Friday’s Game With Richmond On ESPN

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Grace Angelella headed toward the goal last year against Richmond

Okay, now that I have your attention, it will be be on ESPN, but ESPN PLUS which is their new streaming service. It will be pay per view but I did see an offer in my mailbox for free sample time. So check that or otherwise its $4.95 for the month. ( maybe cheaper than gas). Anyway on to the match.

The Spiders have gotten off to a rough start by losing two games 1-4 against American and 0-3 against Rutgers. The stats do not look any prettier as they scored their one goal on a total of 12 shots against being scored upon seven times in 44 shots. Penalty Corners are not any better as they had a total of 5 penalty corners vs. 20 for their 2 opponents.

This is Jamie Montgomery’s first season after coming from Wake Forest ( her alma mater) as an assistant. Her previous asst coaching experience was at Bucknell and Temple. She has been a national level player and was a second team all American at Wake.

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Senior Kristen Taylor plays her usual tough defense against Fairfield

Montgomery lost her three top scorers from last year ( a team that beat Lafayette 5-3), so rebuilding has been the task assigned, as she took over in early spring. She does have a  second team all league veteran returning at goal but she did not play in the games last weekend. Instead junior red-shirt Emily Braunwell was in the pipes and performed well with a 75 %. save percentage.

Lafayette will be coming off a disappointing start with a loss to Fairfield last Friday night. However, it’s been a week to prepare and two opportunities to see game tapes, so the Leopards should be ready. Last year’s 3-5 loss came with 19-15 shot advantage and a 10-6 penalty corner advantage. Lafayette will need to capitalize on opportunities to prevail. Both teams need this win and I expect some intensity on the field. The Leopards will travel on Thursday to be ready for the Friday @ 3pm festivities.

Patriot League Has Mixed Results Over The Weekend

There were some mild surprises over the weekend. If you had told me, preseason, that BU would be undefeated at this point I would not have batted an eye. However, having Colgate stand undefeated also would have been slightly unexpected, but we must consider the competition. Colgate played Central Michigan who was 0-18 last year and followed with LIU Brooklyn who didn’t have a field hockey program three years ago. American had two competitive games one with Richmond, which they finished in style but succumbed to a tough St. Joseph team two days later. Lehigh lost two over the weekend and so did Bucknell who will have work to do before commencing a difficult schedule going forward. Holy Cross was thumped badly by a very good Maine squad despite the return of the Crusaders ace goalkeeper. Lafayette of course dissapointly dropped their first game to Fairfield, but Fairfield put an exclamation point on their early season success by defeating Villanova on Sunday.

American

I was able to watch a good portion of both games, and I must say both were entertaining. Friday’s game was a demonstration of the Steve Jennings press and attack style and was impressive to watch, as Richmond was stymied for most of the game. American got off a dominating 19 shots to Richmond’s 9 and earned 10 corners to Richmond’s 4 in the process. Three of the goals came in the second half and American’s new first year players played a significant role.

Sunday was a different outcome as Saint Joe’s fifth year coach Lynn Farquar solved the press and outlasted the Eagles 2-1. Coach Farquar has done one of the nicest jobs coaching, these past five years, by taking a non-descript St. Joe’s program and making it a nationally  ranked power this year. The game was fairly even with the deciding goal occurring in the second half. Shots were even at 9 while American out cornered the Hawks 7-5. It was in the midfield that the game was won as St.Joe’s directly attacked the press by out dribbling the Eagles one on one and then launching hard, long, penetrating passes, keeping American on their heels. For a moment, this looked like the Beth Anders teams at Old Dominion, Farquar’s alma mater.

Colgate

Colgate won two but the competition was certainly not of the caliber that other Patriot League teams faced. But a win is a win and this Colgate team needs to learn how to do it. Congratulations, especially for Sunday’s win which was a come from behind effort.

Boston

Boston traveled to New Hampshire for a tournament and took home the iron, beating two respectable opponents Northeastern 4-1 and host New Hampshire 4-0. Scoring a league leading 8 goals will put the other Patriot League teams on notice. They have perhaps the toughest schedule in the League and their offense will serve them well. I did not see any of their games

Holy Cross

The Crusaders traveled to Maine and the Bears mauled them 9-1, taking 36 shots to do it while Holy Cross managed only 4. The difference in corners was equally gruesome as Maine got 18 to the Cross’ 3. Is Maine that good….maybe? Holy Cross has a fine goalie as she was able to stop 19 but when you’re inundated with 28 SOG how can she be faulted?? I wouldn’t want to be a Crusader at this week’s practice with Northeastern next up!!

Bucknell

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This was a real surprise to me as Bucknell traveled to Longwood and lost 2-1. But as I checked the box score I had to check twice. The game was played in front of 2,073 fans. That is NOT a miss type. That had to be a factor in the game as stats were very close. In short, it was shots in Bucknell’s favor 14-11 and Longwood got the nod in corners 7-6. Longwood scored the winning goal in the second half and the record setting crowd, I am sure, had something to say about the defensive effort toward the end of the game. Impressive!!

JMU was less unexpected but I thought the Bison would give them more trouble. It was 3-0 in a “not” close game………..I’m still shaking my head… 2073 fans in FARMVILLE, VA…. Maybe the Bison were too!!

Lehigh

The Mountain Hawks only scored one goal in two games and dropping both of them. In the first game against Lock Haven the 1-0 loss hid the domination of Lock Haven who put up 23 shots to Lehigh’s 6 and out cornering Lehigh 10-1.

The second game stats were better with Lehigh taking 19 shots to Sacred Hearts 11 and leading on penalty corners 15-8.  All good, except for the score which ended 2-1 in Sacred Heart’s favor. Lehigh scored their only goal with 4 minutes remaining.

Lafayette

I have already written about Lafayette’s 3-1 loss to Fairfield. The stag’s bus did not return to campus until after midnight but they rallied on Sunday to beat Villanova . The Leopard’s will take on Richmond on Friday in Richmond’s home opener. Richmond lost to Rutgers handily on Sunday. All three… Lafayette, Richmond and William and Mary, who will play this weekend will be looking for that first win of the season. First game Friday at 3 pm.

 

 

Lafayette Stumbles In Opening Day Loss To Fairfield 3-1

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Senior Adrianna Pero advances the ball into the offensive end in the first half

Before a crowd of 612, one of the largest ever to watch a field hockey game at Rappolt Field, the Leopards suffered a rare opening day loss to the Stags of Fairfield University. The last opening day loss was September of 2013 against then nationally ranked Iowa University 3-0. Lafayette had beaten the Stags last year 4-0 but 26 year head coach Jackie Kane brought what everyone agreed was a reconstituted squad to meet the Leopards. The Stags had lost 2/3 of their scoring to graduation but Fairfield managed to score using three different players to find the back of the cage.

Leopard Caroline Turnbull was the first to score with a perfect unassisted strike at 18:39 into game which followed a offensive series that saw Grace Angelella barely miss the cage on a shot of her own seconds before. But Fairfield quickly followed with a goal of their own 45 seconds later from senior Kaley McMullen off a rebound assisted by fellow classmate Corrina Perichetti. But it was graduate student Iona Armour who was to put the Stags ahead for keeps at 32:22 with goal that left the score at the half 2-1.

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Grace Angelella enters the circle in the first half

In the first half the Leopards had 3 shots to the Stags 6 but possessed the only corner of the game. Although both teams played cautiously in the  beginning it was the Leopards who maintained a ball control offense with the offense finding themselves in a virtual 7 v11 situation near the goal as Fairfield was able to organize faster than Lafayette.

The second half saw the Leopards penetrate the circle more using long penetrating passes from All Patriot League center back Lisa Van der Geest but were unable to get around  Fairfield in their circle defense. In the second half, Lafayette. was to get off 10 shots to Farifield’s 6 ( mostly during a period in which the goalie was pulled by Lafayette with 8 minutes to go). In addition the Leopards out cornered the Stags 5 to 4 in the half. During this part of the period the Leopard were fighting a 3-1 deficit after a sophomore Danielle Profita goal off a rebound at 59:34. ( Her former teammates from Warren Hills High School were in attendance).

The Leopards were missing two players who played significant roles in last years game in Connecticut, Sophie Carr is still recovering and rehabbing from knee surgery and Co-Captain Theresa Delahanty was sidelined with a fractured thumb but is expected to return in the coming weeks.

I believe in our athletes. These are good field hockey players and it is in their capacity to turn this around. On to Richmond, Friday @ 3pm….Go Pards

It was a mixed bag for the Patriot League as Holy Cross was throttled by the Bears of Maine 9-1. Lehigh lost to Lock Haven 1-0, Colgate won over CMU 1-0, American beat Richmond and Boston beat Northeastern. Bucknell lost to Longwood 2-1.

Protecting Our Young Athletes

On August 11 I received an email as a terp supporter, from Damon Evans, the newly appointed Athletic Director at the University of Maryland regarding the death of a freshman football player Jordan Mc Nair. He began by writing, ” I am extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff detailed in recent media reports.  We are committed to fully investigating the program.” He had immediately suspended the Head Football Coach to allow for a complete investigation of the program.

My daughter was a field hockey player for the University of Maryland and I can say her experience was life affirming, and life saving in many respects. I would recommend to anyone good enough to play for this extremely  successful program to go for it. We found the coaching staff, training, medical and other support activities to be outstanding and believe them to be so today. Not coincidentally, the Field Hockey program is extremely successful with numerous league and National Championships to their credit. ( My daughter receiving rings several times).

The football program however, has struggled, and perhaps therein is part of the problem. In a second communication on August 14 AD Evans writes, “When I was named Athletic Director in July, my highest priority was to investigate the events surrounding the death of our student athlete, Jordan Mc Nair. Although that review is ongoing, preliminary findings from the independent review being conducted by national experts in sports medicine indicate that mistakes were made,”  He goes on describing the immediate actions taken.

Implemented additional safeguards for all athletic practices and training , not just football.

Added cooling stations and increased student-athlete breaks during practice taking place in the heat.

Placed selected members of the athletic training staff on leave.

The head of the strength and conditioning staff for football resigned.

Additionally, he emphasized they will not tolerate any behavior from any employee within Maryland’s athletic program that is detrimental to the MENTAL or PHYSICAL well being for the the student athletes.

My readers might also be aware of the monstrous case of Dr.Larry Nassar the Michigan State orthopedic physician who was also the physician for the US Gymnastic team. He assaulted under the guise of treatment perhaps hundreds of  young athletes over numerous years.

The subsequent investigation resulted in changes by the USAG that made it a requirement that all sexual misconduct be reported to authorities and to the US Center of SafeSport. The USOC is implementing programs in all the sports in cooperation with Safesport. The US Center for SafeSport is an independent non-profit organization committed to ending all forms of abuse in sport. This includes bullying, harassment, hazing, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual misconduct and abuse. The center is the first and only national organization of its kind. It provides a safe, professional and confidential place for individuals to report abuse. The mission is to make the athlete’s well-being the centerpiece of our nation’s sport culture. Their mission is surrounded by the belief that all athletes deserve to participate in sports free from bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct or ANY form of emotional or physical abuse.  They have a distinguished Board of Directors.

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I contacted Sherytta Freeman, the Lafayette AD, and Annette Diorio, the VP for student life about the issue. VP Diorio wrote me. in an August 12 email, ” We continuously work to improve training, support, and education for signs of abuse and reporting mechanisms for our staff and for our students. This takes many forms, from presentations, written guidelines in manuals, signs in the training and sports medicine areas, and conversations between supervisors and subordinates on the staff side. Our peak performance and sports medicine staff have distinct training on all the issues you mention. More importantly, we have a structure that is not exclusively contained in a single department. As an example, our sports medicine staff report to the College Physician on medical and health issues and not the Athletic Director.Each team has a faculty mentor who the students are advised is an advocate and resource, and we strive to have sport administrators travel with teams and gain valuable insights on team dynamics during those trips. Students see and hear from staff both in and outside athletics and it is my hope that even in the event that a student were afraid to alert a sport administrator to an issue, they have given enough other resources that they can find a connection.”

Diorio goes on to say they will continue to add to the coaches tool kit in terms of motivational strategies and have communicated, that Lafayette ACCEPTS NO BEHAVIOR THAT MIGHT SERVE TO INTIMIDATE STUDENTS. She adds that the students complete evaluations at the end of the season to explore the kind of culture the coach is creating. She states that there is more to do. Diorio added there is an anonymous tip hotline for reporting ethical, compliance or other concerns about employees at https:/hr.lafayette.edu/anonymous-tip-hotline/

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In AD Sherryta Freeman’s réponse  she adds,” We do a great job with training and continuing education and are always working to improve what we do. We recently formed the Student-Athlete Wellnes and Performance Team (comprised of various staff members) to keep this issue and our response front and center. In light of information shared recently, they will also be tasked with reviewing our approach to care and safety protocols with sport medicine/physicians to ensure that we are doing are very best to hold to our obligation to students-athlete safety. It’s not just about winning . All parties (coaches included ) will always consider all aspects in their day-to-day roles, especially the well-being of our student athletes.”

An additional resource is available through the Lafayette Sports Medicine Department. As of this year student athletes can schedule “Mind of The Athlete” appointments securely through their patient portal.  All they. need do is to do is visit http://www.Lafayette.medicalconnect.com and click on the appointment tab to get started. The athlete can select a time that works best for them and the “Mind of the Athlete” sports psychologist will meet them on campus. ALL SCHEDULING IS CONFIDENTIAL

*****Since writing and publishing this article I have talked with Jarrod Spencer of “Mind of. the Athlete” and he has informed me that the contract with Lafayette has lapsed.  In the meantime in discussing the  issue with Jarrod, he is passionate about mental health in collegiate athletics and I will follow with a second article next week.Mind of the Athlete underwent a reorganization but the college will continue the psychological service with Dr. Julie Amato a former psychologist with “Mind” on a seamless basis. In addition, Matt Bayly Director of Sports Medicine is the process of meeting with each team to explain the resources available for each athlete to meet their physical and mental needs.

The existence of an anonymous tip line should be a deterrent for many instances of abuse, if the victim of that abuse believes it to be truly anonymous. Although it may result in baseless claims from time to time, which could make administrators and coaches anxious, everyone should focus on the recent investigation of the Lehigh Field Hockey program for instances of fat shaming, and other abuses of a psychological nature. Lehigh employed the Pictor Group to independently examine the allegations. They did 32 interviews, and included 6 athletes who left, or were cut from the team. It included questionaires which were filled out by 21 of the 24 athletes who received it. The review found no culture of mental or physical abuse within the program.

If there is a common thread with these cases it is that programs striving to improve from subpar performance could be convinced a more brutal, disciplined regime is needed to move the program upward. My experience has been that successful programs that have coaches that lead with POSITIVE reinforcement do far better in the end.

To my mind there are several conclusions I would consider:

  1. State governments should consider expanding the information and certification program required of teachers and youth coaches to colleges coaches, professors and administrators. At the moment only medical staff are required to have background checks and pass an information test regarding abuse of youth.
  2. Information should be available in a handy written form and delivered at first day check ins.
  3. Reports of any abuse should go to authorities in the school outside of the athletic department
  4. All reports should be investigated and serious violations reported to entities outside of the school for investigations.
  5. Investigations should be prompt but thorough.
  6. Felonious behavior should be promptly reported to law enforcement
  7. The victim should be apprised of the investigation but confidentiality must be assured.
  8. Mental as well as physical abuse should be of concern, and should be a factor if not the main factor in retaining and dismissing staff
  9. Athletes should be encouraged in their annual confidential evaluation to report incidents of mental or physical abuse
  10. Teachers, advisors and other staff, should they be aware of violations of the abuse policy, are required to report promptly…..parents should not be shy of reporting abuse.
  11. Underperforming programs are especially vulnerable and should be monitored closely
  12. Sports Medicine should directly report to the senior medical officer of the institution. ( This is a reporting structure now taken by several schools and recommended by the NCAA)

The prompt and sweeping responses by the Athletic Director Damon Evans at Maryland and Joe Sterrett at Lehigh should be a templet for other schools should a problem arise. The structures at Penn State and Michigan State were failures.

I suspect this is not the end of the story. Solutions will require openness from administrators and coaches. Assurances of anonymity for reporting victims must not only be required, but assured. Reporting must be done away from the athletic infrastructure and lastly, student athletes must insist on control of their own environment and encourage their teammates to do the same .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patriot League Continued…Lehigh

Lehigh is the only other Patriot League field hockey playing school that starts with an “L.” Even that alone may rankle the hair on either side. It is 15 miles from Lafayette and there could not be a more intense sports rivalry anywhere in the country. Every contest in every sport against Lehigh, is a mission whether it involves a round ball or a football and is a highlight on the schedule. For these two  schools, the field hockey game on September 14 at Rappolt Field at 7pm has been highlighted for any number of reasons. It is the FIRST meeting in any sport between the two rivals this school year. It is the FIRST Patriot League game for both teams and a win is needed to make the playoffs. It is the FIRST time the two teams will meet with Lehigh having won last year ( after 12 consecutive losses to the Leopards). The win last year was earmarked by Lehigh for doing it for the 50 Lehigh alums who had never experienced a win over the hated rival in their athletic career. It also enabled Lehigh to claim they finished ahead of the Leopards in the Patriot League standings.

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Sam Di Maio zeroes in on a Mountain Hawk this spring

You think it didn’t matter???? During the pregame president’s reception at the Lafayette Lehigh football game the win  was noted by the Lehigh president. Both games are at home this year and we ( those of us in maroon and white) will be pulling for wins in  both contests. The field hockey game  was noted as the signature win for Lehigh and will be a marker for both teams. Losing will not be taken well by either side and unlike soccer a tie is not posible. That loss has stuck in my gut all year….not this year.

This is the third year for Head Coach Caitlin Dallmeyer. She come to Lehigh via five seasons as head coach at Dickinson College. In her first season the Mountain Hawks, won six games the most since 2011 though they dropped to 5-13 last year ( but there was that win against Lafayette). Last year’s defense was paramount as they allowed 46 goals, the fewest  since 2004. Oh, did I mention we lost 1-0 in overtime??. In that game Lafayette  took 20 shots, Lehigh took 7, Lafayette had 8 corners, Lehigh had 4. Did I mention we lost!!!!

Lehigh welcomes 6 new first players, one is a defender from the Netherlands, there are 8 sophomores, 2 juniors, including their their goal keeper Paige Innarella, and three seniors. Missing this year will be Teresa Carotenuto who scored almost 50% of Lehigh’s 15 goals last year. Coming back for her sophomore season is Drew Pecora who scored 5 last year. No doubt goal production is front and center in Coach Dallmeyer’s mind.  This is still a young team, but with a veteran goal keeper between the pipes.

Lehigh’s out of conference schedule is not littered with a lot of top twenty teams. Their toughest non league games look like Villanova, maybe Ohio State, Cornell, and Yale. No doubt the Patriot League schedule is their most difficult part of the season.

That first league  game will be key to measure where each team is and I am glad it will be at Lafayette in front of a friendly crowd. But remember Lehigh is about a 20 minute car journey from Lafayette, so I expect a good turnout. We need support from the stands folks…be there!!

Leopards And The Drexel Dragons In Final Tune Up

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Grace Angelella tangles with the Drexel goalkeeper

Lafayette and Drexel didn’t let a little a summer shower delay their last preseason opportunity to polish up their game. It was offense all around as the game ended in a 3-3 tie after 70 minutes of regulation play and  a 10 minute overtime 7 v 7 encore. The Leopards opened up the scoring with a scrum in front of the cage halfway through the period. It was co-captain Theresa Delahanty who was able to muscle her stick on the ball and into the cage for. the 1-0 lead. Several minutes later it was Delahanty again who was to tip in the ball that would give the Leopards what would look like an insurmountable 2-0 advantage with about 5 minutes left.

 

 

 

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It was then that Drexel was to take advance of a miscue on an outlet pass as Drexel intercepted a pass and quickly raced to the goal to give the Dragons their first goal. Two minutes later they tied it up in a 2-2 knot.

Sam DiMaio was later to give Lafayette the lead again on a nifty shot to the back of the cage. The Denise Zelenak squad  was again to take advantage of a miscues and with a quick rush to goal  evened the score at 3 and froze the scoring until the end of the game. The Leopards were to have several opportunities before the clock ran down including one shot which hit the pipe. Overtime was a stalemate but again Lafayette dominated play including having the advantage in  the number of corners but could not convert.

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Senior Adrianna Pero gets the ball into the offensive area

The pace of the game and the speed of the ball was Division one all the way, and the team has clearly made progress. They will indeed be practicing those outlet passes and the need to keep the intensity to the final buzzer. ( Hey, the coaching staff needed something to do this week). The opening game will be with Fairfield on Friday at 6:30 at home.

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Kristen Talyor ignores the rain as she dribbles the ball upfield

My choices for Difference Makers of the day were Theresa Delahanty who scored two goals but only played one half. Also Sam DiMaio who not only scored a goal but made her presence felt the entire game.

The leopards dominated the practice shoot out.

 

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Starter Audrey Sawers was not present, as she was invited to tryout for the Canadian National under 23 team. Good Luck Audrey and we will be glad to see you back in the Maroon and White next week.

 

 

 

 

 

Patriot League 2018…..Holy Cross

The Crusaders have become Lafayette’s nemesis for the past three years. In each of those years, the two have met in games that were significant in terms of who gets to go the league playoffs. Only the top four teams get to go, and head to head competition is considered in the tie braking procedures. Last year, a win was needed by Lafayette but Holy Cross arrived using their fast breaking style and got off to a 3-0 lead, never to give it up. The Crusaders prevailed in the two years before as well. Head Coach Lindsay Jackson has never lost to a Lafayette team.

This is Coach Lindsay Jackson’s fourth season as Holy Cross’ head coach. She is the fifth head coach for the program and came from division two Limestone College where she was the head coach for six seasons. Limestone had a winless program when she arrived and improved every year she was there and was named the Division two coach of the year. She began her career as a high school coach. She attended Mercyhurst College where she played field hockey and lacrosse

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Lisa van der Geest defends against Holy Cross

Coach Jackson seems to find solutions where there seems to be none. Several years ago she needed a goal keeper and discovered one, Marcia LaPlante on the ice hockey team. She has had an outstanding career on the turf. LaPante has a 74 pct save percentage and is considered one of the best in league. Marcia returns this year for her junior season backed up by two goal keepers. Holy Cross’ challenge will be to replace their outstanding scorer Maurren Conolly. Conolly scored 19 of Holy Cross’ 40 goals last season. She scored the goals by hitting on 24 pct of her shots. If you think the goals were concentrated on corner opportunities, you would be wrong, as the Crusaders had only 67 corners all year.

Emily Loprete is a returning senior, who will be counted on to step up. She was the second leading scorer with a not too shabby nine goals in her junior season. Holy Cross makes their shots count as they took 192 shots while giving up 353 shots and 56 goals. LaPlante made 167 saves last year. Senior Suzanne Noone was the third leading scorer with 4 goals to her credit.

The Crusaders will take the field with 5 freshman, 7 sophs, 7 juniors and 4 seniors. This is still a very young squad coming off a 7-11 record with a 3-3 record in the league. However, it is a well motivated squad, that can make a lot of noise in the league standings. Their schedule will be a challenge, with out of conference games that include Maine, Northeastern, Harvard and Albany. But they are always ready for the Patriot League season. The first Patriot League game will be at home with American, followed later by Colgate, Lehigh, and then Lafayette, a stretch that will most likely decide a Patriot League berth. There is a week between the Oct 7th game with LaSalle and a Worcester meet with the Leopards on Oct 13th at 11:05. Lot’s of time to break down  film by each head coach.

That Worcester game is one I have circled.