the tying goal by Hester  van der Laan,  which was scored after an initial save by Arnold, it became clear to many, that Lafayette was not going to collapse. Again and again Magadan was to put Lafayette in position. Senior Ami Turner, as is customary for her, was found diving and making plays all night while getting 2 shots. It was up to the fourth senior Aliza Furneaux to provide the ultimate strike in the last shot of the shootout.

The overtime periods were to provide drama as Boston was to get two shots on two corners which were turned away by Arnold and the defense. Lafayette even survived a green card to  Ami Turner in the seventh minute of the first  overtime. But the Leopard defense stood tall. Both teams fought exhaustion as they faced a second fifteen minute overtime. This time each team was get off a shot, one by Hester van der Laan and one by Amanda Magadan with less than two minutes remaining in the second overtime.

The shootout….Each team lined up as each goalie was to face five field players attempting to score in eight seconds. The first up was Ally Hamel, the three time patriot league defender of the week… miss, as Arnold turned the shot away…next was Ami Turner who could not find the cage in her turn….second round was to see Grace Boston score for BU, Amanda Magadan was to take her turn and was taken out by the goalie but was to sweep the ball in anyway while on the ground…tied!! Taylor Blood scores on her turn.. Ellen Colbourne appears to score,  bouncing  the ball off the inside high post and the official rules no goal, Coach Stone and Magadan have an unfruitful discussion with the officials ( replay will show it was a goal), Hester van der Laan misses on her turn, sophomore Kristen Taylor fakes out BU goalie Cammy Jensen and scores, knotting the game once again, BU’s Allie Renzi get close on her turn, but the ball bounces harmlessly to the side…… Last shooter is Lafayette’s senior Aliza Furneaux, she moves to the right, blocked by Jensen, but takes control of the rebound and pulls back placing the ball in the cage one second before time expires…Leopards beat the number nine team in the nation, the preseaon pick for patriot league champion, and take a huge step forward to the league tournament.

http://www.Goleopards.com captures the moment in a picture you should see. I was too frozen in my seat to get down to the field to record it, but I have a mental DVR of it along with the rest of this game I can keep forever!!

 

 

Leopards Drop One 4-1 Against Hofstra; Must Start Thinking About Boston U

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Amanda Magadan and Amy Turner go after the ball in the first half

It was a threatening day in more ways than one. First, there was the challenge of driving proximate to New York City on a work day. Second there was the uncertainty of bad weather that could delay a game at a field that had no lights. Third, once arrived we found out that instructions to park adjacent to the playing field was changed and parking was not allowed because it was secured because of the presidential debate next week (really!!?). That applied to handicapped as well as the team bus. That decision was made about the same time as the game was to start. So there was the 1/4 to 1/2 mile walk to and from the field with a potential thunder storm on the way.

On the positive side there were more Lafayette fans than Hofstra fans! The game started out like Lafayette was to dominate. It was a beautiful aggressive start as the team marched down to the Hofstra side of the field challenging from the beginning. It was exciting aggressive hockey. After about five minutes had passed, the Leopards lined up for a corner and you just knew good things were going to happen…..goal!! Van der Geest rockets a ball towards the goal and Magadan finishes with a Lillis assist. Our heroes are ahead one to zip!!

At this point we were all hoping we could add to our advantage and have a comfortable win. Hofstra had other ideas. After the goal ,instead of being demoralized the home team buckled down and for the rest of the game delivered 4 unanswered goals. The seriousness of Hofstra was demonstrated in the fact they only used 3 substitutes all game keeping their best players on the field right to end as they scored with minutes left. It was a sad, disappointing drive home for fans and  I am sure for the team as well.

As I have said on numerous occasions, this is a good team but we are reaching a crucial, difficult part of the schedule and this three game stretch has its challenges, Hofstra was the first, but the Leopards will now meet the number 9 and 11th ranked teams in succession. Boston, our first challenge on Friday night is a “twofer.” The patriot league championship goes through them, and as a ranked team it is an opportunity to stake out a claim for higher aspirations.

I truly believe we have the talent, and the next two days of preparations, I am sure will be intense. However, it will be the mental preparation that will be paramount in having a successful outcome. It is one reason I love sports, and little understood by the uninitiated  . It is the difference between casual games for recreation ,and a real contest in a competitive sport. Much like real life. Go Pards!!

 

 

 

Lafayette Powers To 2-0 Win on Youth Field Hockey Day

 

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Liza Welch, Cody Hunsicker and Ellen Colbourne show a future star how its done in pre game ceremonies

In a game that featured Lafayette taking 30 shots, the Leopards controlled the space between the 25s dominating play in the offensive part of the field. Towson managed only two shots the whole game, forcing Lafayette captain Kaitlyn Arnold to make only one save in the first shut out of the season for the Maroon and White.

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Aliza Furneaux and Amanda Magadan set up the attack

As part of youth hockey day the local young players got a chance to hang with their division one heroes, and were part of the opening ceremonies of the game. They were treated to a game that was dominated on both sides of the field by Lafayette. All that can be said was, there were additional scoring opportunities that the home team could have capitalized on.

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Rosa Jonckheer delivers a goal early in the first period

Rosa Jonckheer and Coach Stone, in an interview after the game said they would have liked to have seen more scoring. Rosa who scored the opening goal with barely 4 minutes ticked off the game clock was optimistic about the team’s progress so far and was confident that more scoring would be seen in the future, as the team moves forward. Rosa scored off of a penalty corner and was very active the whole game, and was recognized as a threat by Towson. She was marked very closely, in fact, in the second period it appeared she was illegally held  by the goalie on one occasion. It was a flagrant and obvious foul. Given it would have been the second foul on the goalie, she certainly would have been ejected.

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Meg Lillis, Amanda Magadan, and Liza Welch look for an opening during an offensive corner

In any case, Amanda Magadan delivered her strike as the result of an awarded penalty stroke for a violation close into the Towson goal in the second half. It was Amanda’s second goal of the season, and Rosa’s fourth. The game was never in doubt and I would say most fans were fairly comfortable after the second goal by Magadan.

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Amanda Magadan sees Theressa Delahanty open in the attacking circle

The next several games represent increasing challenges for the Leopards as they will meet Hofstra on Monday at Hofstra, and then return home as they will face the number nine team in the country, and preseason league favorite, Boston University followed by another top twenty team Delaware a week from Sunday. On the positive side of the ledger, I believe we have not seen this team’s best game yet. Next Friday would be a good time to unveil it. There is no doubt the talent is there. However, first things first with a good Hofstra team!!

Both Coach Stone and the team are looking forward to these three games and the challenge it will bring.

 

Towson Up Next

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Rosa Jonckheer and Ami Turner fly towards the circle

This may be the first regular season meeting of these two teams. The two teams have met in a preseason scrimmage several years ago. Towson plays its home games at Johnny Unitas Stadium which is carpeted with field turf, not the ideal surface for the modern field hockey game. That may explain in part their 0-3 road record. Their offense in six games has only generated 3 goals. The defense on the other hand has allowed 20 goals on 143 shots. They have an excellent goaltender who according to their stats has an 80 per cent save number.

We all know having a hot goal keeper can even things out and the Leopards should be mindful of past games when we dominated shots on goal and still lost. ( I still remember games with Holy Cross and Colgate that had the Leopards well ahead in shots and still lost). Yes, Lafayette will get shots, but they need to be good shots.

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Amanda Magadan spots an open attacker

Another area for concentration would be an improvement in corners. Most teams will connect 20 percent of the time on corners to score a goal. Those opportunities can not be squandered.

The Leopards will soon be entering the crucial part of the schedule with Boston University next Friday at Rappolt Field. The next two games will be good opportunities to  polish our corners, get good shots, and work on  the details of the game that will benefit the team in the season’s home stretch.

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Rosie Shanks works her way towards the goal

The Patriot League continues mixed results. Bucknell at home has been impressive having beaten Rutgers and Albany at home, but losing to Princeton and Penn State away. Last night they were hammered 9-1 by the Nittany Lions. Boston is undefeated with their last outing being their first game they won by more than one goal. ( UCAL 5-0). American was soundly beaten by Maryland 6-2 and ODU 2-1, but won over Richmond, JMU, Fairfield and William and Mary. Colgate has lost all but one and there have been mixed results from Holy Cross and Lehigh.

This is where I get to whine a little. It is three weeks into the season and we have had NOT ONE player noted in the league players of the week. Lafayette sports the second best record in league, it’s time our players get recognized. I predict this will be the week. On the other hand I’ll take our won/loss record any day of the week. Go Pards!!