The heat and humidity became two more obstacles for the participants at the Young Women’s National Championships (YWNC) at Spook Nook. The hot summer Lancaster sun was unforgiving at 95 degrees, even as the evening progressed. Both Welch and Delahanty played their third game in as many days with the best young players in the country, all competing for a coveted spot on the national squads. However, teamwork was still evident and winning was on the mind of all these young athletes as they performed in front of multiple evaluators.
Liza was first up with a noon game, and despite a strong effort, her team suffered a 3-0 loss. Theresa began her game at 4:45 and both teams showed the wear and fatigue of three full games in three days. Both of our Leopards played multiple minutes and were involved in key elements of the game.
“T” helped her team hang in to the very end, but suffered a 1-0 loss off a goal by the opposing team in the forth quarter which dribbled past the defenders and ultimately the goalie. Defense was key and the battle was intense as there were several close chances in scrums in front of the goal. In the end, it was a well fought game under adverse conditions.
Today will mark the fourth and final games at 12 noon under no less forgiving circumstances. It will be the last chance to win, and one last chance to impress the multiple evaluators on the sidelines. Best of luck to our stalwart Leopards!!
I traveled once again to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, to the National Training Center for USA field hockey to see our Leopards essentially try out for the US Team. The U-19 teams had finished their 4 day tournament and I was able to see two of our first year players at the 3 o’clock game. At 5:30 it was the turn of the high performance selectees to show their skills in a series of games under international rules. The games were played in four 15 minute quarters with the clock stopped for corners.
The players were selected from around the country, from predominately Division one college teams, and sprinkled with recent graduates from the same schools. Leopard seniors Liza Welch and Theresa Delahanty showed their fans in the stands they belonged. Former players Cody Hunsicker, Meg Lillis, Rosie Shanks and asst coach Sara Dalrymple were there for support, along with a group of parents.
It was Liza Welch who was to show her talents early in the first game as she rifled a goal to give her team the early lead. Liza continued her goal scoring streak which started in South Africa several weeks earlier. On a two on one break Liza moved to her left side and on the run reversed her stick placing the ball between the goalkeepers legs. There are only about 16 players per team and both Liza and Theresa were starters on their respective squads. Theresa’s game started at 7:15 under the “Dome” and was a highly entertaining and closely contested contest worthy of the players that were there.
The passing was crisp and the teamwork amazed, given that each team had only 1 hour of practice before stepping onto the artificial pitch. The tempo and skills could well have been seen at a top five Division One game.
In Theresa’s game which ended in a 0-0 tie there was no less action. The players were fit and ready and there was plenty of offensive action and defense was on display along with some outstanding goalkeeping. Theresa was to find herself in the action often during the game at her midfield position, and showed a preview of what to expect this fall. constantly moving from defense to offense favoring her style of play, using speed and aggressiveness which fit well with this team of all stars.
All in all it was a great evening to get warmed for the coming season which will begin in the first week of August.
It was not only at Spooky Nook that saw our Leopards on a national stage. Audrey Sawers, a Leopard sophomore midfielder from Canada was selected to try out for the equivalent Canadian tournament. She was selected after an equally intense process and at this writing is preparing to demonstrate her talents on a national Canadian stage in the coming weeks. in Ontario.
It’s been an exciting beginning to the summer which we all hope will lead to an even more productive fall. GO PARDS
Having already been culled from a high performing group, three Lafayette incoming freshman are training and playing at the home of USA field hockey at Spooky Nook. Alix Talkow, Hailey Abbott and Molly McAndrew took to the turf for their first exposure to Division one field hockey. Virtually every player in the Under 19 division are already playing, or have signed an NLI to play this fall at the college of their choice. The competition was intense, as this is part of the selection process for the various USA teams.
Lafayette field hockey fans will have reason to be pleased. I saw good speed from the two field players ( Talkow and McAndrews) and good athletic ability in goalkeeper Hailey Abbott. McAndrews showed a big hit that will no doubt be useful to head coach Jen Stone. Talkow showed a strong sense of the game, using her speed to break open on several fast breaks.
All three players were playing on teams made of primarily New Jersey athletes while the competion is as close as Pennsylvania and as far away as California. The stands were filled with parents and college coaches, who have been here all week looking over the talent, hoping to spy that next all conference and all American player.
The weather has been ideal, providing a wonderful stage for these athletes to be evaluated. For this fan, who is waiting for the real games to start, it was a shot in the arm and a peek into the future.
Tomorrow, the crossover games for the U-19 players will wrap up the week’s future’s tournament, just as the Young Women’s National Championships will begin. Three Lafayette athletes were selected to play in that tournament.
Meanwhile, having just returned from South Africa the rest of the team will be sharpening their fitness and skills for a return for campus preseason practices in early August.
Three Leopard first year players will report to Spooky Nook in Lancaster,Pa today to begin practices for the National Futures Tournament (NFC). Practices begin today and games will be played Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the 24th,25th and 26th. The tournament is the premier championship event for USA Field Hockey’s Futures Program and Olympic Development Pipeline. The NFC brings together the top female field hockey players selected from 4,700 athletes across nine regions for a high level multi-day tournament style competition.
The USA Field Hockey High Performance staff will select top talent to represent the United States in other elite programs. The three selected who will wear the Maroon and White this fall are GK Hailey Abbott, Midfielder/ Attacker Molly McAndrew, and forward Alix Talkow. Abbot and Talkow will play on the same team (London), while McAndrew will play on the Athens team.
As of today London will play at 10 and 12 pm Sunday the 24th, 8:30 and 11:30 Monday the 25th and Tues at 10 am the 26th before playing a final game to decide standings that afternoon.
Athens will play 9am and 12 pm on Sunday the 24th, 7:30 and 12:30 on Monday the 25th and Tues at 8 am before the afternoon championship games.
All three of course, will be in the under 19 division where they will be with others who have already committed to attend various colleges and universities. According to Lisa McCoy, USA Field Hockey’s Director of Futures and International Events,” We are excited to welcome this year’s selected athletes to the NFC. It is a great opportunity for athletes to perform their best with great competition while cultivating new friendships.”
Admission is free and the championship games will be live streamed on Tuesday the 26th. These three recruits join our three Young Women’s National Tournament selectees ( Theresa Delahanty, Lisa Welch and Sarah Park) who will begin practice next week and play in their own championship the following weekend.
Preseason for the Leopards begins in early August and these events along with the Leopards recent South Africa tour will ensure everyone arrives in shape and ready to learn and play. The first scrimmage against collegiate competition will be at Monmouth at 1pm on the 14th of August, less than 60 days from today.
The list of names for the 2018 Young Women’s National Championship (YWNC) was announced tonight and three Leopards were among the elite athletes named. Theresa Delahanty, Sarah Park and Liza Welch will be at Spooky Nook on June 25-29. The YWNC serves as a high-level international structured competition which is a selection avenue to Junior National Camp and an opportunity for selection to the 2018-19 U-21 Women’s National Team and the U.S. Women’s National development team. Spooky Nook is the national training center for the US National Team.
As far as I can tell no other current Patriot League teams named more than three players. Bucknell had three named Sarah Dimock, Olivia Harris, and Kaelyn Long. Ally Hammel from Boston University also was named. Taylor Blood who graduated from BU this spring is also on the list. All the invitees were notified via official notification today!!
Delahanty is the senior co-captain and an engineering major from Washington Crossing. Welch is a senior forward from Sutton, Massachusetts and a chemistry major and Park is a junior goalkeeper from Collegeville, Pa. majoring in chemical engineering. All three just returned from a team trip to South Africa where the Leopards were undefeated. Both Welch and Delahanty scored two goals in three games. One game was played to a 0-0 tie.
Amanda Magadan who graduated in 2016 is a member of the US National Team and is preparing for the World Cup in London in July.
Congratulations to our Leopards and Best of Luck in the games.
After this sojourn, they are all international athletes, world travelers, and Lafayette ambassadors. They have embraced a different culture, touched children, experienced elephants, rhinos, zebras and springboks in their native habitats. They have seen historical sites and sampled a new geography. It was a trip to remember while sharpening their hockey skills and bonded closer as a team.
Their last visit was a view of Capetown as they saw it on the first days, high from a mountaintop. It will be an enduring memory which can recalled at reunions of the future.
Their next gathering as team will be in less than 60 days. Only they will have added to their numbers with a new incoming class. On August the 14th they will be visiting Monmouth for their first preseason game and we can all witness for ourselves the results of the trip.
These trips are designed so that every field hockey player at Lafayette gets to have a similar experience. This coming season, the team will be playing for the Patriot League championship and to participate in the national tournament. The new players will be tested as never before, as the skill, speed and strength of their opponents and teammates will be more than they have ever experienced in their athletic careers to date. The league is improving every year, and as our veteran players know, every game must be contested as a key game!
Lafayette will put one of its most experienced teams on the turf this season and I am looking forward to an improved team chemistry. They are well led by three great captains who will motivate our Leopards to play their best. The sixty days will go by fast and in the meantime I will review the rest of the league and perhaps divert from time to time on other subjects including the US World Cup team.
So I will alert most you as I write in the near future. I can’t wait for the new season. I am sure our Field Hockey Leopards are already thinking of it as well, as they fly home today. Welcome back ladies!!!
Our featured image shows one member of our team on the zip line. OMG not for the faint of heart.
Our Leopards played their final game of the trip against an Under 18 Western South African all star team. The final score was 3-2, and at this writing I have no other further details, but will post more if I find out. During their stay they achieved an 2-0-1 record and scored 5 goals while giving up 2. Not only did they play three games but received coaching from senior South African club coaches.
Addendum: I have heard that Theresa Delahanty had 2 and Liza Welch had 1. That was Liza’s second of the trip. Liza scored the initial goal in the second quarter but the score at the half was 1-1. Delahanty broke it open with a score in the third quarter on a corner. She added a second in the forth quarter on another corner giving the Leopards a commanding 3-1 margin. The Western Province scored a last goal, but our defenders stoutly defended to lead to the end of the game. Great job by the whole team!!
This morning the team went zip lining and to look at the pictures it was not an activity for little girls (or 72 year old men for that matter). After getting their heart rate up in that activity they headed for their evening match which on the surface looked to be an intense well contested match.
Tomorrow, it’ll be time to visit the animal parks to finally see some African fauna. It should be the cultural highlight of the trip. The next day it will be back on the plane for the journey back. The whole trip seems to be a tremendous success.
It was an exciting day of travel with a tough game in the evening that ended in a 0-0 tie as the Leopards frustrated the Capetown team, while controlling midfield play. However, in the end our team was also unable to find a opening to the back of the goal to break the tie.
The rest of the day was occupied with tours to Robben Island, the site of the prison that housed Nelson Mandela. The previous day was highlighted by hikes to the tops of a mountain and standing at the southern most point on the African continent. The day of touring ended with sampling of African food.
Tomorrow the Leopards will be playing the Western Province under 18 team to finish their playing schedule. After that it will be two visits to a wild game preserve. It would not be presumptuous of me to say this may be the highlight of their trip…..PICTURES PLEASE. Then it will be boarding a plane for the long ride home. Two of our team will travel home to Germany and Holland while many will be on campus this summer preparing for the season, doing research, and helping at the field hockey camps in early July. That will be our first look at Rappolt Field of many of our newest team members in the incoming class.
Today our charges volunteered for the Save Foundation. After a morning in a clinic with a South African coach, our favorite team did some volunteering. By the looks of the pictures, they established some new friends. On goleopards.com they described the experience as humbling.
What is the Save Foundation you ask?? The Save Foundation is a registered non-profit organization that works to enrich, educate, and empower various township and settlement communities , as well as protect and rehabilitate wildlife in areas of Africa. Through the assistance of enthusiastic volunteers, generous sponsors , and dedicated staff, SAVE has broadened it reach from South Africa to six different countries with thirty five humanitarian and wildlife projects over the past nine years.
They have efforts in sports, as well housing issues. From the pictures we got, it looks like all are getting into it!!