American University, after winning a 1-0 game against Boston University, won the first round NCAA game against Kent State 2-1 and will play top ranked Duke University on Saturday at Duke. I don’t believe it’s out of line to ask ourselves if Boston University should have been named an at large team to the tournament. ACC member, Boston College was beaten by BU and they make it in. Princeton who came in second in the Ivy League to first place Harvard will be playing Penn State on Saturday. The rpi rating difference between Princeton and BU was minuscule.
Patriot League teams have upped their out of conference schedules which should raise the rpi’s of the league in general. Bucknell had beaten then ranked Albany. Lafayette beat then ranked number 9 BU, and I could go on. Scholarships in the Patriot League have made a difference but the schools themselves have served notice that they want to be competitive.
Holy Cross recently replaced their Coach as did Lehigh last year. On November 3 Colgate announced that Cathy Foto of Colgate would not have her contract renewed. She was with Colgate for 28 years. They only won one game this year. A national search will be made for a new coach.
In addition many high schools have installed turf which has improved the skill level of those going on to college. Club teams are flourishing, bringing expert coaching year round to young players. In addition the USA programs are encouraging competition at all levels.
So as the pool is getting better and bigger there will be more opportunities for schools to be competitive. In the end, it means we will see the Albanys, Lafayettes, Americans etc. with a higher profile nationally in the sport of field hockey.
Lafayette will soon be able to announce it’s early signees. I have no doubt there will be at least one all-American there, but more importantly the team and the league, with work, will have a chance for a bigger profile in the future.