We got a peek at what may be possible this season as the Leopard’s turned up the heat from an earlier exhibition at Rutgers University. In game conditions, the Leopards met Columbia University in New York this afternoon, and I started to see what may be emerging for this 2016 version of Lafayette Field Hockey. What is clear is that there is still a better game to come from this team. There were three freshman starters, Sam DiMaio, Lisa Van der Geest, and Rosa Jonckheer who looked increasingly comfortable in their roles.
I also thought Cameron Costello did well during her time on the field. I later heard from her how much better she thought the team felt about this effort. It was the upperclassman however, who set the tone as Amanda Magadan, Ami Turner, Aliza Furneaux, and Ellen Colbourne were able to aggressively move the ball into the attacking areas of the field to set up three goals during the afternoon. There were a number of other chances that in later games will end in goals, I believe. There was no 7 v 7, a shootout was added at the end.
It wasn’t all perfection, as the leopards gave up too many corners to satisfy the maroon coaching staff. Columbia played well with the Lions taking advantage of the chances they had. But for Lafayette, there are several days left before the opening game with Fairfield, and I suspect we will see a busy Lafayette coaching staff polishing today’s effort. As I wrote, this team can still play better. Ami Turner in particular was impressive showing energy and skill from her midfield position. She has an uncanny ability to recognize her open teammates and distributed the ball showing her three years of experience. The entire bench of field players were used again, so the coaches now have a lot of tape to review and evaluate.
Meanwhile, the Patriot League announced it’s preseason selections and the coaches and sports information writers picked the Leopards third, behind Boston and American, ( I had predicted they would pick American first). However, the Leopards were to garner the highest number of preseason all league selections in Amanda Magadan, Kaitlyn Arnold, and Ellen Colbourne. They were tied with Boston University who also had three nominees. The predicted order of finish was Boston, American, Lafayette, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Lehigh and Colgate. Lafayette garnered one first place vote.
The Leopards will meet MAAC champion, Fairfield University this Friday. This will be no easy game at Rappolt Field at 6 pm. Most opening games are tough, and Fairfield is anxious to prove that last year’s success was no fluke. I will have more about the game before thursday with my take on the “Stags.”