The toughest part of the regular schedule is about to begin. Its the part that really means something in that each Patriot League game counts towards one, deciding who enters the League tournament, and two who will host that tournament. It is the only sure way to get into the national post season NCAA national championships. A win in the League tournament also earns the winner a ring and ticket to compete against the best in the nation.
Saturday the Leopards will be taking on a very skilled and well coached Boston University team. Lafayette has not beaten the Terriers since their entry into the league two years ago, as the Terriers hold a 2-0 margin. Every game has been a close, well contested contest, and I expect nothing less on Saturday. Lafayette has played one top 20 team, Liberty University and lost a 2-1 contest. Boston has played two top twenty teams, Maine and rival Boston College, and lost one and won one. Both teams have been good in overtime Lafayette winning two.
Other stats are fairly close Lafayette has 20 goals to Boston’s 17, narrowly favoring Lafayette. Opponents have scored 9 against Lafayette and 11 against Boston. Lafayette’s shot percentage is .307 while Boston is .193. Boston’s SOG is 88 and Lafayette is 66. BU has 41 penalty corners and scored on 7, Lafayette has 27 penalty corners and has scored on five. Lafayette save percentage is 73 pct and BU is .67.
This game could well be a defensive battle. If Lafayette can break through and aggressively get to the Boston goalkeeper, advantage Lafayette. If Boston’s high press prevents that, advantage Boston. Lafayette will have to make quick decisions in the backfield and stop Boston getting off shots. Boston needs to do much the same with Lafayette’s advantage and success in scoring once the shot is taken.
I am sorry to say for fans, this will not be a runaway for either team but a tense battle until the final whistle. With the stakes high and skill of both teams, a one goal game is not beyond the realm of possibilities. The Leopards have something to prove against the ranked Terriers. So for them it is as much about respect as it is about establishing a winning record within the league. They are the visitors but Lafayette fans travel well.
It gets no easier as the Leopards on Sunday, will take on the UConn huskies, last year’s national champion and next friday will host the national runner up. Yes, this could be a defining week for Leopards.