Boston Weekend Continued With Harvard Loss

Audrey Sawers shadows a Harvards midfielder

I would be wrong to put on a happy face  and write that we did some great playing but lost due to some unlucky breaks. You do things as team win or lose. That is not to say there weren’t individual highlights on sunday. You had to see the individual effort on  Leopard faces to appreciate their frustration. But I would ask them to consider this, with the exception of the Harvard penalty stroke, none of Harvard’s defensive schemes or their offensive displays came with single person efforts.

Theresa Delahanty closes in on the ball.

Yes, we did have some individual highlights, and we do have a young team, but we failed to mesh together. In clearing the ball, we were more into individual effort to break a press, and as the game progressed our breakdowns occurred because we were hoping an individual could use their skills to dodge or power their way up field. We looked for individual heroics as we tried to press without using double teams. Asking someone else to make that great play to break open a game is not a recipe for consistent success. Games like these can be learning tools by reviewing, as a team your work together,  focusing on things that can be accomplished in the future. Certainly, you shouldn’t dwell on losses but learn from them!!

The leadership challenge will be in keeping it all together in this tough patch and emerging stronger. You win together not apart. We are only at the halfway mark. and a majority of the Patriot League games remain, as is the possibility of having a winning season…even a championship season. But the journey is only successfully ended when we find the assist that has eluded us this weekend, or the clear, moving  as a team up the field, seeing the open teammate while breaking a high press. That may require moving to get open and practice to know where  your teammate will be during the heat of a game. That’s when success will appear.



Yes, and it also means taking a chance now and again, by breaking a well known pattern that the opposing team has seen on recordings. I WANT to see us play against Boston a second time. But that will happen only with additional Patriot League wins, three more, for certain. A winning season is there for our Leopards, indeed without wins from this Boston weekend, but with wins accumulated in the next 9 games and hopefully into the playoffs, building on the experience and lessons learned in this two day stretch.

I look forward to the tenaciousness from Theresa, the fearlessness from Sophie, the stamina and effort from Audrey, the blazing speed and leadership from Ellen, the strength from Meg and Cody, the cleverness of Grace, the focus from Rosie,  the skills from Lisa  and I could go on. However, most of all I’d like to see the team put it all together and build on each other’s strengths to reach our goals. Go Pards!!

Boston University Defeats Lafayette 5-1

Last week Boston University’s Head Coach Sally Starr, after the 8-1 thumping they received at the hands of Connecticut, announced they were going to use the recording of the loss as a teaching tool. She stated they were going to view it again and again and use it to correct every mistake and weakness they saw. Mission accomplished, as they used the week’s preparation, and came out performing without many flaws , using their 9 shots to Lafayette’s 4 and their 5 corners to Lafayette’s 3 to take advantage of every breakdown in the Leopard’s play and turn it into a scoring opportunity

Grace Angelella gets low to block Boston’s advance

Play was fairly even until 20:17 left in the first half, as the Terriers used a breakdown in coverage to score a goal, making in 1-0. Over the next 7 minutes the red team scored two more goals, one after a Lafayette defender found herself on the ground, and a second that just bounced over the Lafayette defender and goalie into the cage. But all was not lost, as Ellen Colbourne used her great speed intercepting a ball, and going one on one with the Terrier keeper, zipping it past her to make it 3-1 a the half.

Audrey Sawers uses her great reach to get the best of a Terrier

The Lafayette faithful were looking forward to the second half for more of the same action from Colbourne. They did get some of that with Sophie Carr, using her defensive skills  stole the ball at mid-field and headed for the Boston goal untouched. The Boston goalie came out to meet her, as Ellen Colbourne showed up at the circle. Carr passed the ball to Colbourne just as the goalie made her guess,  and Colbourne’s shot got blocked.

Ellen Coublurne makes herself known to the Terrier center back

Anyway, Boston was determined and prepared, and will walk back to their dorms with the 5-1 victory  under their belt. Lafayette will move on to Harvard tomorrow, who won in overtime against Yale 2-1 today,  and Princeton comes to town to play the Terriers after defeating Dartmouth.

As to the game film, like Boston using their UCONN film to advantage, perhaps the Leopards can improve on their play to correct their errors made today. Harvard will be the 4th ranked team they play this year and next week will be their 5th, defending national champion Delaware.


First a stop they forward to the goal!!

Lafayette was not the only team to watch this weekend in Boston. My 10 year old grand daughter played in  her first field hockey game… ever. Her team Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart defeated their arch-rival Dana Hall 2-0. The ten year olds acquitted themselves well and Ellie my  grand daughter was seen playing a firm defense and moved the ball well at attack!!

A little dodge and she is gone!!

A Statistical Breakdown On Boston University

Freshman Miya Denison moves the ball against Bryant

The Lafayette Leopards will leave at 6 am on Friday the 22nd and travel to Boston in anticipation of two games with ranked opponents Boston University and Harvard University. First up on Saturday  at noon will be league rivals, the Terriers of Boston University. The early departure will allow for time for the Leopards to practice on New Balance Field, the Terriers home venue. This is again one of those games difficult to handicap. Last year, Lafayette won their meeting with the then number 9 Terriers in a shootout at Rappolt Field. This year it is hard to judge who Boston will have on the field.

The Terriers welcomed a large talented freshman class and in fact their two top goal scorers are freshmen Miya Denison and and Alisa Connolly. The two scored two each in the relatively weaker early games against Bryant, New Hampshire and Miami. However, each had one goal against UMass,  and Denison scored the only goal in the 8-1 loss at UConn.

Lisa Van der Geest Lines Up  A Shot with Shanks stopping and Hunsicker backing up

Boston is riding a 3 game losing streak but the losses were against tough opponents (UAlbany, Umass and UConn). So they will meet the Leopards with the losing streak and the loss last year on their back….added to that, it is their first league game of the year.  There is  motivation aplenty for the home team.

Lafayette brings a 5-2 record after a disappointing loss against a good Cornell squad. In addition a 2-0 league start would be a tremendous leg up for playoff positioning. Lafayette also brings a talented freshmen group with Grace Angelella tied with senior Rosie Shanks for goals. However, goals can be scored by a plethora names with seven others having found the back of the cage in the previous 7 games.

Corner defense and Sarah Park form a wall

There is a large difference in strength of schedule with BU ranked 29th and Lafayette 48th, mostly due to Lafayette playing lower ranked Colgate last week. In RPI, according to Field Hockey Corner, Lafayette has the edge rated 26th while BU is 27th.

Lafayette’s defense is very solid letting in only 8 goals over 7 games. So far this season Lafayette has scored 16 goals to BU’s 13 while the Terriers gave up 15 at the same time.  Lafayette goal keeper Sara Park has been on the field 100 percent of the time and sports a very good 81 percent save percentage. The Terriers have been splitting goal keeping duties between freshmen Millie Baker ( 52% save pct) and junior Kathleen Keegan (71.4 pct save pct). Keegan has started every game and Baker has come in at the half. Keegan has had 6 goals against her and Baker has had 9 goals against. Lafayette’s Park has 8 goals scored against her.

The two high scoring freshmen on the BU squad have played about half the time and as far as I can tell do not start. So what will the Terriers look like at the start of the game?  I would guess Keegan at goal and mostly upper classmen on the field with their two hot freshmen at the ready.

I expect a low scoring game given Lafayette’s defense and Boston’s home field advantage.   However if the Leopards can control the ball and get into the scoring third perhaps their 48 to 39 corner advantage will be the difference. All in all it comes to down to execution with these two talented teams. BU will take advantage of mistakes, so Lafayette must limit turnovers and make those corners count!! So 12 noon EDT, and about two hours later we will know!!

Lafayette Falls To Cornell 2-0

In a hard fought contest that was dominated, for the most part, by competing defenses the Leopards lost to the Big Red from Cornell. It’s been ten years since these two teams met on the turf in the regular season and the 2-0 score was a repeat of that 2007 score. Lafayette opened up strongly, winning 50/50 balls and spending much of the first 15 minutes on Cornell’s side of the field. The statistics for the first half confirm the balance. Cornell had three shots while Lafayette had 2. Corners were even 1-1. Sara Park had two saves to preserve the 0-0 tie at the half.

Rosie Shanks attacks the circle in the first half with Audrey Sawers at the ready.

The second half early going was much the same. However, Cornell’s quick starts on penalties and their ability to spy Lafayette’s passing lanes and jump to intercept the Leopard’s passes eventually led to a possession that resulted in a opening goal. Katie Carlson of Cornell received a pass into the circle, and as Park came out of the goal for the block, Carlson spun around, revealing an open goal to make the score 1-0. Cornell found the back of the cage 9 minutes later  on a hard direct shot of a corner.

The Leopards were not done when late into the second half during scramble in front of the cage it appeared Lafayette had scored, as the near official called a goal. As both teams marched into position to start play again, the officials conferred and the goal was disallowed because a Lafayette player was observed with a foot fault before the shot.

Sam Di Maio looks to get into the action

The Leopards were to continue to fight to no avail. Coach Stone decided to pull her goalie  with about 4 minutes to go leaving an additional field player on the field. Lafayette was to manage several shots, one from Sam Di Maio, and one on a corner as time expired. The statistics for the whole game confirmed the even match with Cornell leading on shots 11-8, while the Leopards led on corners 6-4

Sara Park recorded 6 saves while Cornell’s goalie Maddie Henry earned the shutout tonight with 4 saves. In 280 minutes in the cage this year the Cornell sophmore is unscored upon.

Although disappointed with the loss, the Leopards will regroup and face Boston University in a League game on Saturday at 12 noon. There will be lessons learned and game tapes to analyze as a win against Boston will be an important stride in making the league playoffs. This will be Boston’s first league game while Lafayette arrives 1-0 in the League after their win against Colgate last weekend.

Steps Wins It In Overtime After Shanks And DiMaio Get It All Started

Steps and Stone are interviewed after the win

Anna Steps took the ball after about 7 minutes had run off in overtime. Seeing an opening she dashed into Colgate’s scoring circle dodged one player and saw a space between the Maria Krull, the excellent Colgate goalkeeper and one of her teammates. With a quick stroke, the Lafayette faithful were treated to the satisfying smack of the ball hitting the backboard. It was suddenly over and the Leopards emerged victorious with a 5-1 record and 1-0 in League.

Andriana Pero powers past the Colgate defender

The Leopards outshot the Raiders 27-6. They out cornered Colgate 13-3 but alas as the clock wound down to 00 in regulation time the score was tied. The first half looked for a moment like the rest of the game would turn into a multi-goal  win. Both teams probed all first half with each side looking for weaknesses. The sun  had begun to cook the astroturf and temperatures began to rise on the field and in the game. Nineteen Leopards saw action while seventeen raiders made it onto the turf.

Ellen Colbourne attracts Colgate attention

Late in the first period the Leopards began to make inroads. The Raiders had basically formed a solid wall inside the circle  making shots more directly at the goalie difficult. As Ellen Colbourne, the Lafayette captain and speedy midfielder remarked,” The Colgate goalie had an excellent game and everything we shot from the front wasn’t going to work, it became obvious goals would be scored from the side and on rebounds.”

Meg Lillis turns the play around

And thats, indeed how it happened. The Colgate defense began to break down and the first signs happened as Adriana Pero was able to get into the circle. Shortly thereafter after a corner, Sam Di Maio finished a rebound off the right side. It was about 2 minutes later that Rosie Shanks received the ball from DiMaio and slammed it past Krull as she moved to protect from a another DiMaio shot.

With a 2-0 lead the Leopards looked like this was to be a comfortable win but Colgate’s Michaela Corvi came to  play, and found the back of the cage after a long pass got her behind a Lafayette defender at 40:59. Exactly 6 minutes later the Raiders knotted the score on a Molly Klare penalty stroke.The Leopards were determined not going to lose this one, but first had to overcome two late penalties which left them down two players for nearly the last 5  minutes of the game.

Speaking to Lafayette defender Lisa Van der Geest after the game she said,” We wanted this game and stuck together to get the win.” With about 8 minutes left in the first overtime, Anna Steps, the third Leopard to score, created her heroics planting the winning goal past the Colgate keeper.

Next up is 4-1 Cornell in a Patriot League vs Ivy League match up. Cornell’s last outing ended in their first loss of the season to ranked Rutgers. Game time is 7pm at Rappolt on Monday!

There Are No Small Parts Only Small Actors

The title of this article is of course purloined from the great russian actor/director Constanin Stanislavski. His contributions to the theatre included the process and term “method acting” where the actor brought their own unique experiences to the stage as their contribution to the finished product. I have obviously been an enthusiastic supporter of athletics in the academic setting because it provides a real life experience for its participants on organizing and participating in a successful enterprise. That is not to say another person can’t get the same benefits from playing in an orchestra, singing in a choir or being a member of the staff of the student newspaper. It all depends on your talents and interests.


I  think sometimes we focus too much on the star of the show, the soloist, the feature writer, the goal scorer or the touchdown maker. But the successful teams are teams that focus on team goals. Yes, there are always stand out talents, but most often its how the team works together that allows for real accomplishment.

I am friends with a brilliant biochemist who was doing cancer research  at a  major academic institution. As it turned out there were several other researchers at the same institution doing the same line of research. His frustration was that there was very little cooperation between them. The research efforts became a race as to who might get the next Nobel, or other recognition rather than speeding to an ultimate solution . There was spying, plagiarism, and in one sad case of fabrication of data which actually delayed solutions as resources were diverted. It resulted in a halt to funding of other projects as policies and procedures had to be reexamined by the university to receive any additional grants.

Indeed, some of that example was just arrogance, but I am positing that the making of successful enterprises are usually the result many smaller contributions that add to the ultimate goal. In athletics, the goal scorer is the product of hard practices against talented teammates whose contribution it is to help that person perform better in a game. In many ways, its a harder role to accept but it is part of the learning experience that can be applied in other contexts. When that second alto in the choir becomes a surgeon she will remember her experience in the making of beautiful music and organize her surgical team to provide the best service and save lives by surrounding herself with the best talent available.

Our team is off to a good start, and we will not know where it ends until the last whistle of the last game, but no doubt, if successful, everyone will have earned that championship ring not just the goal maker. It’s why I love  sports. It’s why I love a fine orchestra or a well run corporate organization. Each of those successful organizations realize there are no small parts!!!



The Colgate Raiders invade Rappolt Field this Saturday at noon. They feature a new coach and a lot of new players. When I interviewed our captains earlier this season they opined there are no easy games, every opponent must be respected. The most important game is the next one. Well this is a league game AND the next one…GO PARDS!!


Four And One On A 4-1 Win Against Drexel As Angelella Scores Two




The Lafayette Field Hockey Team had a workman like afternoon defeating the Drexel Dragons 4-1. The Leopards showed their diversified attack as three Leopards joined in the scoring.  Grace Angelella added to her week end total with two goals today making it three for the weekend. Team co-captain Ellen Colbourne scored her second goal of the weekend  and Caroline Turnbull added to her season totals with a goal on a corner.

Corner goal by Turnbull with assist by Van der Geest

However it was teamwork that led to Lafayette success as Sam DiMaio assisted on both Angelella’s goals and Audrey Sawer and Lisa Van der Geest got the helpers for Colbourne and Turnbull respectively.

The game started  with each team feeling each other out, but it was the Leopards who were to demonstrate their strength inside the circle as DiMaio found Angelella on the cross who delivered the strike to left side of the goal for the opening score after 17:14 had run off the clock. It was only about 3 minutes later the pair was to quite nearly repeat the same play establishing a 2-0 lead in the first half.

Senior Rosie Shanks speeds up the sideline

Seventeen minutes into the second half Colbourne was to record Lafayette’s third goal of the game coming from a pass that was neatly delivered by Audrey Sawers who demonstrated really powerful skills all game long.

The Leopards were not done as Turnbull finished the Maroon and White scoring on a corner after an assist by Lisa Van der Geest.

Leopards Fans glow with pride at accomplishments so far this year

Defensively  Lafayette showed great determination when at one point in the second half they found themselves down two players, briefly, with Theresa Delahanty receiving a green card and Lisa Van der Geest getting a yellow, on an “iffy” call along the sideline.

Sara Park was strong in the goal turning at least two threatening situations away having to come out of the cage to protect the Lafayette goal.

Drexel was able to place a ball in the cage on a late goal at 64:45 by Tess Horn. Play ended with Lafayette getting several corners after time expired.

It would be hard to exclude play by the midfielders, Theresa Delahanty,  Kristen Taylor, and Liza Welch showed skill and strength rotating in . The Leopards are deep this year and the talent is broad which will give future opponents fits. Colgate will arrive next Saturday at Rappolt Field hoping to score the first Patriot League victory for their new coach. The  Leopards will be practicing all week and preparing for this important noon game, and making sure they emerge with the win instead.

Leopards Turn It On Against Fairfield As Colbourne, Ewing, Angelella, and Carr Find Back Of The Cage

Ellen  Colbourne turns it on as she heads for her first goal of the year

Two seniors opened up the scoring  in the first half against Fairfield this afternoon and two freshmen finished the day in the second half to give the Leopards a decisive 4-0 win. This raises Lafayette to 3-1 on the year, It was their second shutout of the season. The afternoon was mild, as the Leopards stepped onto the Fairfield turf for the first time in 15 years. They made for  a memorable afternoon as senior Ellen Colbourne opened the scoring, using her blazing speed, running up the right side of the field, outdistancing her Fairfield defender. She found herself all alone just inside the circle and saw her chance, launching a shot to the goalie’s right side before the goal keeper realized the ball was coming her way. The 1-0 lead was established with only 7:04 having run off the clock. It wasn’t until 15 minutes had past, when freshman Anna Steps found senior Kaitlyn Ewing near the cage, and delivered a perfect pass allowing Ewing to deftly deflect it past the goalie for the 2-0 lead.

Grace Angelella gets the first of her career in the second half

The field was a dry one compared the wet turf the Leopards were used to. In addition, in  the first half, the East West lay out of the Fairfield turf had the east goalie looking into the sun. The Fairfield goalie in the first period, was on the east side was and gave the Leopard offense a slight advantage nullifying the the dry turf surface..

Anna Steps keeps the defender off balance as she delivers for the assist

In the second half, the positions were reversed, but the sun was no hindrance, as Grace Angelella found an opening during a scrum in front of the cage and lifted the ball over the goal keepers stick, sending the Leopards to a dominating 3-0 lead. With less than 5 minutes to go in the game, the Stags were trying to clear the ball out of the circle and Sophie Carr, using her speed and athletic ability, jumped and blocked the ball, delivering a goal to the surprised Fairfield goal keeper.

The Leopards led in shots 13-8, while goal keeper Sara Park made 4 saves, including a spectacular save coming out of the cage cutting off the attackers shot and progress. There were few corners with Fairfield getting 4 and Lafayette 3. The Leopards, especially early,   seemed to have difficulty with the bouncy turf on the corners.

Obviously pleased with the offensive output, Coach Stone was especially thrilled with her defense which held the Stags at bay all afternoon and started  many counter attacks. It was a fine afternoon of hockey as all parts were in sync.

The Leopards will have a day of rest before taking on the Drexel Dragon’s at home on sunday, scheduled to be live streamed at 1 o’clock as they begin a three game home stand!!

Initial Field Hockey Corner Ratings Come Out With Lafayette in Top 25. NFHCA Poll Of Coaches Has The Leopards Left Out.


Lafayette makes sure that possession is maintained

The Leopards are now 2-1 after having played their first top 25 team James Madison. The Dukes moved to 15 in the Coaches poll this week while JMU in the RPI calculation is 11th ( .25 won/lost, .5 strength of schedule and ,25 from opponents strength of schedule). The RPI is the same calculation the NCAA relies on to decide on entrants to the national tournament  who have not won their conference. Lafayette is ranked 19th nationally in the RPI calculation and 24th using the ACR ranking ( .5 goal differential using a maximum of 5 goals and .5 won/loss record).

In addition sophomore Caroline Turnbull was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week. This is the second week  in a row that a Leopard was named to the player of the week list. Caroline scored her first goal of the season in the 2-1 win over Appalachian State and had a defensive save against JMU the following day.

Lafayette takes to the road and route 95 as they travel to Fairfield, Connecticut to meet with Stags at 4 pm on Friday. Last year the Leopards scored in the 50th minute to break a 2-2 tie and hold on for a 3-2 win. However the Leopards outshot Fairfield 11-3. The last time Lafayette met Fairfield at Fairfield was in 2002,several weeks after 9/11. The Leopards prevailed in that meeting also 3-2 while shooting 17-5 against the Stags on that afternoon. They also out cornered the Stags 9-4.

Monahan going for the score after a Stone pass for the win!!

Hall of Famer Megan Monahan had a hat trick scoring all 3 goals for the Leopards. Here is an account of the game:

Senior Megan Monahan’s three goals carried Lafayette past Fairfield 3-2 for its 17th consecutive victory on Saturday, closing the Patriot League regular season a perfect 6-0 .

Monahan recorded her second straight hat trick, and with her third goal of the game and 72nd point of the season, the señior forward broke the Lafayette mark for points in a season.

Down 0-1 Monahan struck for the Leopards off a pass from fellow senior Beth Gulotta  to knot the score. Minutes later Monahan scored again, this time off a feed from Stephanie Goldman to give Lafayette the advantage at the half.

Fairfied tied the score in the second half

With less than five minutes remaining in the tie game Monahan …avenged last season’s loss  to Fairfield in the Patriot League Championship Game with one swing. She converted a pass from Jennifer Stone and Meredith Hahn for the game winner. 

Stone’s assist gives the junior 28 career helpers, tying her with Monahan for the all-time career  Patriot League record. Hahn’s 16th assist marks a new school record for assists in a season.

I am looking forward to this one as the Leopards will need to  show their character on their march through the regular season.

For those of you alumni who would like to memorialize your time on Lafayette’s  Field Hockey Team you can have your name placed on a plague on your old locker for a 250 dollar pledge per year for four years!


Two Game Win Streak Halted In 0-2 Loss To Ranked JMU




The Dukes of JMU went to 4-0 and dropped Lafayette to 2-1 using their speed and up tempo game to stymie the Leopards for at least the first half. But the experience will be applied to future opponents of Lafayette. There was a lot that you could glean from this loss and I believe profoundly this team will be better as a result.

The first thing I came away with is that sophomore Sara Park is becoming a big time goal keeper for the Leopards. She handled 10 of the 12 shots that came her way, keeping her save percentage at 86.4 percent. The first period saw her turn away shot after shot until JMU’s Miranda Rigg found an opening with about a minute left in the first half breaking a 0-0 tie.



The Leopards had not seen this tempo in a game in their previous two, but as the second period started they began to compete. Yes, total shots were 8-26 in JMU’s favor for the whole game, but in the second half it was 8-10. The Leopards actually out cornered JMU 4-3….4-2 in the second half. The second JMU goal came with 9;30 left  but the Leopards never quit and that included their coach Jen Stone. With 3:30 left on the clock head coach Stone pulled her goalie and inserted Cody Hunsicker as the kick back. We were all hoping for one of Rosie Shank’s miracle finishes. She came close but could not connect in the end.

The Leopard offense came alive, getting two corners and challenging right to the end,  finally pushing the ball consistently into the attacking third. Yes, it was a loss, but I truly believe this is a good team about to  take the next step to very good team.

Cody Hunsicker had another fine outing and is a force on defense. It’s been only the third game but Ana Steps, Grace Angelella, and especially Audrey Sawers with her reach, strength and speed are making themselves a force inside the 25.  Junior Liza Welch had some good play during the game at the forward position also. Freshman Sophie Carr is playing the forward position like she’s played it all her career. Senior Meg Lillis was strong on defense as well.

Take these facts into consideration. The Leopard offense held JMU to the least amount of goals all season. JMU is averaging 23 shots per game, not much different from this game’s totals. Personally, I can’t wait for the next game at Fairfield and my guess is the Leopards will lick their wounds and get back to work to be better than ever.

Go Pards!!