Lafayette College traveled to Philadelphia to meet the Owls of Temple University for their first outdoor game of the spring. In the last two weeks the Owls had already met the Blue Hens of Delaware, Villanova University, American University, Penn State and James Madison. They used all that experience in their Saturday afternoon clash with Lafayette building a 3-0 lead in the first half and adding two goals in the second half before the Leopards were able to score their first and only goal in regular time.
Midway through the second half Kaitlyn Ewing added to her indoor total of 5 goals by punching in the goal during a scramble in front of the cage. The Leopards looked rough around the edges as the advantage in game experience showed during the afternoon. The one offensive corner the Leopards had, never got going and the young Leopards throughout the afternoon had difficulty finding open receivers. There were moments however that showcased some of the work during the offseason. Ewing seems to be getting more comfortable as she gets more game experience. Rachel Bird playing the center back position showed promise using her strong hit, as she found her teammates and was able to propel the ball downfield with strength and accuracy.
Those players who were hampered with injuries last year like Liza Welch got a chance for extended playing time. The Leopard’s captain Amanda Madagan was away at the Junior Pan Am games and defender Theresa Delahanty was nursing sore shins, but was on the sidelines cheering on her teammates. Goalie Gabrielle Ulery also got experience playing the entire second half.
I have to admit, Lafayette can play better, but considering the circumstances of a first game vs five contests by Temple the relative performances of the two teams is understandable. There is no denying that work needs to be done, and that’s why we have coaches and I just write and observe. In any case, it is ironic that 2016 field hockey for Lafayette is bookended by Temple. Having played its first outdoor game with the Temple Owls, the Leopards and the Owls will meet again on Oct 30, the last regular season game this fall. That’s when it will count!!
Next Saturday will be at home and Lafayette will host games with Lehigh, Cornell, and Colgate.