I had a football coach in High School who used to tell us if everyone did what they were supposed to every play would be.a touchdown. As a fluid game, field hockey demands decisions on the run while executing difficult skills with an opponent intent on stopping you. While every play did not result in a goal there was a lot for the Leopard coaching staff to be pleased with. For most of the players, the timing was there, as last year’s freshmen now know where this year’s senior teammates will be on the field. The spring experience along with the additional trip to South Africa has already established connections not seen last year.
There was even some spark by first year players who saw action as well. Coaches never want to get too excited until the games count, but I am a fan and let’s say I am seeing some really good things out there. ( Not that my opinion counts all that much).
There were some minor injuries as a couple of players were held out of their ususal minutes, but not a beat was lost. This year I will try to name “Difference Makers” in every game. Today my nod goes to Kristen Taylor who showed good aggressiveness when needed and offensive savy, setting up and scoring goals. Second Lisa Van der Geest showed leadership directing play on the field and standing out controlling the ball. Third Liza Welch who just gets the job done, and seems to be in right place at the right time. Fourth, Goalkeeper Sarah Park, who stood tall in the goal today and especially well in turning back shots in the 7 v 7 practice period. I saw many great plays and I probably could have named several more but there is space and time to consider!.
The Leopards opened scoring midway through the first half when Kristin Taylor delivered a perfect strike from the left side which was met by Grace Angelella for the tip in. Later in the period Audrey Sawers took the ball during a corner and found Ana Steps for the second goals. Monmouth, who had scored over 80 goals last years scored two goals, one of which in my opinion was hit from outside the circle and never touched a player. But this is preseason!!
In the second half the 2-2- tie was broken with nine minutes having run off the clock when Kristen Taylor got a goal of her own off a pass by Jenn DeLongis. That was soon followed by the go ahead goal with Lisa Van der Geest delivering a tip in to Sam Di Maio. The regulation game ended in a 4-3 advantage by the Leopards. In the overtime 7 v 7 period the Leopards scored with no time left on a corner that went from Angelella to Liza Welch.
There is a long way to go but this is not a bad way to start. Next up is a Drexel scrimmage at home Saturday August 18 at 6 pm.