Junior Katelyn Arnold and Sophomore Rosie Shanks stepped up on Senior Day to have key roles in a 1-0 victory over Yale. Seniors Hannah Millen, Paige Macrae, Kirby Szalkowski, Kendall Weedling, Katie Birle and Abby Stefanides appeared for the last time in a Lafayette uniform at Rappolt Field. All were determined to make their last appearance on their home turf a memorable one. Pre-game ceremonies included introduction of all six players who were joined by their parents at center field in front of an appreciative crowd. This senior class has not only seen winning seasons but a Patriot League championship, a national ranking as high as seventh and an appearance in the national NCAA Division one tournament. They have also traveled as a team this year to Spain to compete and they have distinguished themselves in the classroom.
This year the team has qualified for the Patriot League tournament which will be played this friday and saturday in Boston. The winner of the tournament gets to go the NCAA tournament as a final sixteen participant. Sunday’s game with Yale, although a non-conference game was important, in that the seniors would leave with nine wins for this year ( three more than last year), a record tying appearance in the Patriot League tournament, and a chance to continue playing. They also succeeded in scoring more goals than the last two years in a season. This class wears a Patriot League Championship ring, and in their freshman year were consistently ranked in the top 20 while appearing in the NCAA division one tournament losing to Maryland 0-2.
The game with Yale was hotly contested evidenced by the 0-0 score at halftime, although Lafayette led in shots 5-3 and corners 4-2, each team was to hit the post. Yale’s Carol Middough was to hear the clank of metal at 18:32 and Ami Turner on the Lafayette side was to hit the post at 25:29. After the halftime break Yale came out determined to guard Lafayette closely and try to force turnovers, the Leopards were trying to flood the circle in hope of getting that second or third rebound to find the back of the cage. At 39:38 it was Rosie Shanks of Lafayette who was to break the tie as the ball came off the glove of the Yale goalkeeper into the air. Shanks spotted it mid waist, and batted it with the skill of a baseball player into cage. It was that goal that was to stand up for the remainder of the game as Katelyn Arnold was to make 2 key saves giving her and the team their second consecutive shutout of the weekend and Arnolds’s fourth of her career.
So as the clock ticked to 00, the seniors reached that poignant moment of walking off the home turf wearing the Maroon and White for the last time. ( I sometimes wonder if there is more melancholy from the student athletes or the parents) There would be the celebratory tailgate with memorable poems and laughter, and they were to do it with a win at their back. There is still work and things to accomplish in the coming days but for today they can return to the Hill after a job well done.