The 2015 version of Lafayette Field Hockey finally officially arrived today, August the thirteenth. For the first year teammates, it’s the end of a journey that began as long a two years ago. There were searches, showcase camps, recruiting visits, a coveted offer, and finally signed commitment letters. This was not the first meeting for the new leopards. Each new leopard was a assigned a team mentor and has already had the opportunity to bond with their new teammates with whom they will be spending much of their college hours. My observation at the opening tailgate hosted by the veteran parents is that this group is already a team. It was a time for good-byes and welcomes, greetings and “see you soons,” and maybe a tear or two from anxious parents.
But this will be a group that will be in contact often, as they follow their daughters in their next adventure, and friends will be gained as the Leopard’s most loyal fans will be in stands in Easton to Boston,Lynchburg Va. to Washington DC. From the other parents, they will learn about new rivalries and new hopes for new championships.
Coach Stone and her staff will waste little time putting together this new team. The afternoon will be occupied by getting new uniforms, physicals, or receiving new practice equipment. Their first taste of intercollegiate division one field hockey will come next week against Big Ten Rival Rutgers in a pre-season scrimmage. It is then, after a week of two a day practices, and strength training that all that effort will be put to the test. There are certainly questions to be answered. What will a newly constituted defense look like? Where will the scoring come from, and can the leopards raise their goal production in the coming season. Is the bench going to be deeper?
This a program with a deep tradition of success and some of that recognition came in the form of the Patriot League naming of athletes to the all 25 year team. The Leopards claimed 5 to the team, Andrea Dagostino ’94, Deanna DiCroce ’13, Suzi Farrell ’92, Megan Monahan ’03, and Jennifer Stone ’04. To my mind there are two missing names, Emily Valeo who holds the Patriot record for assists, and Jackie DeAngelo who hold the single season records for save percentage of .91. Since there were multiple nominations for goalies, I suppose that hurt her chances but to this fan I think it was a glaring omission.
In the coming weeks I hope to be able to report from practices spiced up with pictures and video. Until then good luck to everyone.