Coaching Carousel Gets Active

 

image_handler.aspxThere were two announcements today, that Patriot League fans can relate to. First, is the filling of the Head Coach position at Temple University. Susan Ciufo who comes from Division 2 Stonehill College was anointed the next Head Coach of Temple. Susan is no stranger to Philadelphia field hockey as she played her hockey for Drexel. Lafayette fans will remember her as the go to forward in the Drexel fast break. She was an all American third team selection and CAA first team selection three times. She holds the nations record for the longest scoring streak (22). We remember her as an assistant at Lehigh and the interim Head Coach. She was also an asst. coach for her alma mater, Drexel.

Her four year record at Stonehill was 54-27 and they went to the Division 2 NCAA tournament 3 of her four years. Best of luck to Susan we will be looking to compete with you next year.

 

4g4xn2wxxs963dyaAlso announced today was a five year contract extension for 20 year head coach Steve Jennings of American University. His record is an admirable 254-138. My memories include his astounding performance even when American had no field. All their practices were at 6 am at the University of Maryland as was their games. Under Jennings the Eagles have won 10 Patriot League Championships and included 10 NCAA appearances. He was on the coaching staff for two Olympic Games.

Games with American have always been intense. The most memorable for me was the over time Lafayette win on a penalty stroke in 2013 for the Patriot League title. It was a well earned win against a terrific coach and hard working team.

 

Is The Patriot League Improving?

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Molly McAndrews chases a Terrier

Each year Field Hockey Corner does a statistical analysis of the records of all 77 division one schools and ranks them using variables such won loss records, strength of schedule and margin of victory. Although they have several methodologies the most used is RPI. We can use this as a proxy to look at the Patriot League in total, and to individual programs.

Here are the RPI’s of all the Patriot League Schools and their RPI by year. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is calculated by .25 win/loss record + .5 strength of schedule +.25 of opponents’ SOS.

TEAM 2014   2015  2016   2017   2018    5 year average

BU         19        13.      15.     20       24          18.2

AM        37        30.      18.     39       34          31.6

BUC       22        40.      29.     38       40          33.8

Laf         38        43.     45.      53      50          45.8

HC.        77.       66.     54.      60       69          65.2

Col        62.       77.     73.      73       73.          71.6

Leh.      66.       68.     55.      65       74.          65

AVG.    45.8.    56.7    41.3.  49.7     52.          49.1

 

As can be seen, the trend for the league has not been favorable in recent years. It should also be noted that the rankings are bifurcated with a spread of approximately 53 places on average between the top and bottom teams. The rankings over the past 5 years have been fairly consistent. The bottom three teams have coaches that have been there 3 years or less. The top four team range from 38 years for BU and 6 years for Lafayette.

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Does RPI matter?? If our best team wins the PL tournament and they are then seeded by RPI, it can diminish the chances of a PL team advancing. For the bottom teams the goal is to get to the league tournament, so coaches would naturally concentrate on those games between the bottom four. The top teams would like to do well in the non conference schedule to raise the league’s and it’s own RPI. Even if they lose with a small margin in tough non-conference games, their SOS can favorably effect their RPI.

It seems to me, the league can improve their RPI and their individual RPI’s by improving their results in the out of conference schedule. Losing badly to a non-conference foe can reduce  the League’s RPI and reduce other PL team’s strength of schedule once they get into the Patriot part of the season.  Another way to improve, is to search out other decent teams and take them on as associate members of the Patriot League.

All the patriot league teams are in different stages of development and one can only wonder what team has been helped by this recruiting season. I must admit I am a homer and think Lafayette has a good mix of talent ( recruits and veterans that can produce significant wins). I see no reason why Lafayette cannot get into the mid-20’s in 2019. In 2013 they finished the season in the high teens.

Lehigh has 8 recruits at the moment, seemingly with an emphasis on scoring talent. Colgate will return a significant number of veterans.  For Holy Cross this will be a crucial class. Bucknell will need to restock next year as well, and will use local talent to do it. American will rely on a lot on their veterans but they seem to always get a key foreigner to fill in the blanks. I am impressed with BU’s recruits and my sense is that they are not finished.

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Sam DiMaio and Audrey Sawer line up agains a Monmouth player

Spring training is approaching and that is when veteran players develop the fastest. I am looking forward to it, as I am sure the players are!!

 

Add One GK To Holy Cross

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Head Coach Lindsay Jackson filled a huge future hole at goalkeeper by recruiting Emmaliese Lauber from the Illinois. Emma started playing field hockey at 5 years old but it wasn’t until she was nine did she start playing goalkeeper. She grew up in Louisville KY. until she was in eighth grade. Most importantly, when her family moved to Illinois she started playing fo the Windy City hockey club. ( The same club Lafayette’s Greta Kulby played for). Windy City is run by Katie Kaufman Beach and is highly regarded. Katie was an all American at Maryland and an Olympian ( She was a teammate of my daughter who also played with her sister Molly).

Katie writes that Emma was an important contributor to her travel teams and was a key member of several medal winning teams. She will graduate from New Tier High School this June. Beach goes on to say, “she is a consistent and steady goalie…and has strong saves and uses clear, direct communication when organizing her backfield,”

That will bring the number of known recruits to three for Holy Cross.

As the spring season approaches I expect more additions and perhaps the beginning of several coaching changes. Temple and Indiana have still open positions. I will try to keep actively posting as the winter and spring progresses.

Tara Hamilton Joins The Leopards In 2019

As promised, I wanted to add the name of Tara Hamilton to the list of five recruits who will be joining the Leopards next season. Tara has played field hockey at the Canadian national level having played on the provincial team as well as at the national games. Tara will join fellow “Vancouverian”  Audrey Sawers. It is said you can’t coach speed. Her speed and intensity will be an obvious complement to the Leopard attack. Welcome to all our newest Leopards

I didn’t have a picture of Tara but this video will give you an idea of her skills

Lehigh Looks To A Reported Eight Recruits To Bolster 2019 Roster

Max Sports is reporting six commitments for Lehigh in 2019 but last week Lehigh added on their twitter page two more. The two they reported would certainly fill some gapping holes in this 3-15 team. Lehigh had 19 players on the roster and lost 3 to graduation, so by picking up a net of 8 , it would bring their roster to 24, a reasonable size for a division one program with 18 regular season games. However, that 24 will only include two seniors.

The Mountain Hawks and Leopards met in the first league game of the season and the game was worthy of the rivalry as  for the second time in as many years, it went to overtime. This time the Leopards prevailed 3-2. Lafayette had 20 shots and Lehigh goalkeeper was forced to make 10 saves. Regardless of the record, head coach Kaitlyn Dallmeyer appreciates the importance of the “Rivalry.” Next year if the Patriot League rotates the schedule as it has in previous years Lehigh will be the last league game and many of the underclassmen will be veterans at that point.

The two recruits announced by Lehigh and presumably signed NLIs are Maddie Kahn a goal keeper and Abbrianna Gatto an attacker. Last year Lehigh suffered several key injuries, one to their starting goalkeeper, who was lost for four games. Their only replacement was a walk on sophomore.

They also only scored 24 goals against 74 scored against then. They took 180 shots but saw 331 shots in response. Dallmeyer seems determined to improve on that record.

Maddie Kahn:

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Maddie is a goalkeeper from Ocean City High School and played for WC Eagles as many good recruits have. She seems to be an intense athlete and has impressive physical assets, At 5’10″she has reach and her personal statement reflects her determination. She describes herself as “smart, physical, aggressive and vocal on the field.” She also says one v one she is ” not afraid to go to  the ball then use the body to take out someone and protect the net.” Coach Dallmeyer a former all 2007 American GK at Duke should appreciate that.

She was an all league and all American watch list player and a Junior Olympian. In 2018 she made 131 save including 29 saves in her final game in the state tournament.

Adrianna Gatto:

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Gatto passing to an open team member

She is a forward with amazing statistics. She comes from Upper Perkiomen  and played for X-Calibur. If you count the goal she scored in a senior all star game she has scored 100 goals in her career. She is a 3 time all state selection  and all conference selection. At 5′ and 115 pounds she is speedy and elusive on the field. She also plays lacrosse which is alway good to see in elite athletes as they can use their athleticism in various sports.

The following were listed by Max Field Hockey as Lehigh commitments

Paige Schaefer:

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Paige is an all state midfielder from Pierson High School on Long. Island. She plays club field hockey for East End. The future engineering major is one of two division one recruits on her small high school team.

 

 

 

 

 

MJ Schwab:

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MJ was the top defender for Bishop Eustace in Haddenfield while also playing for South Jersey Edge. I could not find any additional stats except to say she is 5’4″ and also ran track. She will be a defender for the Mountain Hawks

 

Anna Piecuch:

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Anna comes from the Selinsgrove Area HS in Pa, and played for the PA Power field hockey club. She an All state AA selection as well as all conference. She listed as M/F. Her local paper reports she has scored 41 goals and 28 assists in her career. Anna featured her search on the Patriot League schools before settling on Lehigh.

Sophia Hartman:

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Sophia played her field hockey at Broadneck High School in Maryland and SPARK field hockey club. She was an All Met  defender, all league and multiple all state selection.

 

 

CeCe Slaughter:

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Also hails from Maryland and the Bryn Mawr School where she was an all conference selectee. She played her club hockey at TNT. She will probably be penciled in as a defender

 

 

 

 

Sydney White;

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Sydney completes the contingent from Maryland coming from the Annapolis Area Christian School as a defender. She played her club hockey at Spark. I will try to add her stats as they become known.

 

In coming days I will have a summation and impressions of these Patriot League recruits with a general comment on the status of the League. I will also first post some impressive  video of. Lafayette recruit Tara Hamilton who did not appear on the Max Hockey list.

If anyone has comments I will gladly see they are posted appropriately.

Holy Cross’ Lindsey Jackson Looks To Replace Some Big Shoes

Four year head coach Lindsey Jackson faces a big challenge where she must find enough talent to replace scorers who supplied 16 of their 28 goals last year. There are four seniors to replace but none is more important than Emily Loprete who scored 13 goals last year and Suzanne Noone who scored 3 more. She does see the return of her outstanding goalkeeper who she found on the ice hockey team in 2016, Marcia Laplante. Marcia stopped 75% of the shots against her and there were plenty. She was required to save 189. shots last year. Lafayette has had trouble beating Jackson coached teams as she had beaten the Leopards 3 times in row before losing 3-2 this year. In those three years the losses to Holy Cross were a factor in qualifying for the PL tournament. Lafayette put 24 shots to Holy Cross’ 7 during last season’s game. The last Holy Cross goal was by Loprete with less than a minute to play.

Jackson has one foreigner on the team and the rumor is she will be hunting overseas for additional talent. For the moment, I could find 2 recruits committed to Crusaders

 

Emily Donne:

This Mass. native is from Chelmsford High School and played her club hockey with the Wizards. She is a field player who contributed key assists in Chelmsford,s state tournament run. I have not been able to get some stats on her or a picture I could lift from the internet. I look forward to seeing more about this recruit in future Holy Cross releases.

Gabriella Venezia:

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Is also a Wizard player from Mass. and played for the highly regarded  Watertown HS field hockey team. She was named to the Boston Herald all- Scholastic team behind her 22 goal 10 assist 2018 performance. She was also named the Middlesex League MVP. Gabriella is a multisport athlete having played lacrosse as well. She will join her sister Olivia who will be a junior when Gabriella matriculates. Olivia, by the way scored a goal against Lafayette in last season’s match.

Lafayette adds fifth recruit

Lafayette announced a fifth recruit yesterday. From North Vancouver BC, Tara Hamilton. I have some nice video of Tara which I will post next week. She looks like a game changing attacker for the Leopards!!

Colgate To Add Three To Veteran Squad

April Cornell the third year coach for Colgate Raiders will return 23 veterans next year to  a squad that had no seniors. Colgate’s record was 4-14 with 0-6 league result. However, they gave Lafayette a good game falling 4-5 on a cold rainy Hamilton, New York morning.  It was the most goals scored by Colgate last fall. Although efficient their offense during the season managed only 21 goals for 7.9 shots per game and only 70 corners.

They have to date only 3 recruits that I can discover, one goalie, and two midfielders. That doesn’t mean more are on the way or perhaps are their foreigners in the pipeline to beef up the current squad?

For the moment here are the known commitments:

Sloan Isen:

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She will join two other goalkeepers on the Raider team. A Pa. native she will come from Westtown Prep and WC Eagles.

Emily Kness:

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This midfielder/ attacker comes from the very successful Lakeland HS program in New York and played for the Hudson Valley Hockey Club

Mari Kniezewski:

She is the other Pa native and went to Mt St Joseph and played for Mystx. She will be a midfield/ defender for the Raiders