Leopards Ready To Begin Spring Season

 

The long wait is over and the Leopards return to the turf to a series of spring contests  to get ready for the games that count this fall. Spring is always exciting to see veterans return with improved skills and a chance for those who saw little action this fall to challenge for future playing time. The weather has been a blessing this spring as the team has had numerous opportunities to practice on the turf in the past several weeks.

The coaching staff has arranged for a challenging series of contests against top ranked teams and even some teams they will see this fall. They will see several conference champions and NCAA tournament participants including University of Maryland who went all the way to championship game in Louisville last year.

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Molly Mc Andrews closes in on a Quaker

First up will be a contest with Monmouth at 6pm at Rappolt Field on March 29th. Lafayette has met Monmouth on several occasion in the regular season and we have witnessed a steadily improving program. Monmouth has been a regular to the MAAC championship game and last year they won it progressing to the NCAA first game only to lose a heartbreaker to William and Mary 2-3 in overtime. Monmouth’s statistics are impressive as they had a 13-7 record with a 5-0 record in the league. They were 10-0 at home.

They have an impressive offense getting 57 goals vs 35 by their opponents. That works out to 2.85 per game vs 1.75. They took 300 shots with 170 of them on goal.  They allowed 219 shots and 115 were on goal. They had a tough OOC schedule and they can play tough and close with good teams. This fall they will be playing in the American East.

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Anna Steps breaks the American press

Lafayette will be trying to improve on their 8-11 record using their 4-2 in conference record to build on. The Leopards will need to improve on their 39 goal performance (2.05 per game) while allowing 55 goals ( 2-89 per game). The Leopards took 239 shots and gave up 220 shots. They had a very creditable 115 penalty corners while giving up only 76.

The defense looks very solid with all-american captain Lisa van der Geest at center back. I would expect additional help to come this fall with the addition some high quality recruits. The Leopards will have plenty of experience in the goal with returning senior Sarah Park and returning sophomore Haile Abbott. The midfield looks a little more fluid with graduation of Theresa Delahanty and Kristen Taylor. All league player Caroline Turnbull returns as does Audrey Sawers, Anna Steps, Grace Angelella, Jenn DeLongis and all league rookie of the year Molly McAndrews to provide offensive punch.

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Van der Geest launches a shot during a corner after a Welch stop

The trick of course is to  put it all together and the first game with Monmouth should provide a window to our Leopards progress!! In future weeks there will be the tournament at Penn ( it will be their last games of the season) with Virginia and Rider on April the 6th at 11:30. Then the 14th at Towson with Maryland and a good VCU team at 11 am on Towson’s new field. Then its back to Rappolt for a 12 pm game with Columbia and seven days later a final tournament at home with Drexel, Quinnipiac and Villanova beginning at 11.

 

LCFH 2018 Gathers For Last Event

We are within months of graduation and weeks before spring games and the Lafayette Field hockey team met for its annual celebration and transition. The seniors are already beginning the transition to alumni and the remaining team is transitioning  to the 2019 field hockey team. They all met at a dinner Friday night to celebrate an eventful season and remember the past years of friendship, hard work and to look forward to new careers and education. The celebration included fans, parents, coaches and administrators as we all got to laugh at and admire the accomplishments of these student athletes.

We were in attendance with all-American’s and all League athletes but more than that we got to peek into the fun they experienced between the games we all saw!! The evening began with a review by the captains Rachel Bird, Theresa Delahanty and Lisa Van de Geest. They reviewed what they believed were their best games and reminded everyone of the grit of the team as they came back from a difficult start to the season to earning post season play!

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Captains Bird, Delahanty and Van der Geest review the season

Coach Stone followed with remarks about the team and their determination. She especially reviewed and thanked each senior for their contributions and saluted their abilities on and off the field. She reminded everyone of the challenge of playing 5 top 25 teams, having an 8-5 record in the last 13 games after an 0-5 start, and the great efforts against U of P, American, Lehigh and Villanova. The seniors,  reviewed to the amusement of all  attendees four years of memorable ( and maybe some forgettable) moments between games and training. The laughter was unconfined and the camaraderie evident.

The Juniors then saluted the seniors and mentioned their many accomplishments and noted their admiration for all, Rachael Bird, Theresa Delahanty, Andriana Pero, Liza Welch, and Kristen Taylor.  (Noted was Adriana’s scoring in the 99th percentile in her MCAT exams). They will be moving onto careers in medicine, engineering, business and perhaps the law and there was no doubt in the room that they would bring the same determination to their new endeavors that they brought to the astro turf field last fall.

There was then, the time for awards to be announced. Rachel Bird and Adriana Pero received the Academic Excellence award,  Kristen Taylor was honored as “Iron Leopard” for her fitness, Caroline Turnbull was voted by her teammates as the “Unsung Hero,” Rachael Bird received the Player’s Award, and Theresa Delahanty was feted by the coaches for her inspirational play and received the coaches award. Finally, Lisa van der Geest received the Rappolt Most Valuable Player award. In addition, those previously named for all-american ( Lisa and Theresa), Rookie of the Year ( Molly McAndrews), all-league ( Molly, Theresa, Lisa, and Caroline) and all tournament winners Caroline and Theresa  received their certificates along with the League weekly winners.

There was a considerably lengthy list for the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll that was posted in the program along with their majors.

In the end, there was an acknowledgement to the future as the spring schedule was published in the program, March 29 at Lafayette against Monmouth at 6 pm, April 6 with a tournament at Penn at 11:45 ( Virginia, Rider, Penn and Lafayette), April 14 at Towson, April 20 Columbia at Lafayette 12 pm, and a Lafayette tournament at 11 am with Drexel, Qunnipiac, and Villanova.

It was an evening devoted to the past with a look to the future and it was, as always, a privilege to be there.

 

Why Do Student Athletes Make Good Doctors ?

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There is a constant dispute within academic circles about the value of competitive athletics in colleges and universities. Many academics see the activity as a waste of time and resources, however that argument is not fact based. Do you have to be a student athlete to be a good doctor, lawyer, banker or anything else? The answer of course is no but, there is increasing evidence the best of each of those professions has benefited from their experience as a student athlete.

As a treasurer of a bank I always leaned to former student athletes when I hired… all other things being equal. Successful student athletes learn the skills of time management and teamwork. I couldn’t care less what team sport the applicant played but the demonstrated ability to juggle sports and academic requirements  was a valuable skill to consider in a prospective employee.

There is now additional studies available that confirm my more intuitive findings. The “Association of American Medical Colleges,” in an article published on February 8th in AAMCNEWS written by Jen A. Miller answers the question, ” Athletes are known for their drive and determination. So are doctors. But can you excel at both?”

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Amanda Magadan takes to the air as the Boston Goalie tries to take her out..the result was a goal

Miller relates the story of Brian Hainline MD as he interviewed for a neurology residency  at New York Presbyterian/Wiell Cornell Medical Center. The last part of the interview focused on a perceived conflict between his obligations of a students athlete and need for study.  In the end,” he was going to be the person who teaches everyone the sense of discipline and persistence.”  Hainline is now the chief medical officer of the NCAA and wants to formalize the pathway from student athlete to a career in medicine. He is partnering with the NIH to discuss a pilot project that encourages student athletes to consider professions in the medical field and attract a more diverse group of students to medicine.

There is data to suggest that students athletes who studied medicine became very successful clinicians. A 2012 study is pointed out by Miller done at the Washington University School of Medicine that studied clinicians ranked by the faculty.  I am quoting from the article, ” those who got the highest faculty ratings were those with an established excellence in a team sport.”

The AAMC Executive Vice President writes, ” So much of medicine is really about personality, or the ability to deal with people effectively, and the ability to lead people. Those are characteristics we see in student athletes who have been successful in team or individual sports.”

However, these same attributes are valuable in most any profession. A 2015 study by espenW and EY found that 80 pct of female Fortune 500 executives played competitive sports at some time in their lives , and that 65% of those on the 2017 Fortune List of Most Powerful Women played sports competitively in either high school, college, or both. Only 1% of student athletes go on to play professional sports. They become leaders in many professions.

Hainline states, “Some people believe you can’t be pre-med or be a STEM major and be an athlete at the same time.”  Hainline would be glad to know that at Lafayette we disprove that statement every graduation. It does however, beg the question are we doing our best to provide athletic experiences equal to our academic experiences?  Are colleges in general providing the resources to hire and retain excellent “coach-mentors” and is there a cooperative effort between the academic and athletic side of the institution to make the student athlete experience a valuable one? Is care taken that coaches are the equal to ALL faculty- teacher mentors?

Strong graduates eventually make strong and generous alumni, a benefit to the entire institution. This is a lesson administrators and BOT members must take to heart.

2019 Field Hockey Roots Leopards To Victory

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For the first time this year the 2019 field hockey Leopards were together in one place. New recruits joined the current team at a basketball game and the basketball team responded with a hard earned 69-67 win. The game was nationally broadcast on CBSSN as well.

Practice has started for the field hockey team and already our young women are looking forward to the late March and April spring games. Most that had injuries last season looked fit, there is still some rehabilitation to be done and one surgery was recently performed on Kara Tiedtke who hopes to return by the fall season. There is still a chance we may see more recruits before we close out the roster this June.

The team was into the whole game and during half time Hailey Abbott, one of our goaltenders, was picked for the $1,000 half court shot!  Let’s just say it doesn’t look like Hailey has a future as long shot basketball player!! Great effort though!!

The weather has been kind to the team as they have been able to get on the field already but, as Northeast weather tends to be, snow from last night is covering the ground again as I write this.

Spring is only 5 weeks away, meanwhile its time to get out my tractor to plow away some winter from my driveway.

Go Pards!!

Where Is Lafayette Field Hockey Now

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The recruiting moves are done, for the most part, and all Patriot League teams are now preparing for the spring season. For those first year players and parents, this is the toughest part of being a division one athlete. The training will be intense but the reward will be playing time in spring games. Most of the “games” will be all day affairs against multiple teams. Coaches typically move players around and experiment with new formations and combinations. The NCAA dictates time and the number of competitions. We all can be assured there will be a lot of hockey played and a lot fitness involved.

The new recruits will not participate unless they are designated “grey shirts,” those who are qualified and graduate early from high school and enroll at their college for the spring semester. It is a rare designation but it does happen. Current seniors have finished their careers, but could still participate if needed to fill a roster.  Those underclassmen who had a rough academic fall semester may not participate depending on local school rules. Likewise, those with injuries may be held out to continue their rehabilitation.

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Additional recruits could be added depending on availability. Foreign athletes are more likely to commit late, so additional names to Lafayette, American and Boston could happen as late as June.

Let’s look at the Patriot League as it stands now. Things may change after an active spring or the addition of a spectacular recruit. At the  moment, I believe our Leopards are in good shape. We are returning veteran players in key positions. It is the first time in my memory the Leopards will have a returning all American ( Lisa van der Geest), and the return of another all league player in Caroline Turnbull and the rookie of the year in Molly MacAndrews. In addition, there are several team members who were sidelined by injury for much of last season, who will undoubtably make important contributions. What also encourages me is the last part of the fall season, when the Leopards seemed to find their stride. The only disappointment was the last regular season game with Bucknell.  Perhaps there were undisclosed distractions.  However, their playoff performance at Boston shows me they are ready to compete.

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To my mind, this team is ready to compete for a title. It is no slam dunk and there are issues to be faced, no doubt, but they are as ready and as talented as any team in the league. The spring will be telling.

How has the rest of league fared? It is populated by talented coaches who have proven their ability to win. Boston in particular will be fighting for that NCAA spot again, and American is always a threat, despite losing key personnel to graduation. I was particularly impressed with Boston’s recruits which will complement their returning players nicely. Bucknell loses a lot of senior talent but their coach always finds a way to have his team ready. We will play them in Easton next year. Is this the year Lehigh makes a move? It is possible we will be facing Lehigh at their place in our last league game and their ten recruits will be ready for Lafayette. Lehigh seems to measure their season by a successful outing against Lafayette. We need to be ready for a tough game. American is always competitive but I don’t see changes that make them stand out. We will meet them in DC, and an early win there to add to our win last year would be a big plus. Colgate and Holy Cross are question marks for me and since we play them at home I am hoping for a W.  The League will be better and I see more out of conference wins from everyone. The out of conference play should be an indicator of overall strength.  I always root for a Patriot League team in out of conference play as it helps everyone’s RPI. Given our experience and talent, it is not unreasonable for us to have a wining record going into league play.

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I am really looking forward to a productive spring. I have not received the spring schedule and will let you know when that is available. If anyone knows it at this point give me shout out!!!

Rule Changes

There is a movement to change rules to conform more to the international game. I expect  the college game will move to 4 quarters next year with the clock stopping at corners. It won’t happen next year, but look for instant replay challenges to be mandatory at all division one sites. At the moment, all NCAA tournament games mandate it, as does the ACC and Big Ten. I am told by the Lafayette Administration, the change for instant replay, given the improved technology, is NOT cost prohibitive.

Patriot League Continues To Add To Rosters

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Sarah poses at Lehigh.

It is clear that many Patriot League schools are not done for this recruiting class. Lehigh has added two recruits to the original list I posted several weeks ago. First, they have added their second player from the Netherlands, Sarah Bonthuis a midfielder who played for HC Hoekschewaord, a smaller club that has done well recently.

They have also added Sophie Leighton, a midfielder from the Long Island powerhouse Mamorneck HS. Sophie is a three team all league selection and an all state selection this year.

It appears that Lehigh has pulled out all the stops in adding perhaps as many as 10 new players to the roster. Lehigh could be a factor in the race for a place in the League tournament by the end of the regular season.

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.