Lafayette Drops Season Finale With Temple 3-1

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Kristen Taylor chases down a Temple midfielder

It was a great day for field hockey, for everything but the outcome. The Leopards were to control much of the midfield during the game but could not find the back of the cage when they needed. They were able to stretch the field with the help of strong play by the backfield of Lisa Van der Geest, Rachel Bird, and Cody Hunsicker, as they were not only able to turn away the Temple Owls but provide strong hits upfield to their midfielders and attackers.

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Ellen Colbourne delivers the ball upfield into the circle for the assist.

The Leopards only goal was to come in the second period as Ellen Colbourne made a strong pass to the center of the attacking circle, finding Kristen Taylor, who was to deflect it beautifully into the net. Later in the period during a corner the Lafayette corner offense was to put Amanda Magadan in position. She delivered a perfect shot that was to be stopped by the body of a Temple defender. Many waited for a call for a  penalty stroke, that was not to come.

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Always a threat Rosa Jonckheer works her way around the Temple defender

Lafayette had already had their senior day and this was the Owls turn to honor their seniors as Temple will advance to the Big East Tournament to be played on their impressive new stadium next weekend. But there was the customary tailgate provided by the parents as they mingled for the last time with our graduating seniors!

The Lafayette seniors were involved in much of the action today, especially Amanda Magadan who had multiple shots. It will not be her last game of the year as she will be playing for the United States in the Junior World Cup in Chile in November.

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Amanda Magadan moves the ball upfield

The four seniors of Magadan, Arnold, Turner and Furneaux will be missed as will the parents who were loyal witnesses to their daughters triumphs and struggles during these four years. Especially will be remembered the team’s magnificent game against Boston University this year and the senior night come from behind win against Lehigh!!

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Arnold and Hunsicker provide a wall!!

I must admit the end of the season leaves me at loose ends for awhile, but I look forward to seeing the transition next spring. There will be winter workouts, early spring indoor game and finally the first test of the outdoor spring season where the new Leopards will begin to test their mettle against the rest of Division one.

Go Pards!!

Magadan, Vandergeest And Arnold Combine To Deliver Senior Day Win Against Lehigh

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Magadan atrracts a lot of attention as usual

It was played as it should be, a rivalry game with consequences. A win for either  team would give each a chance for post season play. It was a back and forth affair as each team played with intensity and skill worthy of the night. It also demonstrates the parity developing within the league as there are four teams still competing to play next week in the end of season league tournament.

It was senior night, as Lafayette’s four remarkable seniors made the game that much more memorable. All four were honored before the game with their parents and families and they walked on the field as competitors for the last time at Rappolt Field. Ami Turner, Amanda Magadan, Aliza Furneaux, and Katelyn Arnold received flowers and listened to their many accomplishments related to the assembled crowd. After the game they received presents and were honored by their teammates in a post season tailgate arranged by the Junior parents who outdid themselves in a memorable affair.

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Corner offense gets ready

The leopards opened the game with an aggressive attacking scheme getting an early corner opportunity which was stymied by the Lehigh defense. Lehigh had not had a game for almost two weeks and I am sure had the Leopards thoroughly scouted. The half ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

The second half was a similar affair until Lehigh was to get a breakaway and as Arnold came out of the cage was called for stroke. (Arnold was the unsung hero of the game making several key saves during the contest). It resulted in  a 1-0 lead for Lehigh. The lead wasn’t to last for long as the Leopards earned a corner. The insertion was delivered to Vandergeest who not seeing a shot, delivered to Magadan who stepped to the right and smacked a hard shot past the Lehigh goalie. The Leopards redoubled their efforts and several minutes later earned another corner, this time Lisa Vandergeest saw an opening and launched a rocket that was to be the game winner.

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Ami Turner breaks through

Lehigh was not giving up, but on this senior night Lafayette thwarted several attempts for Lehigh to get to the circle. Two to one was the end and the score reflects the efforts on both sides. Lafayette retreated to the tailgate to celebrate and waited for the outcome of the game between Bucknell and Colgate at 11 am on Saturday to learn of their fate tomorrow. In any case there will be a game with Temple on Sunday to end the regular season.

 

Senior Day And Lehigh

As we approach the end of the season, it’s a period of melancholy and celebration. The saddest and happiest parts of college sports is that we get to see these young athletes perform and grow, but especially at Lafayette, it always seems to be an process that gets shorter as I grow older. Everyone graduates, and it becoming a transition on and off the field. We have gotten to know these wonderful families, and their amazing daughters and now we are down to perhaps, two game left in their college athletic careers. Yes, we will welcome them as alumni and they will always be connected to the history of the field hockey program at Lafayette, but not seeing their exploits in uniform is a little sad.

It is appropriate that the last home game will be against arch rival Lehigh. This senior class has never been beaten by Lehigh, and this game could have significance, if Bucknell were to falter at Colgate on Saturday. If Lehigh were to win and Bucknell loses, Lehigh will be in the playoffs. The same applies to Lafayette, should they prevail. So battle they will, this Friday night, and for the seniors it will be an extra effort to create a memory they  can carry with them in the years ahead.

But today I celebrate this senior class. Coach Stone has described them as all extraordinary leaders on the field and off, and I would agree with that. Each is a contributor and had an impact on the team and at the College as a whole.

Number 8 Ami Turner

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Ami Turner takes to the turf for the turnover

Ami arrived four years ago as our first foreign player from North Vancouver,B.C. She had an exciting resume, having played a variety of sports besides field hockey, including rugby, and basket ball. She was MVP and Captain of her provincial team and scholar athlete. My impression of her on the field was one of unflappability. Ami can play any position on the field and has, with the exception of goalie. In fact, if called on for that, I am sure she would have been a great goalie.

She was an early impact player appearing in 10 games her freshman year, and getting her first career assist against Penn. She upped her game her sophomore year by starting all 17 games, scoring goals and making assists during the season.

In her junior season she blossomed into a key player starting all 19 games finishing second  on the team in points. She had a game winning overtime goal against Longwood played after a long lightning delay. Ami had the lone goal against nationally ranked Albany and the game winner against Lehigh to seal Lafayette’s 10th consecutive win.  She was tied for fourth in the League in assists.

This year she is tied in points at fourth with one goal, and second in assists and shots so far. I can always get an athletic shot of Ami on the field diving, and lunging trying to make a difference. She is an excellent student and will graduate next spring with a degree in economics.

Number 15 Amanda Magadan

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Amanda Magadan takes to the air as the Boston Goalie tries to take her out..the result was a goal

Amanda could be described as our most distinguished player. She has been a key player all four years, and recognized as one of the top players in the United States. For the past two years she has been a member of the US under 21 team, and will participate in the Junior World Cup this November in Chile.

She was a contributor to her Lafayette team right from the get go, playing in all 18 games her freshman year. Her stick skills and athleticism have always be her greatest asset. She arrived at Lafayette after a storied career at Randolph High School in New Jersey. As good as she was in field hockey she was an excellent softball player as well.

She was an all Patriot League selection her sophomore season and became a key goal producer including a goal against Lehigh.

She picked up the pace in her junior season becoming a unanimous first team selection after leading Lafayette in goals,points, shots, and shots on goal. She even made her second   career defensive save against UConn. She had at least one point in 12 of 19 games.

This season she leads the team in goals, points and shots, all the while being keyed by every team Lafayette played. Perhaps the best compliment I heard about Amanda was made by a Big Ten coach who was watching her in the US team tryouts, ” How the hell did I miss her.”!!

Well, we didn’t, and we were the better for it. Amanda will receive her degree in Psychology and Economics having been a dean’s list student. Perhaps we will see her in the next Olympics as well.

Number 24 Aliza Furneaux

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Aliza Furneaux and Amanda Magadan set up the attack

Aliza’s impact came as the result of hard work and talent. She only appeared in two games her freshman year. But she was not to be denied and cracked the starting lineup her sophomore year making a defensive save against Boston College. She developed into a star defender her junior year starting in every game she appeared in. The defense was outstanding that year,  allowing one goal or fewer in seven games. She continued to be distinguished by her skill in defensive saves .

She was named the Patriot League defender of the Week after shutouts of Colgate and Yale. Her block against Yale sealed a victory for the Leopards in that game. Perhaps not appreciated during that junior season was her ability to find shots as she had six overall, four which were on goal.

Her senior season saw her move to the midfield where her stick handling ability , speed and field sense were taken advantage of by the Leopards.She has one goal so far this season on four shots. However, most memorable was her game winning shot in the overtime shootout with Boston University. Character and leadership is her hallmark.

The impression as player she leaves with me, is her advances up the field, using her speed and her sense of the field when she passes.

But she is also an accomplished student maintaining a high GPA in her chosen field of Civil Engineering. She has an interest in the environment, and a her student research has led her to receive numerous honors, including a prestigious summer internship with the EPA. A leader on the field, and in the classroom , she leaves a very large footprint when she graduates.

Number 33 Katelyn Arnold

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Intense, is the word I would use for Katelyn, Lafayette’s fine goalkeeper. After having an amazing High School career Katelyn was certainly circled as one of our top recruits that year. She made two appearances her freshman year including one start. As is customary for goalies they have to wait their turn and in 2014 Kaitlyn earned seven starts on some our toughest opponents , Penn State, UConn, Penn, and got her first shut out at Holy Cross.

Her junior year was a break out year as she recorded three shutouts, a Patriot League high for the year and earned an all Patriot League Team recognition. She was named co-captain by her teammates in her senior year and made a number of spectacular saves especially in the 2-1 win over Boston University in a shoot out.In conference, she has a 78 percent save percentage to date, facing 61 shots by the othe Patriot League teams.

So far she was one of 11 Patriot League performers who were named to the all-American academic team, and is a two time NFHCA Scholar of Distinction, an award given to those who maintain a grade point average of 3.9 or better.( I doesn’t get better than her 4.0) This fall at the Maroon Club Hall of Fame dinner she will receive the Scholar Athlete Award for singular achievement on the field and in the classroom.  

She will receives her degree in Economics/Government and Law at graduation.

 

Bucknell Execution Stymies Lafayette In 3-0 Loss

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Bucknell defender, Brittany Willwerth in an example of “close” play against Lafayette

My wife often times kids me when I go home after a game and look at the streamed recording, but often times I get a perspective by not being in the moment. In the case of this game I got a better perspective of the relative game plans knowing the outcome. As I wrote before the game the statistics of these to teams were remarkably similar. Both teams came into the game with a deficit in scoring success. The color commentator in the streaming broadcast revealed the Bucknell coaching staff’s game plan. To compensate for for their lack of scoring on the field they were to generate corners and create scoring opportunities that way. So that was a point of emphasis during this past week’s practices.

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The Lafayette defense of Cody Hunsicker and Lisa van der Geest close in on Brittany Willwerth

Lafayette on the other hand needed to stretch the field and open up spaces to get the ball inside the attacking 25 to their forwards. It was Bucknell who was to execute their plan and ultimately prevail. One needed only to look at the final stats to confirm their successful execution. Lafayette was able to record  only 2 shots the entire game despite actually controlling much of the midfield play. Bucknell had 15 shots and 6 corners to Lafayette’s two corners. The first two goals came during these corners. When Lafayettee was able to penetrate the circle they left without shots or were unable generate corners of their own.

As was typical of games between these two rivals, it was a physical affair, but when Bucknell had corner opportunities they took advantage. The first Bucknell goal occurred with only 8:39 expired on the clock during a corner. The first attempt was stopped by Katlelyn Arnold but the official detected a foul and the second corner attempt was good as it was deflected off a defenders stick.

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Amanda Magadan looks for a way through two Bucknell defenders

The second goal came early in the second half as Anna Wills found an opening off an Estelle Palandjian assist to make it 2-0. Both goals came early in the respective periods and the Bucknell defense stymied the Leopard attempts to find open players at the end of long passes. The last goal came on a break to the goal by Bucknell with about 2 minutes remaining.

Despite the loss there were highlights by Lafayette. Cody Hunsicker found herself in duels with Bucknell offensive players and was to prevail on most of those occasions.Rachel Bird was strong defensively as was Lisa Van der Geest, forcing long periods before Bucknell attacks. Bucknell was to use effectively the speed of Marisa Morakis who was to generate 2 shots herself.

It was a crucial loss but the Leopards are still in the hunt for a place in the Patriot League tournament. However, it now depends on a loss by Bucknell in next week’s game against a weak Colgate squad and a win by Lafayette against arch nemesis Lehigh.

There are other goals the Leopards should strive for. With three games, a winning season is still possible. Tomorrow they meet with Harvard , friday will be the annual tussle with an improving Lehigh squad followed by a sunday match in Philadelphia against Temple.

A Clue To This Weekend’s Match With Bucknell Will Not Be Found In The Numbers

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Ellen Coulbourne speeds through the Colgate defense

Games with Bucknell  are very often season defining affairs and this weekend is no exception. Both teams face elimination from the post season depending on the Boston/Holy Cross match tonight, and the outcome of saturday’s contest. Bucknell is 1-3 in the league and most definitely will be eliminated with a loss. The Leopards are 2-2 and if Holy Cross finds a way to win tonight  could still get to the PL playoffs with a win over Lehigh, and if American were to beat Boston in the last game.

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Ami Turner takes to the turf for the turnover

To avoid all that, Lafayette needs the win tomorrow and against Lehigh to lock up their place in the playoffs.For a fan like me a look at the stats between the teams doesn’t help. On paper they look like twins. To compare apples to apples I looked at the Patriot League game alone. Each team has played a similar schedule with Lafayette yet to play Lehigh and Bucknell  yet to play Colgate, in their final Patriot League games. Here are the on field statististics for league game only.

Lafayette goals -1.5 per game opponents 1.25

Bucknell goals- 1 per game opponents 1.25

Save percentage- Lafayette .8o8

Save percentage- Bucknell .80

Shots Lafayette- 46

Bucknell -50

Corners Lafayette – 38

Bucknell-  47

Signature games Bucknell beat Albany, Lafayette beat Boston University.

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Junior Rosie Shanks beats the James Madison defender

Lafayette has very strong leadership in their senior class, and a strong young classes underneath. Bucknell has a young team who has contributed to some diverse scoring. Coach Cook from Bucknell noted their 56 entries into the attacking 25  without a result at Holy Cross last week, but he feels good about the game since both team are facing similar obstacles and both realize the importance of the game. He feels nerves will cancel each other out.

Senior Bucknell defender Emily Goodloe hopes the nervousness will go away quickly and they can concentrate on having fun and scoring. Bucknell has been good on their home turf, but Lafayette left early to get in a practice today to counter that advantage.

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Midfielder Kristin Taylor finds a opening taking the ball upfield

This game may well depend on how well both team’s young players perform. Lafayette’s talented young cadre could be the difference, and with US under 21 player Amanda Magadan drawing a lot of attention, we could see some key work by the young part of the squad.  Senior Kaitlyn Arnold has been playing her best hockey of the year in goal and could also be factor.

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Each coach will be planning to take advantage of the other’s weaknesses. Who executes better and shows the most heart could determine the end score. The weather will be a little raw by being cloudy and in the mid to low 50’s.

For all practical purposes this is a playoff game….Go Pards!!

 

Lafayette Battles Third Top Twenty Team In A Row

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Carolyn Turnbull lines up a shot late in game

In a hard fought battle the Leopards battled number 20 James Madison University in a 3-1 loss at Rappolt field. This was less than 24 hours after they finished an overtime game with American University. It took 23 minutes and 45 seconds for JMU to find the back of the cage as goalkeeper Kaitlyn Arnold had another great game in the cage recording six saves, many of them spectacular while diving and leaping in the air.

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Arnold blocks a shot against JMU

The half ended with the score 1-0 but it only took 3 minutes and 45 seconds for Amanda Magadan to even it all up 1-1 with her sixth goal of the season. The game went back and forth as the Lafayette defense turned back several strong attacks by the JMU midfielders and forwards. In the end, fatigue seemed to set in as JMU was able to score two more goals to lock up the win.

JMU had 15 shots, nine of which were on goal, while Lafayette had nine shots, five of which were on goal. If you were to break it up by periods, James Madison had 11 shots in the first half against five for the Leopards while shots were equal 4 to 4 in the second period.

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Cody Hunsicker starts play after a JMU out of bounds

The team will play the first  of two remaining Patriot League games against Bucknell on Saturday. The Leopards will need to win both games to assure themselves of a berth in the Patriot League tournament. A loss by Bucknell will eliminate them from post season play. The Leopards can build on these two past games to take to Lewisburg. Lafayette is in my estimation a good team, and should they get the offense rolling could not only win next week but take that momentum into post season play.

Rosa Jonckheer’s return to the attack should stimulate the front line and take some pressure off of Amanda Magadan. They should be able to hold on to the ball longer and give their defense a break. There were some great moments in the last two games and the Leopards will all need to raise the level of their game collectively, and  then they could present Bucknell with formidable problems.

Bucknell is very good on their home turf, a slightly harder turf than is found at Rappolt Field. The Leopards will travel on Friday to prepare for the Saturday game in what will be played in a playoff atmosphere. It should be great for hockey fans!!

 

 

 

Lafayette Falls To American In Second Overtime 2-1

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Magadan attracts a lot of attention driving the ball up the field

The Lafayette defense played well but a shot by American with a little more than minute into the second overtime dashed the Leopards hope for an upset win this afternoon. Katelyn Arnold stood tall in the cage with 8 saves assisted by Cody Hunsicker who had 2 saves of her own to fight American to a regular time 1-1 tie.

The Leopards opened scoring on a corner opportunity with only 5 minutes gone in the first period. Ellen Colbourne delivered to Amy Turner who tapped it to Amanda Magadan who rifled the shot past the American goalie. Although the first period saw the Leopards end it with a 1-0 lead, much of the offense was on the side of American. American had 8 shots with one save. The Eagles as is their custom used their excellent transition game to challenge the Leopards thoughout the game. There were several occasions that Lafayette was able to get around the overcommitted eagles and it was one of those moments that led to the corner and the Lafayette goal.

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Ellen Colbourne speeds past an American defender

The second period saw American redouble their efforts as they were to launch several shots at Kaitlynn Arnold who again was magnificent in the goal. However at 43:06 on a corner of their own, American’s Angela Virtua launched a shot to be deflected by Natalie March for their first and only goal of the second period. It was nine shots to three with two saves for Lafayette as the defense kept Lafayette within striking distance.

The  first overtime period visually was to look much the same, as the Leopards turned away the Eagles several times giving up 3 shots while delivering two of their own, one by Rosa Jonckheer who returned to the turf after a 5 game recovery from an injury.  The first overtime period ended in a tie.

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Kristin Taylor gets control of the ball

The second period saw early Eagle action as the tired Leopard defense having performed brilliantly all game gave up the winning goal on a cross at 86:37 by Lucy Whalley.

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Rosie Shanks, Kristin Taylor and Aliza Furneaux defend against an American midfielder

The Leopards will take on JMU tomorrow at 2 pm and next Saturday will have a must win game at Bucknell. Bucknell lost in a shoot out at Holy Cross making them 1-3 in the League while the Leopards are 2-2 having lost to Holy Cross and now American. Lafayette has still to meet with Lehigh as well as Bucknell and Bucknell will follow next week’s game  with a game at Colgate. Bucknell, Lafayette, Holy Cross and Lehigh could find themselves in a tiebreaker situation at the end of the season. Lafayette would avoid that with a win next week and against Lehigh the following week. More about that in a new article later on.