It was a fine day for field hockey,sunny and warm with all the evidence of thunder storms long passed. It was a battle of undefeated teams in a beautiful setting. The facilities are excellent and both teams were able to display their talents to the delight of their respective fans. Liberty took the early lead with a disputed goal from the right side of the Lafayette goalie. Despite the entreaties of the Lafayette captains and coach, who believed that the ball was out of bounds before the shot, the goal stood. Lafayette came back with the fourth goal of the season from Katie Birle delivering during a corner off a rebounded shot from Hannah Millen.
Earlier Amanda Magadan looked like she would deliver the tying goal but it was legitimately ruled too high not hitting the backboard, and there was no deflection. It was later that most Lafayette fans thought a second goal by Liberty suffered the same fate, since there was no sound on the backboard, but it was not to be and was instead the go ahead goal. Lafayette had a last chance with a fast break off an errant Liberty pass. The Liberty goalie came out the cage to defend against Birle one on one. Birle was not to get the shot or a pass off and the threat to Liberty had ended.
The Lafayette defense played well as did Libery, but Lafayette had fewer chances in the offensive end to use their offensive firepower to test the Liberty Flame’s close in defense.
Liberty is a fine team, perhaps even a top twenty team, and they deserve the success they had, but in this case there was more to the score than the play on the field. There are regional and league difference in officiating no doubt, as well as individual tendencies, and Liberty legitimately took advantage of that. For example, in my interpretation of the rules and of others, when an offensive player purposely backs into a defensive player causing contact, that is an offensive foul. This is, of course, much like a basketball player backing into the basket, allowed in basketball, not allowed in field hockey. By my count this occurred and was called at least four time outside the shooting circle, three times resulting in a short corner with the official calling a deliberate foul against Lafayette.
The first Liberty goal occurred after the ball clearly went out of bounds, in the view of most people, neither of the officials were in a good position. The second Liberty goal occurred on a first shot and never hit the backboard, the same which occurred earlier in the game against Lafayette’s Amanda Magadan. I hope I can review to see if what I saw was correct but there was no video archived of the game to date. With the advent of video at most Division one Field Hockey games I would hope that there could be video replay available. It is allowed under NCAA rules and occurs at all playoff games and Olympic and World Cup matches. It would eventually even out the regional differences in officiating and make the game fairer, What do you think??
I want it noted this is my opinion alone and does not necessarily reflect any coach’s or player’s opinion. We left shortly after the game for the six hour trip home and did not have a chance to discuss it with players or coach. If anyone at the game or any other reader would like to discuss it, or has contrary opinion, there is a comment option at the bottom the page.
In any case the Leopards will be back in the friendly confines of their home field this friday at 7pm to meet Monmouth.
I got an email from one of our alumni parents. He not only showed me where to see the archived game but had a freeze frame of the first Liberty goal. From that vantage point the ball looked on the line, therefore in play. Looked at it myself and at the halftime highlights the ball looked in bounds. So a good goal!! I stand by my instant replay desire though.