The seven Patriot League Field Hockey Teams opened the 2017 season with mixed results from their out of conference contests this weekend. Only two teams emerged unscathed this weekend, Lafayette with their very solid victory over Hofstra 3-0 and Boston University with their two wins against Bryant 4-0 and New Hampshire 1-0. Against ranked teams the results were more problematic. American lost to ODU 2-4 after a close call against unranked Richmond 5-4 in overtime and Holy Cross’ 3-8 loss against UMASS. Jennings decided to substitute their starting goalie in the second half without effect in Sunday’s game with ODU. Their save percentage during the weekend was 33 percent. It is arguable that statistics mean little at this stage, but it is noteworthy American had 8 goals scored against them in the two game weekend.
Boston University survived the weekend demonstrating a strong veteran defense while scoring occurred having every goal scored by a freshman. The Boston coach has stated she has the top 10 recruited class this year ( where she gets that stat I have no idea) . In any case, the 4-0 game against Bryant and a very strong defensive performance against a good New Hampshire squad kept them undefeated.
Colgate’s loss over the weekend and the number of shots against them shows they have work to do. Remarkable was the number of defensive saves in their loss against UMASS-Lowell.
Lehigh opened with a win in their opening game against LIU 1-0 before losing to a young Ohio State team 0-4.
Perhaps one of the more interesting games was Bucknell’s loss to a very improved Monmouth squad 2-6. Bucknell could not get any offensive traction and was outshot offensively. All the more noteworthy was that the Bisons were playing at home.However, they bounced back smartly with a dominating game against a good Temple squad at Temple. Two of their three goals were on corners. I was particularly impressed with one goal on a corner, which was a flick over the head of the Temple goalie. The meeting between the Leopards and Bucknell later this season at Rappolt Field, should be a real chess match. It could be a key match for the Leopards.
The Leopards 1-0 start kept them undefeated in OCC games along with Boston, and both teams dominated the player of the week selections. Boston had three selections, while Rosie Shanks grabbed the offensive player of the week with her two game winning goals.
The Leopards will play their first ranked team in JMU this Sunday, after a game with Appalachian State on Saturday, both being played in Harrisburg, Va. The Leopards will depart Friday morning and practice upon their arrival in Va.
Addendum: This afternoon August 29 Bryant was defeated 12-1 by number 24 Maine. They were also defeated on Sunday 8-1 by Northeastern. This compares with the 4-0 game with Boston. I think the Patriot League may be more wide open than most people think. The games this weekend could be an indicator. Time to focus on the Leopards in Virginia this weekend. More in the coming days!! As they say one game at a time.