Championships Are Made And Are Not Inevitable

On a cold November 3rd in 2012 Deanna DiCroce lifted a penalty stroke into the top of the cage, delivering a second straight Patriot League championship to the Leopards. The win solidified Lafayette’s national ranking and gave them a ticket to a game with number 2 ranked Princeton on the following tuesday. Princeton was to become the eventual national champion and both teams were to advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association division one tournament. In both years, 2011 and 2012, Lafayette was not the preseason pick by any of the selectors in the League. The Leopards, in fact did not get any national attention until midseason, after games with nationally ranked Drexel and Albany!

In June of 2013 at the end of the school year the Lafayette Field Hockey Team and Deanna DiCroce ’13 received the Patriot League Women’s Team of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year respectively. The team had earned an at large bid to the NCAA tournament, a first from a Patriot League member. They finished with a 17-3 overall record and went 5-0 in conference play and undefeated at 10-0 at home!!  They scored 70 goals for a 3.5 goal per  game average and only gave up 1.3 goals per game for a total of 26 goals. All league goalie Jessica Deutsch and the defense allowed only 26 goals, while earning a  71 pct ga average. Dicroce  had a league leading 18 goals while defender Jenna Seybert had 10 goals. Yes, it was a “magical” season, but the effort, talent, and team work was anything but only “magic”.

DiCroce’s goal would have never happened if there wasn’t a win in the semi-final game the day before. Scoring was spread around with DiCroce, Machalick, Seybert, and Haley Keenan scoring the overtime goal, sending the Leopards onto the championship game. It was teamwork that prevailed in that game with Machalick, Seybert, Valeo, DiCroce and finally Seybert again, who provided the assists. At that point Lafayette had won 14 consecutive games.

DiCroce finds a spot between the legs of the American goalie

The championship game was played in a cold and windy environment and both American and Lafayette battled in one of the best games of the season. A  corner with no time left on the clock successfully converted by American, at the end of the first period gave the Eagles the first lead of the game. Lafayette had led in corners 4-2 but it was American who was to open the second half with a 1-0 lead. However, 16 minutes into the second half DiCroce found a spot between American’s goalie’s legs to knot the score at 1-1. The Lafayette defense tightened and held American to no shots as the game went to overtime.

Emily Valeo flies into the Colgate circle

Early in the overtime American’s Rebecca Treharne had a reverse stick shot from just inside the circle, but Lafayette goalkeeper Deutsch kicked it away ending the threat. She came out two more times thwarting American scoring attempts. With a minute left to play and the thermometer dropping by the second, Lafayette senior Emily Valeo was cut down by an American field player as she was taking a shot setting up the penalty stroke. After a conference at the sideline it was decided that DiCroce would take the shot and the rest is history. Ironically it was her first score on a penalty stroke that season!! The stands emptied and bedlam ensued.

DiCroce receives the long pass against Ball State

The point is this was a team effort, not magic. There were strong efforts during the season and everyone contributed .There was a great game against Bucknell where the Leopard’s 2-0 win, and goals by Valeo and Seybert set up a regular season championship and home field advantage. Games against JMU, Albany and Drexel established their credentials and even their one goal loss to Penn State after a 500 mile bus trip to Penn State after the overtime JMU win, set a tone for grit this team was to develop. There many others that contributed and I would run out of time and space in adulation.

The pictures tell it all. The eventual losses to national champion Princeton and past national champion Maryland 2-0 didn’t diminish what this team accomplished.

Coming up next will be this year’s senior leaders and their list of requirements and goals to make THIS season “magical.”




Coach Stone To Help With US Team In June

Coach Stone encouraging  Haley Keenan during NCAA tournament game against Maryland

The US national and olympic team will be quite busy this summer and Coach Jennifer Stone along with Jeremy Cook, Head Coach for  the Bucknell field hockey team and Joppe de Fries, Assistant Coach for the University Maryland will be keeping those members who remain at home sharp and ready to play. The eighteen member US team is traveling to England next week to play in the Champion’s Trophy tournament. However, those who were not chosen will remain behind at the national training center at Spooky Nook,Pa ready to be a substitute in case one of the eighteen will not be able to travel to the Olympics later this summer.

Coach Stone has already been busy at the national championship games at the “Nook.” It has become an event not only for coaches to serve but also observe the up and coming young talent in one place. Recruiting is a year round process for coaches and being able to see great talent is an advantage. Although her class of eight for fall entry is complete, she already has four commitments for 2017 entry!

She also has two camps in July which will be attended by her new first year players and many prospects for the future. Many of the current Lafayette players will work the camp. The team will also be busy keeping in shape with captain’s practices as well.

The full team will report for preseason on Aug 11.



Why Competitive Athletics Belongs In Higher Education

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of competitive athletics. But I think I have never explained why I think it should be part of the educational process. We all know how it has been abused by some universities. The recent scandals at UNC where high profile athletes were allowed to take basically no show courses, and remain eligible, is only one example. The influence of professionalism in many of the sports that generate huge sums of money for the “revenue” sports of football and basketball has caused distortions in the good that competitive athletics can do.

I am a big fan of the Patriot League, who has managed to keep everything in perspective. Looking at our own athletes, who graduate with degrees in economics, chemistry, and engineering along with a plethora of other legitimate rigorous offerings, is a source of pride for many alumni. I do get annoyed from time to time with a minority of those in the academe who berate and diminish the contributions of our athletes and the rigor and discipline they demonstrate during their four years.


I was amused during the period when Lafayette was considering joining the rest of league in offering athletic scholarships. Members of the joint committee that studied the issue were astonished ,that all things being equal, athletes received higher starting salaries than other graduates at the end of four years. I must say when I was hiring, I was much more impressed with the athlete’s 3.5 GPA than a person who spent four year planted at a desk in the library to get the same 3.5.

Athletes at Lafayette have over a 90 percent graduation rate, their GPA average is higher than the general student population , and they perform on the field. But there is even a better reason for its inclusion in the education process. It is an anchor to the real world. There is always a score that you can’t walk away from. I look at the academe today and there seems to be a sort of an Orwellian shift. Students are demanding a fundamental rethink of their education.

There is a demand by English majors at Yale to abolish classes that feature white male poets. So Chauser, Spencer, Shakespere,Milton, Pope and T.S. Eliot would be purged. At many colleges and universities some students feel they don’t like to have  to spend time with people that are not like them. Demands for segregated “safe” places are popping up all over the country. At Oberlin College, Asian students complained the General Tso’s chicken was not up to real asian standards. This is the same college where students believe no one should get less than a “C.”


At Johns Hopkins, administrators do not count first semester freshman grades. Low and behold, it discouraged new students from studying as hard as they should….duh. It  is now being phased out.

The athletic field is different. No one really cares about your background, just what you bring to the game. If you don’t do well in your studies you can’t play…. period and you have let down your teammates. Athletes have accepted a harder path and they get more out of it in the end. It is for that reason, I am proud to support our Lafayette College field hockey team…..because they earn it. The members of the team were chosen  because they are the type that have the potential to succeed.  Those new recruits who arrive this fall begin a journey filled with obstacles, but that’s just the point……isn’t it??




Time Machine: Oct 20,2001 Monahan and Stone Score In 4-0 Rout

It was Oct 20, 2001 and Lafayette has an 11-3 record and 4-1 in the Patriot League. The game took place after the dedication of brand new Rappolt Field. There was a nice crowd of nearly 750 fans. The roster consisted of many outstanding players, including Megan Monahan, sophomore player and now head coach Jennifer Stone. Also on field were goalie Amy Cohn, Erica Bartch, Carolyn Rodichok, Mellissa Hoh, Merideth Hahn, Kelley Maiers, Stephanie Goldman,  and Kristen, Chiusano.

As goleopards reported, ” The Lafayette Field Hockey team extended its winning streak vs. Lehigh to seven as they blanked the Mountain Hawks 4-0…….Megan Monahan notched a hat trick in the win..   Monahn opened the scoring in the second minute to notch her a-monahan-102001 11th goal of the year off a pass from Meridith Hahn.”

” Monahan tallied her second goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first half off a pass from sophomore Jennifer Stone to put Lafayette ahead 2-0. The Leopards remained strong  offensively in the second half including Stone who knocked in her fifth goal of the year after dribbling past two Mountain Hawk defenders in the circle.”

“Monahan completed her hat trick off a pass from Melissa Hoh. Hoh put on a dribbling display through the right side of the circle before finding Monahan at the far post for her second assist of the year.”

Cohen was excellent in the goal making 8 saves that night and the shutout, her fourth of the year.

Fortunately we do have some tape of the game. Here is Monahan’s first goal off a Hahn assist. Gary Laubach, voice for Lafayette athletics has the play by play and Kalee Salber hall  of fame field hockey player has the analysis.

Late in the first half Monahan scores her second off a Stone assist. Here is the slow motion  review by Kalee.

Early in the second half Stone scores on a nifty reverse stick shot after dodging two defenders

Finally Monahan finishes after a brilliant sprint by Mellisa Hoh to get her hat trick