We are coming down to the final games, and Bucknell will be playing their final regular season game with Lafayette on Sunday in Lewisburg. It is a crucial game that has playoff consequences for both teams. No doubt it will be senior day for the 5 seniors on the roster for Bucknell. During the American/ Bucknell game the Bucknell announcer said that Head Coach Cook had no juniors. Looking at the roster and those that played, I find that not to be true. However he is starting a number of freshmen and sophomore’s in key positions.
Like most Lafayette/Bucknell games the stats look very similar given that Bucknell has played one more game. This game, the final game of the regular season is no more vital than any other game against the orange foes.
Bucknell is 2-3 with an overtime win against American. They have 4 goals and given up 11, taken 51 shots ag 68 given up and has 25 penalty corners while giving up 31,
Lafayette on the other hand also has 4 goals, but given up 6, has 27 shots but given up 22, and crucially had only 14 penalty corners but gave up 23.The Leopards need to get to the attacking third and penetrate the circle to get shots and earn corners!!
I hope the team will travel on Saturday to get some rest. Arriving on the same day would not be helpful. Boston, when they played Lafayette took two buses and arrived a day in advance!!
In the rest of the League, American will host Lehigh, and Boston will host Holy Cross.
It was a game that deserved to be in the Leopard column, given the extraordinary effort by the team and especially the senior class. Yes, shots were 6 to 7 in Lafayette favor, saves by freshman goalkeeper were the same at two ( Garvey, the Leopard goalkeeper had a great outing as her debut in division one), but penalty corners were 12-4 in favor of the Eagles. However, many of those corners came in bunches as they were called one after each corner in succession.
In fact, the first goal by American came on the fourth attempt at a corner by Merel Dupont after an assist by Noon Coenen at 7:43 into the game. That gave the lead to American until Audrey Sawers found the back of the cage at 46:42 nearly bending back the glove of Bryn Underwood, American’s freshman GK. The score remained at 1-1 until regulation time ended.
There were several calls for corners by the umpire outside of the shooting circle which was noticed by the partisan crowd at the side lines. In many cases the. Eagles were to draw multiple penalties on several occasions in regular time and the two overtimes. Finally at 75:32 Gaby de Kock received a hard crossing pass from Coenan which was delivered to the right side of the cage.
Coach Stone highlighted all five seniors Eva Kaplan, Audrey Sawers, Sophie Carr, Grace Angelella, and Anna Steps. Coach Stone cited the five seniors for their leadership during the game. Sawers especially was to make several length of the field runs that nearly set up scoring chances inside the circle. The whole team showed remarkable heart even though the score ended up in favor of American in the end.
They all left it on the field with their heads up, because there was nothing to be down about. It was an outstanding effort. There will be a second chance in DC in the last regular season game at the end of the season. Next week it will be Bucknell at Bucknell!!!
As the Patriot League League Spring/Fall Season reaches the half way point the question for most fans (including myself) is how the field is picked for the League Championship. Four teams will succeed to the tournament to be decided by a predetermined scheme decided by the League.
Patriot League field hockey consists of seven teams with the top four making the 2021 PLFH Championship Field. All games played count toward standings. Each victory is worth 3 points and an overtime loss is worth 1 point. A team losing in regulation does not receive a point. A points per game system would be utilized if teams do not compete in the same number of contests.
To me that gives an advantage to teams playing less games and especially since teams do not have the same schedule eg. Boston was to play Colgate and Holy Cross twice but does not see American. Colgate does not play Lafayette or American. Last Saturday Boston beat Colgate and was to play them a second time on Sunday but didn’t because they had no subs. As most third graders are aware, if the denominator is smaller, but the numerator is the same, the number with the smaller denominator is larger .
The League defines its calculation as Points per game is defined as the number of points compiled though the season divided by. the number of games played.
So does that mean each team has a different denominator?? So far American, Lehigh, Boston and Colgate will only be playing 5 games. Lafayette, Bucknell, and Holy Cross will have played 6 games.
The league has added this in # When comparing records against a single or group of tied teams ( before tie is broken ) the higher winning percentage will prevail even if the number of games played is not equal among the tied teams.( e.g. 2-0 is better than 1-0, 4-2 is better than 2-4,and 0-1 is better than 0-2)
Confused??? Join the club!! It could be fixed by just playing make up games. There is enough space in the week to get that done…other leagues are playing multiple games during a week’s period.
The current standing are Boston University 3-0 9 points, Colgate 2-1 6 points, Lehigh 2-0 6 points, American 1-1 4 points, Lafayette 1-2 4 points, Bucknell 1-3 3 points, and Holy Cross 0-3 1 point.
Several teams could be in precarious positions after this weekend’s game. A win by Lafayette would be extremely helpful for placement in the tournament. Losses by Bucknell, Holy Cross and Colgate in regulation would be disasters for those teams with the ability to only gather 3 more points for Bucknell and Colgate and 6 more for Holy Cross.
In the bizarre background of a Covid season, the 5 seniors on the Lafayette squad compete during an abbreviated season with the goal to return to the Patriot League Championships for the third consecutive year. This has been an especially character revealing year. The season began without a spring season last year, no preseason, and no out of conference games. They have had to put it all together without a large bench, leaving it to the seniors to provide leadership on and off the field.
I don’t know if this will be the last chance to see these remarkable young women compete at Rappolt Field this year but I know it will be their best effort yet of their four year careers. Eva Kaplan, Audrey Sawers, Sophie Carr, Grace Angelella, and Ana Steps, will be announced as seniors at this weekend’s match with American University. The NCAA allows for an extra year of eligibility and this fan can only hope we shall see at least some of them next year, but whatever happens, I know they have set the foundation for great things in the future. So this Sunday I salute Eva Kaplan, Audrey Sawers, Sophie Carr, Grace Angelella, and Anna Steps!!
Eva comes from Montclair, N.J. with outstanding credentials. The Economics and International Affairs major was a four year letter winner at Montclair, selected as an all- conference and all state player. In addition she was an outstanding Lacrosse player demonstrating her all around athletic ability. As a four year honor roll student, she showed she was well prepared for Lafayette.
She has demonstrated her dedication, team attitude and patience having to wait two years before getting on the game field. As a fan I could not be more struck by her intensity and situational awareness. Her strength, speed and athletic ability were evident in every situation she was placed in. I was especially impressed with her performance during big games fearlessly defending against the best of the Patriot League and division one.
She waited patiently for her chance during her freshman and sophomore year and by her junior year became an important contributor. I was especially impressed with her performance in the championship game last year! But her best could be her last, as she spent over 50 minutes on the field in each of the last two games gaining confidence and displaying leadership. We still have half the regular season left and I am anxious to see what memories she will leave us with as we move forward!!
The moment Audrey stepped on a Lafayette athletic field her appearance just screamed elite athlete. Coming from Handsworth school in North Vancouver, BC she was part of long string of western Canadian athletes to head to the Lafayette Field Hockey program. While at Handsworth, she was a five year starter on the Field Hockey team, and achieved MVP and first team all star in provincials. Not surprisingly she was female athlete of the year for two years participating in soccer, volleyball, basketball, and track and field.
More recently she made the national under 21 team traveling to Ireland two years ago. Her strength, reach, and speed made her a natural at midfield and a feared opponent. As a fan it was exciting to see her develop a skill set to go along with her natural athletic assets. It was evident in the semi final league championship game with Bucknell as she weaved through defenders to score the winning goal. We saw more of that this year against Holy Cross as she was involved in both scores. Spotting space inside the circle she delivered a beautiful shot to put the Leopards up early. She used much of the same skills to find her teammate Simone Hefting as she assisted in the overtime winner.
There is no team member this year who has more minutes than Audrey as her presence on the field is important both offensively and defensively. Her leadership abilities strike me as leadership by example, and her strong competitive spirit get more evident as the game progresses. She is a team co-captain.
I would hope she considers an additional year but I see nothing but success, and maybe even an Olympics in her future!!!
Sophie is just one of those people that light up room when she enters. Always, with a smile, she faces competition and adversity with determination and courage. Looking at her resume one would assume she is a native Irishman. In fact, her mother comes from Pennsylvania and as result she is a US citizen. Her entire secondary school experience is in Ireland. Her brother plays on the Irish national team.
Sophie, like most good athletes succeed in a variety of sports. She is an excellent golfer, and played on a winning cricket team. On the academic side she represented the US at a model UN conference at The Hague.
Coming to Lafayette, she had an excellent freshman year delivering impressive goals. Her performances against Fairfield demonstrated her readiness to play at the division one level. But she was to face an unexpected challenge the spring of her freshman year when she injured her knee. She promptly accepted the challenge of rehabilitation with aplomb and courage. Her sophomore year had her on the sidelines, cheering at games and encouraging to her teammates at practice.
She returned to the playing field, knee brace and all, her junior season, and resumed her impact as a team leader and an important part the program. As an elected leader of the team, she helped to maintain morale, while being a contributor on the field. She has 103 minutes in three games this year and can often be seen sprinting down the field making an important tackle or moving the ball into the opponents area!!
As in the case of most great athletes, she has great character and is an inspiration to her teammates. I would have wished a full season for her, but it’s a privilege to watch her in person perform!!
You had to know Grace was a very special athlete as she endured several orthopedic surgeries in high school just to be in a position to play. She came highly recommended from former Lafayette players from the Harding, Pa area and Wyoming Area High School. She didn’t disappoint Coach Stone because in the first three years she was on the field for virtually every game. In her freshman year she tied for the lead in goal scoring and had several multi goals games. She was rookie of the week several times.
In her sophomore season she just rolled on with goals against Temple, Lehigh, Villanova and Bucknell. She accomplished all this while succeeding in the classroom as a Biology major. She was named to the D-1 academic squad and the Patriot League academic squad as well.
Like her classmates there is a determination in her play that makes her a dangerous foe on the field. Extraordinarily humble, her engaging manner hides the competitive spirit of a winner. She finds a way to be in a position to score and her ability to deliver a strike as something fearsome.
This year, she already put in 138 minutes and its disappointing we won’t see more of her because of this shortened season. However, we have the meat of the season coming up and I am sure she will contribute to the diversity of our attacking options.
Anna has an outstanding career to date. Her most individual memorable year was in 2018, scoring six goals. But getting to the Patriot championship game must have been one of her biggest thrills. For three years she was found in the back line directing play and initiating an offense that had one of its best years. She named preseason defensive player of the year.
She comes from Hamburg Germany where she went to the Children’s International Summer Village program. It is program that begins for 11 year olds which promotes good international relations starting with children. It is there she got the bug to study in the United States. She is still in contact with people who went through the program with her.
A leader on the team Anna was elected co-captain and was crucial to keeping the team connected during the covid pandemic. To date she has played 1054 minutes for the Leopards and I remember her role in beating Temple last year scoring a crucial goal. She is now in the midfield, a position more familiar to her and her hustle and determination as well as her obvious skills are put to good use.
Her affect is pleasant and is obviously very smart excelling in her major of Neuroscience at Lafayette. She is always there to help a friend, and has volunteered to help those studying German and enjoys philosophical writings.
She is an exceptional young woman and no doubt is in line to accomplish great things in the future.
With thirty seconds left in the first overtime period, Audrey Sawers who had already scored a goal in the third period during a corner, found Simone Hefting mid circle who deftly deflected the ball past the Holy Cross keeper for the win. It was an important game for both teams who entered the contest at 0-2 into the six game league race. At 1-2 Lafayette remains in the race for a spot in the Patriot League tournament while at 0-3 Holy Cross remains to meet a hot Lehigh team next week followed by a depleted ( no subs), Boston University squad, and a better Colgate team on the 18th.
Lafayette on the other hand must meet an American squad twice and play Bucknell at Bucknell. American will travel to Rappolt Field next week for a senior day against an inspired Lafayette squad.
Today’s game started off as a defensive battle as each team tried to find opening lanes only to be turned away on each side of the field. Lafayette had one shot and one corner. Lafayette keeper Haile Abbott had a key saves in the second quarter. Holy Cross had 2 shots, one on goal and one corner.
In the second half, the action picked up as Lafayette added one goal by Sawers at 33:39 followed 5 minutes later with a tying goal at 38:49 from Caitlin Little of Holy Cross. The Crusaders followed with 3 more shots while Lafayette turned it on with 5 more before the end of regulation in the fourth period. Overtime saw Lafayette add 3 more in the overtime including the game winner, while the Crusaders added 2. For the entire game the Leopards had 10 shots the Cross had 7. Corners were 3 to 3.
There were some great individual battles on the field with Devine and Molly McAndrews in conflict much of the game. However it was Audrey Sawers who was the diffence maker with 4 shots, 1 goal and one assist. Her goal was a thing of beauty reminiscent of her goal in the Patriot League championships, first dodging defenders and finding some individual space. Defensively she was again all over the field. McAndrew had the clear attention of the Crusader defense. Hefting’s deflection was expertly executed for the game winner!
This was a character game, as it was a must win for both sides. It was played in monsoon like conditions, on an opposing field, during senior day!! As has been the case every game, Coach Stone was to empty the bench of field players, all of which had contributions to make.
Will Boston Be Able To Play Without A Bench?
Boston beat Colgate yesterday and was to play them today, but couldn’t. ” because they have no subs.” The excuse was Covid, but if there was a positive case on tier one, yesterday’s game would have been cancelled. The discreet number of missing players suggest some violation of school covid rules!! Their next game is with Holy Cross on April 11.
Bucknell Beats American In Overtime
Bucknell stays in the hunt with a gritty 2 overtime victory against American.
Keep in mind this year we are on a point system. A win is 3 points and overtime loss gets you one point. So as it stands now, Boston leads with 9 points, followed by Colgate and Lehigh with 6. American and Lafayette are tied with 4 points, Bucknell has 3 and Holy Cross has 1. Do I smell tie breaker?? If a team plays less games ( Colgate, Lehigh, American and Boston are on track for less games, it will ranked by points per game). It seems a little bizarre!!
The Leopards will board a bus on Saturday and travel to Massachusetts for an 11 o’clock Sunday meeting between the 0-2 teams. Both teams of course want to earn their first Patriot League win. Both teams have lost by one goal in their previous two games but that’s where the comparison’s end. Holy Cross has taken 25 shots against 29 for their opponents. Lafayette on the other hand has taken 10 shots and given up 7 in regulation time. So on the surface, this looks like Holy Cross’ offense vs Lafayette’s defense
Holy Cross has lost their excellent goalkeeper to graduation and still appear to be unsettled at the position. Lafayette appears to have not lost a step in their defense, but like many sports have had difficulty getting their offense in gear early on. With regard to penalty corners they have earned mid single digits while giving up the same.
At this early point one might think it might be helpful to compare performances between common opponent Boston University. Holy Cross got off 11 shots (five on goal) while giving up 13 ( 7 on goal). Lafayette had 3 shots in regulation and Boston had 4 in regulation. Boston had 3 penalty corners to Lafayette’s single corner. Holy Cross on the other hand had 3 penalty corners to Boston’s 7.
Holy Cross in recent years has relied on the fast break and counter attack to put points on the board while Lafayette relies on a more structured offense. Last years, 8-0 win by Lafayette stymied their attack, and built a wall around the cage. It might not be that easy this time given the emotion of senior day and the consequences for the loser.
Holy Cross has modified its spectator regulations but it doesn’t include admission for visitors. Sadly, its not clear that there will even be streaming TV as of this writing, but we shall see.
Going forward the Leopards will meet American twice and Bucknell once before the end of the regular schedule, while Holy Cross will meet with Lehigh, Boston and Colgate.
I look forward to Lafayette finally showing an offense that we know is possible with this team. Secondly, I see no reason for defense to take a step backwards. I am wishing for TV, so I will keep my fingers crossed!!
Good News Lafayette /Holy Cross Has Appeared On The ESPN plus Schedule!!!
Lafayette put in a determined effort, but slipped to 0-2 in the Patriot League standing, tied with Holy Cross who lost to Colgate 1-0 today, but ahead of Bucknell who is now 0-3 after losing to Lehigh 0-4 in Bethlehem. All tied are American, Boston, Lehigh and Colgate who remain undefeated. Colgate and Boston will meet twice next week, on the 27th and 28th, American will meet Bucknell, and Lafayette will travel to Worchester in a must win game.
Lafayette showed sparks of determination and heart, after falling behind one goal in the third period, but not quite 4 minutes later Tara Hamilton slipped the ball past the laid out Boston goalkeeper to even it up. Both the Leopards and the Terriers stepped up their efforts. Whereas each team had recorded one shot each in the first half, shots by the end of regulation were 4-3 in favor of Boston. Penalty corners were in Boston’s favor 3-1 for regulation and the game.
BU’s defense was marked by an aggressive press, but as they acquired possession their passes were crisp and accurate. Lafayette started out slowly but picked up intensity as the third period progressed. Audrey Sawers was all over the field on offense and defense and Grace Angelella appeared whenever needed for a defensive play. Sydney Woolston was visibly in the face of many BU players.
There was an ebb and tide to the game that raised or lowered spirits for the 70 odd fans in attendance. But the Leopards never gave up. Sadly, in the overtime, BU was to get off two shots, with the second at about 2 minutes into period striking gold. Senior Alexis Pettisani from BU reacted by lifting the ball slightly over the GK stick scoring the deciding goal.
This bizarre schedule continues with BU playing two games with Colgate back to back next week, and Lehigh will be playing American twice by season’s ( one is a make up game).
PS. During the Lehigh game yesterday, the announcer stated that senior Lenke Havas will attend an additional year at Lehigh, and play as per NCAA rules. Will there by others in PL who will take the extra year ?!!!
Sunday will be the second game in the Patriot League abbreviated covid schedule for both squads. However, Boston University had a bye week last week, while Lafayette met Lehigh for an opening loss. The game is important for both squads to make the playoffs. Lafayette is perhaps the most difficult game on the Terriers schedule and Lafayette needs to get into the win column. Two weeks ago Boston survived a 2-1 game with Holy Cross. Boston had 13 shots with 8 on goal against Crusaders’ 11 shots with 5 on goal. Boston’s second year goalkeeper, Caroline Kelly, came up with 4 saves. They were able to earn seven corners using one in the first quarter to allow their star player Kathryn Sheer to score the first goal. After Holy Cross scored to tie the game, there were 2 following quarters that resulted in goose eggs for both teams. Rebecca James, a terrier senior, found the back of the net that was be the game winner late in the fourth quarter.
Boston used 16 players in the game and Lafayette used 15 in last Sunday’s game while generating 7 shots ( 2 on goal). They also had 6 corners most of which occurred in the final quarter.
Last year Lafayette won in a hard fought defense featured match, that went to overtime. Lafayette will need to show more offense to get beyond Boston’s sophomore goal keeper Caroline Kelly. Boston lost some important offensive contributors last year and my observations of the Holy Cross game, was like most teams this year the offense has not yet come together. If Lafayette can crank up their offensive production it could be good day for the Leopards.
Fan Attendance Was A Success Last Weekend
Lafayette allowed Lafayette parents, alumni and students to attend outdoor matches. It appears it was a success, as the number of new covid cases this week was actually one of the smallest increases of the semester. Since last weekend, both Lehigh and Bucknell have modified their fan attendance rules. Proposed this week, tickets will be issued ( free of course) to the same eligible fans. Visiting teams will not be allowed fans. Here’s hoping that other PL schools are watching and reduce their draconian rules.
Since it was part of the new protocols, I wonder if Boston will be busing down for the 1 pm face off, or will they be staying overnight….does anyone know!!!??
This will make the sixth straight year that Lafayette/ Lehigh ended with a one goal lead for the victor. It was Lehigh who would take home the win in a gritty contest played at a windy Rappolt Field more reminiscent of a November end of season contest than an opening day game. Everything is backwards this year, so why not??
Even the watering of the field had to be done manually to avoid the watering system freezing and pipes splitting at night. Neither team was about to miss this game windy, cold or what. What could be better than, rivalry, first game, and PL play. The college wisely allowed students, parents and alumni from the home side to attend, one would have assumed the intangibles were on the Leopards side!!
The game began with Kahn and Abbott in their respective goaltender positions and as the game progressed it turned into defensive affair, where it became obvious this may have been destined to become a 1-0 game. My feeling was Lafayette had the better of the action in the beginning and literally and figuratively the wind was at their back.
Simone Hefting from Lafayette repeatedly showed her skill with long, strong hits from the backfield to speedy forwards. The timing was not quite there as Lafayette did have several chances but couldn’t seem finish.The first shot came from Lafayette’s Audrey Sawers at 3:51 into the quarter. The officials couldn’t seem to keep their hand from their pockets when finally at 11:08 Molly McAndrew got her first yellow.
17:30 into the game Lehigh picked up their first corner which was smartly turned away. However at 17:54 McAndrew was to take her first shot saved by Lehigh’s Kahn. Lafayette was to get two corners at 18:21 and 18:42 with Felicitas Hannes’ shot going wide on the second corner!!
Lehigh came out in the third period pressing hard until at 40:41 they were awarded a corner. Drew Pecora took the initial shot which resulted in a scrum in front of the cage until freshman Julia Gatelien was to poke it into the cage for the 1-0 lead. The period ended with Audrey Sawers getting a Green at 44:31.
At the beginning of the fourth Lafayette got a corner but could not convert again. Alex Talkow was to get off a shot at 56:57 which got the fans excited but was saved by Kahn. Lafayette was to get 3 more corners during the period while Lehigh attempted to run out the clock. With about 3 1/2 minutes to go they began to strategically run for the corners letting precious seconds tick away. However at 58:02 Lafayette was to have its last corner of game and it was blocked.
The statistical tale was interesting. Lehigh had 3 shots 2 on goal and 5 corners, Lafayette had 7 shots 2 on goal, and 6 corners. Lafayette had no shots in the third quarter and Lehigh had none in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile Bucknell lost to American 4-0 and has two losses on the season. Next up for Lafayette (0-1) is Boston (1-0) next Sunday. The other two PL games will be Bucknell ( 0-2) at Lehigh (1-0) and Holy Cross (0-1) at Colgate (1-0)
Lafayette and Lehigh will square off for their annual rivalry game, and this time the fans will not have to wait for the middle of the season to see this rivalry renewed. Lehigh was to play a game with American last week, and it was hoped that we might get a look at Lehigh before this week’s game. The game was postponed, so not only is it a big rivalry in any case, it is the opener for both teams, bringing additional intensity.
In the last 19 meetings Lafayette holds 16-3 edge, but be not fooled, the last several years has seen Lehigh close the competitive gap. The last five games have been decided by one goal, with two of those wins by Lafayette decided in overtime. Last year’s 1-0 win for the Leopards was at Lehigh, where a second period goal by Molly McAndrews was made to stand up by a stout Lafayette defense.
Maddie Kahn, the Lehigh goal keeper was to turn away a furious Lafayette attack that peppered her with 18 shots, 15 of which were on goal, giving her an amazing 14 saves on the night. Now a sophomore, she brings a year’s additional experience to the game. Lehigh managed only 2 shots in that game, one of which was on goal. I am sure, Coach Caitlin Dallmeyer is looking to improve in that area!
In the off season, she has moved to strengthen the attack, and now has three dutch players including a new freshman attacker Lotte Smorenburg. Lenke Havas, their fine senior defensive pre-season all league player who returns for another shot at Lafayette.
Lafayette answers with a new person in goal, no matter who of the three Goal Keepers on the team will be picked to start. It will be a key decision for Coach Stone, who also will bring a lot of experience to the field from returning veterans from their 12-8 season last year. The defense will be anchored by Sophomore Simone Hefting with senior Eva Kaplan, sophomores Sydney Woolsten and Shea Bolderson ready . Lafayette will support a solid midfield with Captain Anna Steps leading the transition along with Senior Grace Angella and Audrey Sawer supported by Mary Gold and Kara Tiedke. The attack is ready with Junior Molly McAndrew, Senior Sophie Carr and Alex Talkow along with sophomores Fecitas Hannes and Tara Hamilton.
The Leopards are deep. Last year, Lehigh substituted only 2 players the whole game, while Lafayette used their depth with 6 substitutions. Opening day, an abbreviated schedule, and some fans in the stands makes this an intriguing match. Although Lehigh has said it is considering allowing fans at their games, Lafayette is allowing at least parents to this game. ( Unfortunating two 70 plus year old, fully vaccinated fans have to watch it at home…..we could consider a temporary adoption!!! But I will save that for another blog)
There are no definite wins this year ( can I remind everyone of Bucknell’s loss to Colgate last week??)! Both teams will want this one for a variety reasons. Wish I could be there in person, but ESPN plus is already saved for this one!!
PS: Lafayette is allowing a limited amount of alumni at games….my wife and I have registered and will be in attendance. No need for a temporary adoption!!!