The Leopards will travel to City Avenue in Philadelphia for the second day of spring competition by playing a regular game with the Hawks of St. Joseph University. The Hawks are led by third year head coach Lynn Farquar. St. Josephs returned to the A-10 championship game for the first time since 2008 after an undefeated league season. They lost to Umass in the championship game. The Hawk’s offense will provide a strong test for the Leopards as the Philadelphia squad averaged almost 3 goals a game, including a 4-0 win last year against their only Patriot League opponent Bucknell.
St.Joe’s return 16 players including their sophomore all american star Anna Willocks from New Zealand. They will have a freshman goalie in the cage who had an average 1.8 goals against average during last season.
This will be St. Joseph’s first outdoor contest while the Leopards had their first outing last Sunday against Lehigh, Cornell,and Temple. The Leopards will also return a large group led by all-conference players Ellen Colbourne and Lisa Van der Geest. Lafayette is relatively healthy and will substitute liberally during this off-season contest while moving people around to new positions and trying new strategies and lineups.
Most likely Lafayette will split goal keeping duties between Ellie Ulery and Sara Park who both saw no game action last year. The Leopards will also be looking for attacking mid fielders to replace graduating senior all american and national team member Amanda Magadan. But there is a plethora of talent returning, and it all may hinge on how players work together. The play of Kristen Taylor was very solid last week and I am certain she could be a key factor in the returning midfield along with rising senior Meg Lillis.
One area of work to watch for will be on attacking corners where goal production will need to be improved. However, last week’s experience should be valuable in making progress this Sunday. The defense is very solid with Van der Geest and rising senior Cody Hunsicker providing much of the leadership to a veteran group. Veteran defender and rising Junior Rachel Bird is still nursing sore shins but it should not effect her regular season. On the offensive side I will be watching our veteran freshmen Rosa Jonckeer and Cameron Costello as they get their second bite at true competition this spring. We will also see junior Rosie Shanks return to the field to bolster our offensive scoring after recovering from a minor injury last week. Rising senior Kaitlyn Ewing will provide strength and athleticism to the forward unit
The Spring season will provide an opportunity for other players to show what they can do. I expect to see improvement from Theresa Delahanty, Adriana Pero, Samantha DeMaio, and others as they step onto the turf. Ana Buzzard, Caroline Turnbull, Liza Welch, and Jenn DeLongis will also be in the mix.
As new faces occupy new places on the field, coach Stone will be looking to the intangibles that will provide a championship unit for regular season play.
The game will start at 11 am on Sunday.
Meanwhile the Field Hockey Bracket challenge continues as 2007 -17 categories looks to be pulling ahead in the both the parents bracket and alumni brackets. To play, we need to you click on the field hockey challenge on… http://www.goleopards.com!!!