US Defeats China 3-1 In Physical Contest

Magadan plays key role in win

The US picked up the first 3 points in FIH competition Saturday night by beating number 10 ranked China 3-1. It was the defense that was the deciding factor as they turned away China’s 13 corner opportunities. It was the nine corners in the first half  that were turned away that set the tone for the evening.  China had four corners in first quarter alone. It was that  corner defense that stood tall for  the large home crowd that cheered them on all night long. Kelsey Bing , the US goalie, was credited with 17 saves and was named MVP of the game. Janneke Schoopman, the US Coach was pleased with her team’s performance, saying she believed all along we’d have a chance against this Chinese team and declared after the contest, “Sometimes it falls your way and today it did.”

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Amanda Magadan get ready to receive the ball

Lafayette alumnus Amanda Magadan started the game and played key roles on at least two goals. On the second goal by Laurean Moyer she was able to bring the ball forward and slip the ball to Anna Dessoye who found  Moyer in front of the goal for the score. Magadan was all over the field playing her usual game, countering the hard physical play of the Chinese.

The first goal was scored by Dessoye  as the ball got behind the Chinese goalkeeper after a hard shot by Captain Kat Sharkey and Dessoye was there for the tap in.  The most dangerous score in hockey  is a 2 goal lead,  but it was the third quarter goal that was to make the crowd less anxious. That third goal was a rocket at 5:37 in the third quarter, which Linnea Gonzales delivered, to put the game away and making it 3-0. China was to score in the fourth, but were unable to do more, giving the Red, White and Blue the victory.

I spoke briefly with Simon Hoskins, the Executive Director of USA Field Hockey before the game. He praised Amanda Magadan saying how pleased he was to have her on the team. ” She can play any position on the field and her competitive spirit is a great asset.”

It was a fine endorsement for Amanda, which was echoed  by Head Coach Shoopmann on other occasions. Amanda mentioned to me that she will be at the Lafayette Camps this summer to help coach and promote the game. It will be an opportunity to take advantage of her attendance, and meet this fine athlete and outstanding graduate of Lafayette College and pick up some pointers in the process..

Some PL Schools Have Published Schedules

Boston U’s Schedule is out, and Lafayette will play them in Beantown at 12 on Oct 5. They will play UConn before us and Penn on the 6th. They will be playing Princeton at BU on the 20th

Bucknell has published their schedule and they will meet Lafayette at Lafayette On Oct 26. They will play Colgate before our game and  Penn State after.

Temple has us at Lafayette on Oct 13 at 1 pm

Colgate has just. posted their schedule they will be in Easton Sept 28 @ 12 pm

Liberty just posted their schedule and Lafayette will be in Lynchburg Va on Sunday Sept 8 at noon

Penn has posted and we will play them at Penn on Oct 27 at 2 pm

App State had us on their schedule on Friday Sept 6 at 7pm in Lynchburg, so a weekend in Lynchburg with two games.

Monmouth will be Easton Sunday Sept 29 at 2pm!!

I will keep a lookout as schedules get published. The only other schedule I saw was Maryland’s and Princeton’s and we are not on either.  American will meet JMU at Maryland  on Oct the 13th and will play Maryland on Oct 29 at American.

A Final Revisit (Maybe) For Patriot League Recruits

 

 

It’s been several months since my last article on Patriot League recruits for next fall, so I thought I might backtrack to see what has been happening. In past years, the names, numbers and details of recruits in the Patriot League has been top secret for many schools, but the advent of hockey clubs who publish their seniors who have signed an NLI  has pushed that tradition to the background for the most part. There are several schools who have probably not announced their full new freshmen roster ( American, Lafayette and Boston, all who may be adding foreign names to rosters before the fall), but we are getting a picture of what rosters will look like.

In summary, since my last article on new faces, Lafayette has five announced ( with possibly 2 others to come),.  Holy Cross has added three to the original three I wrote about. Lehigh has added two to bring their total to a league leading class of 10. Colgate has added 2 to bring their class to five adding to their 17 veterans. Bucknell has added  two and will have a class of six, American is tight lipped on their 3 but if past is prologue they will add a foreign player or two by the fall. Boston has added added one to an already strong class. The one is a transfer from Albany, Liz Ryan, who is on the US under 21 team. She will arrive as a junior. A surprise indeed!!

 

 

Holy Cross’s addition for the most part come from a distance including California and South Africa.

Lehigh is adding almost a whole second team with the addition of two. Their most impressive get is the goalkeeper Kahn who playing with the US under 19 team. There is also a new Dutch player arriving this fall as well.

Colgate adds two to the three announced, but their biggest asset is their returning vets.

 

 

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Bucknell has added two to make a class of six. One intriguing recruit is Alina Arko who is rumored to have speed to burn. The other addition is Noor Kaus whose father played in India.

No additions to American doesn’t mean there will not be more.

Boston has an excellent class and the addition of transfer Liz Ryan means they will be tough again.

However,  my interest is Lafayette. This class and what I know of the eventual additions tells me, we are at least in the top three in incoming talent. Combined with a strong returning class I predict the Leopards, with hard work and a little attitude, will be in the hunt at the end of the year.

Although there is no schedule published, I see key games in the Patriot League with the familiar American, Boston and maybe a dark horse in the way. Holy Cross always gives us a hard time and for some reason Lehigh, with their new players and playing them at the end of season ,at their place gives me pause. Holy Cross, Colgate and Bucknell will be at our place.

Lafayette Is Ready For The Fall Season

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Audrey Sawers gets on eye on the ball

Ok, I confess, I am a homer. I want and I believe that this team can challenge for a championship.  What I saw this spring has impressed me with their chances.  The players had an opportunity  to improve their skills. They showed  fans and coaches  they could step up and perform well. The fall “championship” season is a test of endurance and this coaching staff can take solace ,that they have the “horses.” Everyone can be contributors to earning a championship and a winning season.

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Caroline Turnbull enters the circle for a score

First, the team has demonstrated they can perform even though they were missing key players at some point this spring. Certainly the convincer was the Towson competitions where they met last years NCAA finalist and held their own. They followed that with a good performance yesterday, winning the first game against Villanova off a Grace Angelella goal. The second game was a 1-0 loss to a surprising Drexel squad who stunned the Leopards early on with a hard high press. However, they regrouped and proved to many that they could come back with several strong offensive efforts. In the third game, not only did they play well against a young, and skilled veteran, Quinnipiac squad but came away  with a two goal victory due to second efforts by Caroline Turnbull , an all PL selection last year, who scored the two goals.

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Alix Talkow get ready for the deflection

Second, I saw, especially yesterday, many second and third shots inside the circle and the team was not intimidated by hard, physical play.

Third, the team is well led. I heard of senior players assisting the younger less experienced players in a demonstration of team solidarity. It was good to see the people not in the game, encouraging their teammates from the sidelines.

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Grace Angelella fights for possession

Fourth, they are just that good. The team was short three or four experienced players due to injuries all spring but those that were in their place  played well, adding to our overall strength. Add to that, a class of seven good incoming players means this team is ready to accept challenges and will overcome adversity should it occur along the way.

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Sam DiMaio has her eye on the goal

As I mentioned to several after the game, there was a lot to like this spring.

My only sadness is, I now have to wait until August until I can see the Leopards in action again. I suppose I can review videos of old games in the meantime.

Villanova, Quinnipiac and Drexel Arrive For Four Way Competition On Saturday April 27.

On paper in may look like the three opponents meeting at Rappolt Field, starting at 11 am on Saturday, are in a similar position. All four teams had similar records last year. Villanova was 9-10, Quinnipiac was 7-10, and Drexel was 9-9. But the won/loss records end similarities. All of course, have played Lafayette in recent years.  Lafayette beat Villanova and Drexel last year, while the last meeting with Quinnipiac, two years ago, was a loss for Lafayette  3-2. However, a deep dive into the numbers may tell us more about the challenges for each team.

Villanova plays in the Big East, and besides their 9-10 overall record had a 4-4 record in the Big East. Their coach Joannie Milhous has been with Villanova for 24 years. She had early success, but Villanova worked under difficult circumstances, having to play on field turf for many years. However, the construction of their new astro turf field, more suitable for field hockey, signaled a turn around. One should consider their signature game last year, a win over ODU in overtime 2-1. Lafayette’s Villanova game last year against Lafayette last year  could be considered Lafayette’s best game of the season. Villanova last year scored 40 goals against 55 scored on them. They had a 7-3 win against Lehigh, their only other Patriot League opponent. They are replacing 6 seniors.

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Mary Gould dodges a Maryland defender

Quinnipiac’s 7-10 record hides the fact that the Bobcats had 13 freshmen on their squad and are only graduating 3. Several years ago the school designated the field hockey team a “team of emphasis,” meaning they were to get fully funded status. That included a new field and the 12 scholarships allowed by the NCAA. Still in building mode last year their 25 year coach Becca Main, used her freshman to score 32 goals while giving up 57. Now playing in the Big East, Saturday’s contest will be the last competition of spring for them and the last chance for her rising sophomores to show they belong on the field in the fall. This could be an interesting contest, especially against their Big East rival Villanova.

The third opponent for the Leopards will be Drexel, who look like the reciprocal of Quinnipiac. They had a 9-9 record playing in the CAA and lost to Lafayette 2-1 in an exciting overtime game. Denise Zelenak, who is a 24 year veteran at Drexel, will bring her fast break offense to challenge, but she will have lost 10 to graduation this year . They did score 46 goals and gave up 49 while taking 9.8 shots per game and giving up 13.7. She will also be losing a senior goal keeper which will be a concern for her in the fall.

All in all, it looks like and interesting day for hockey and for our Leopards, and since it is the last competition of the spring it has significance. Lafayette will be missing their Rookie of the Year Molly McAndrews due to illness so there will have to be someone to step up in her place. The weather looks perfect so come on out and enjoy the day!!

Lafayette FH Stumbles In Third Competition Of The Spring

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Grace Angelella settles the ball in the first half

After last week’s showing what they are capable of, this week became shot of reality for our Leopards, after losing to Columbia University 6-2.  Lafayette gave up more goals today, than they had all spring, giving the Leopard coaches plenty of fodder to review with the team this week. This team is certainly capable of challenging for a Patriot League title, but winning championships is as much mental as it is physical.

Lisa van der Geest returned to turf after a week’s absence, and was her old self. Molly McAndrews was absent due to a bout of mononucleosis, Kara Tiedtke and Sophie Carr are still nursing knee surgeries. So there  was moving around with some players in unfamiliar positions. But there was a spark missing, which manifested in Columbia’s ability to defensively jump on the Leopard players , almost seeming to know where a pass was to go.

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In addition, Columbia was to dominate the second half getting more corners and shots which eventually resulted in scores. Lafayette’s scores occurred in the second half with a penalty stroke by Van der Geest and a nifty deflection by Anna Steps. Whereas, the second half had limited scoring  opportunities, the first half was marked by missed opportunities.

Perhaps it was overconfidence, which should be a cautionary tale for the regular season. You must respect each opponent, lest you can lose games that should have been competitive. The Leopards seemed hesitant on passes, and failed to move after receptions, allowing the powder blue Columbia  players to take advantage.

The game was played in a light rain virtually the whole contest, only to let up with a few minutes left to play. As the saying goes, it rained on both teams so the weather could hardly be blamed.

This is an opportunity to leave in the minds of the team, the reminder to play every game like a playoff game. There is nothing wrong with confidence but a lot wrong when confidence turns to being desmissive of your opponent. Spring is a learning period to learn a variety of lessons, perhaps this lesson might be one of the more important lessons to take into the fall campaign!!!

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Two on one in front of the Columbia goal

There is one more competition next Saturday…we shall see how well our Leopards absorb today’s reminder. Quinnipiac, Drexel and Villanova will travel to Rappolt Field for an 11:00 am start. I would not want to be any of next week’s opponents!!

 

 

Leopards Make Progress In Towson Spring Contests

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Cam Costello controls the ball against a Maryland defender as Jen Delongis clears out for a reception

In the third spring outing for the Leopards, one could see the progress being made as the 2019 version of “Pard Hockey,” is developing a personality. There was a modification for the afternoon due to injuries for VCU personnel and a very short bench. They really could not field a full team so it was decided that in the games with VCU, Lafayette,  Towson and Maryland  would play 8 v 8 and a shortened field for the two 15 minute quarters.

However, all the teams were showing signs of vigorous spring training. Maryland came with four players unavailable ( I did not see Niki Lorenz on the field). Lafayette was missing 3 wounded, including their all American Lisa van der Geest who was sidelined as a precaution after suffering a mild concussion in the Penn game last week. Cam Costello was nursing a sore hip and shortened her time on the field. Sophie Carr was still rehabbing her knee and was in Florida representing the Patriot League at a NCAA student athlete conference and Kara Tiedtke was still rehabilitating her knee but was present  walking without any noticeable impairment.

Despite the difficulties the Lafayette coaching staff had to walk away pleased with the afternoon. The Leopards scored 5 goals and gave up 2. They showed the ability to get second shots and used tip ins and redirections to great advantage. I was especially pleased with the hustle and tenacity on defense. Sarah Park may have had her best effort as a Leopard in goal which should have brought a smile to the coaching staff. On the afternoon Sam Di Maio  had two goals, one against VCU and one against Towson. Audrey Sawers, Grace Angelella, and Ana Steps added one each against Towson.

The game against Maryland which ended 2-0 in Maryland’s favor ( the same score from 2012 when Lafayette and Maryland last met) was highlighted by a strong defensive effort in front of the goal by a determined Lafayette defense. Lafayette had several chances to score but in many cases missed by inches, a defect I am sure will be worked on this week.

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The coaching staff was not happy with the effort in the first game and the energy showed  in the first Maryland half as it ended in a 0-0 tie. The Maryland coaching staff turned up the volume in the second half getting several corners and converting two. The Lafayette side had several fast breaks that saw good chances go awry as connections were not quite made.

The last game was with Towson and lessons  from the Maryland game were applied in a 4-0 ending with numerous scoring opportunities bearing fruit. I have to hand to the team. They rose to the occasion and at least in this fan’s eyes demonstrated promise for the fall season. DiMaio of course had a good game but I must note a good effort from Eva Kaplan who had not seen any action in her previous two seasons and seems to be taking advantage of her opportunities. She contributed on the last score as she delivered a nice cross to Sam who tipped it in for the score.

Grace Angellela had a good game bringing the ball up the field and scoring as well. She played at a high level the whole afternoon. I wouldn’t want to diminish the effort by the whole team, especially after a slow start against VCU. The weather like the early play was a little cloudy but it brightened up as the afternoon progressed.

Next week, Columbia arrives in Easton for what I believe will be a regular four quarter game. I look forward to Saturday and seeing it all come together!! Go Pards!!

 

Leopards Test Themselves Against Towson, VCU and Maryland This Sunday

It what appears to be their most challenging weekend of the spring, the Lafayette Leopards will load the vans again to travel down I-95 to Towson Maryland to play on Towson turf to take on three challenging games.

First up at 11:45 will be VCU. I can’t remember the last time we played them but it could be when Ann Gold was still the coach. Since then they have had several coaches. Their most recent coach is Stacey Bean who will be in her third season this fall and may be their most successful. She has had two winning seasons so far, last year getting to the conference final in the A-10 against a very good St Joseph’s team. They were 12-7 on the year and 7-1 in the conference. Last year they lost close games to American ( 3-2 in double overtime) and Bucknell by the same score. They had two big wins agains ODU and Wake Forest. It appears they like to score as they got the ball in the net 55 times but only gave up 29 goals. They have only 12 underclassman including two rising sophomores in the goal. Perhaps we shall see some of their seniors play??

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Nike Lorenz

It certainly doesn’t get easier with National Finalist University of Maryland. The first push off will be at 1:15, and daunting would be an understatement. The Terps will bring their usual excellence to the Towson turf in the person of 19 underclassmen. On their way to Louisville and the National Championship game last year, they were 22-3. They scored 81 goals while only giving up 33. They had 142 penalty corners. They took an average of 16 shots per game  against 8 for their opponents.

Their schedule was tough, meeting 19 nationally ranked (top 25) teams. Behind it all, is the 31 year veteran coach Missy Meharg who has been the national coach of the year nine times.  She has coached 6 olympians and 51 all Americans. She has won 8 national championships and 23 conference championships. ( Two conference championships and won a national championship with my daughter in 99-00, where ironically they played Lafayette in the first round).

The last mutual outing was in the 2012  NCAA tournament, Lafayette was ranked 10 and Maryland was the defending national champion ranked 7. Maryland beat Lafayette 2-0.

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The third game will be against host Towson University @ 2:45.  Towson is in the grips of a building program highlighted by the addition of their new field. They are working hard to improve on their 1-17 record. Only one game was played on the their new turf field against Lehigh last year ( they lost 2-3) Their other Patriot League opponent was American who showed no mercy  with a 0-7 final score.

The good news here for their coach, E.A. Jackson, who is entering her third year, is that she has 16 returning players  including Haile Abbott’s (Lafayette GK) twin sister. They will only lose 2 seniors. Towson scored only 19 goals and gave up 67. and took 107 shots but gave up 253. It’s a game that would be easy to overlook, but given it’s the last game of the afternoon I would be cautious.

 

Other News:

Holy Cross has announced their new class, and the additions since I last reported includes Rachel Perry from Holden Mass. She is an all state forward and Captain of her team. The second recruit is from Sarasota California, Isabella Henderson who appears to be a midfielder. As reported earlier Holy Cross did reach across the Atlantic for a South African Sinead Walsh from Port Elizabeth. All three seem to be excellent athletes playing several sports. So Holy Cross brings in a total six recruits. We will meet them this fall on Rappolt Field.