On friday Sept 2, the Leopards will be traveling to Monmouth University and ” So Sweet A Cat” field to play the Monmouth Hawks. The field, I am told, is named after a favorite horse of the primary donor. The Leopards, I am sure are not planning to be sweet in this 13th meeting of the two schools. Last year the Leopards prevailed in a 1-0 overtime game which ended two minutes into the overtime with a deflection by Katie Birle off a feed by Ellen Colbourne. The Leopards have had the better of the rivalry but that doesn’t mean these games were not hotly contested. Monmouth plays an energetic and aggressive brand of hockey. Coach Carli Figlio, in her 10th season as the head coach belongs to the school of ” the fastest way to move the ball up field is the long hard pass.” On defense they are not afraid to press, as their last two opponents found out. In the past two games against VCU and Lehigh, they scored a combined 8 goals while only giving up one in 140 minutes of play.
Their leading scorer is number 9, junior Alyssa Ercolino who is a first team MAAC selection and has three goals to her credit this year. She was named offensive player of the week in the MAAC. She scored two of her goals against Lehigh ( the 60th game of her career) which was her fourth multiple goal game in college action. On defense Julie Laszlo, also earned MAAC honors on defense that allowed only 1 goal, 7 corners and 16 shots in the two games. After the Lehigh game, Coach Figlio lauded the 2-0 start, the best start for the Hawks since 2009. She looked forward to playing Lafayette, who she described as a very talented team.
The Leopards have been working hard analyzing film all week, as Coach Stone met with each player individually to discuss their play in the last game. She was impressed with Monmouth’s energy and enthusiasm on the field for the entire game. She noted their athletic ability and expected a very intense contest.
The Leopards are developing a deep bench and had three different players put points on the Board against the MAAC preseason favorite Fairfield. The Leopards took eleven shots and scored on 27 percent which came from 6 different players. In the two games the Hawks averaged 18.5 shots scoring on 21 pct. The Leopards who were able to control the ball against Fairfield, especially in the second half will need to find the circle and challenge Monmouth’s strong goalie.
The Leopards will need effort on both sides of the field to emerge victorious in this first away game of the season, and being a “Sweet Cat,” is not in the Coach’s game plan.