Running a flawless drill is not the same as an 11 v 11 game and in its first outing of the season it is clear that there is work to do in the coming days to be ready for the first game on the 25th against Hofstra. There is another 11 v 11 rehearsal on Monday against Columbia and I would bet it will be a different looking squad by then.
As the sun disappeared in the western sky, inexplicably the lights never lit up and by the time the teams got ready to practice shootouts, after a regulation “game “/scrimmage, and a ten minute overtime, I was wondering if we had to get the cars organized to shine on the field. But it was metaphorical, as the Leopards never quite lit up the field with play, although there were some individual moments. Ellen Colbourne took several shots from the field, including a number of reverse chip shots and drag flicks here and there, all sailing over the goal. I would guess those shots will be more on target as the season progresses, as will several opportunities by teammates close enough to the goal to deflect the ball to the back of the net. Colbourne was finding space and twice got into a scrum in front of the goal along with teammate Rosie Shanks.
Teammate and fellow co-captain Cody Hunsicker had at least one defensive save which has been her signature in previous seasons. Shanks as usual was in the mix, freshman Grace Angelella showed her speed on several occasions, Meg Lillis showed her strength on several 50-50 balls, Sam DiMaio was her ubiquitous self around the ball, and Lisa van der Geest showed great determination on defense along with Rachael Bird. The problem was, there was no coherent mix that put it all together tonight.
Breaking a high press, did present several fast break opportunities as Monmouth did overcommit at times, but the visitors showed more organized cohesiveness tonight. Monmouth who were champions of their league last year, traveled to Europe earlier in the summer and showed what an extra two weeks of practice can mean. Add to that a large contingent of seniors, 13 returning letterman, including 9 starters, and a goal keeper who was second in shutouts in Division one, and you have a squad that will challenge opponents early in this season. Monmouth opens on the 25th against Bucknell. That should be an interesting game.
Talking with the Lafayette team captains, they agreed there were things to build on and mistakes to correct in the coming days. They are grateful for the opportunity to fine tune themselves against Columbia, who just opened preseason this week. They were confident that progress will be obvious next Monday.
The first real, on the record game, is in one week and I would guess this weekend will not be one spent in reflection. Like the captains, I look forward to Monday, and not just because of the Eclipse…. although it would be nice to have the lights working by then.