It has been nearly two months since the end of the season for the Leopards but preparations for the 2016 season have already been put in motion as the team and its Coaches look to improve and challenge for the 2016 Patriot League crown. Lafayette returned to the playoffs last year, but fell in a hard fought contest in the semi-final round. Although they will lose six seniors the Leopards will return a strong group of experienced players to build from. Team captain and all league and all region player Amanda Magadan will return for her senior season with a full year of experience under her belt with the under 21 US team. Amanda is the “Vice Captain” of that squad demonstrating the respect she has earned nationally and internationally. Rising sophomores Kristen Taylor and Rachel Bird have been playing in Spain with their home Canadian team honing their skills as well.
Coach Stone has been busy combing the US and abroad for new talent to fill in the gaps lost to graduation. She has signed six during the early signing period in November and has an additional commitment from an overseas star which will be revealed on the April signing date. She expects to add to that commitment with one additional to make the total new class eight strong!!!
A spring competition schedule is in the works for the returning veterans which will include an indoor tournament in Spring City, Pa on March 6-7, an April 2 game at Temple, and an April 17 game at Columbia. There is still an open slot on April 9th for a home game and the annual alumni game on April 16 followed by the team banquet.
In addition, the fall schedule has been finalized, which will include two early scrimmages with Rutgers and Columbia before an opening game at home with former Patriot League rival Fairfield University on August 28 at home, at noon. The Leopards will spend September playing out of conference foes Monmouth, Longwood, Yale, Quinnipiac ( now in the Big East), Towson,and Hofstra,before meeting Boston Uninversity at home at 7pm on Sept 23rd followed by Delaware on Sunday the 25th.
October as usual will be filled with Patriot League action with out of conference foes Albany, James Madison, Harvard and Temple mixed in. The Patriot League Tournament will be played at the site of the highest seed on Friday November 4th and Saturday the 5th. Followed by the NCAA tournament the next two weekends.
The team is returning to school at the end of January when preparation will begin to return to the field. My next article will focus on two initiatives at work by the NCAA. The first is to ease demands on athletes time and the increasing tendency for coaches to gather commitments earlier and earlier. In my neck of the woods, I have heard of commitments being given as early as the freshman year in high school to Division one schools.