Lafayette Scores Four Goals In Loss To Boston University

If a fortune teller had come to me and said we were going to score four goals against the vaunted Boston University defense, I would have bet heavily we would have added a win to our record. Not in my wildest dreams did I think Boston would end up scoring six straight goals after Lafayette’s opening goal, 12 minutes into the contest. In front of a crowd of 226 ( smallest of the year so far), our Leopards did everything they needed to do offensively. The offense consisted of long fast passes getting behind the Terrier defense setting up numerous opportunities in front of the goal. Lafayette scored first with Caroline Turnbull getting the first of two goals off a rebound during a corner opportunity.

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Delahanty gets off a shot to make it 6-4

For the next 14 minutes it looked as if it would be a low scoring game, with at worst an overtime opportunity for a Leopard win. It was Miya Denison from Boston who found an opening from the 10 yard line at 25:36 and locked the game in a 1-1 tie. As a fan, I took solace in the fact that the team was still engaged, with great support from the Lafayette bench as they stood on the sidelines cheering their teammates on. Little did we know that the goal was to usher in a series of five more straight  goals.

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Seven minutes late Kara Enoch from Boston was to find an open net to get the second goal however, no one was giving up, even as Boston was to get off 10 shots to Lafayette’s four in the half, while corner opportunities were even at two. However, it was a last minute penalty stroke awarded to Boston, that seemed to deflate the Leopards before the end of the half.

Lafayette was to use only two field players as substitutes all game, and was missing two of its starters in Ana Steps still recovering from a concussion suffered last week, and senior Kristin Taylor who fractured her thumb in practice during the week. Boston on the other hand used their entire bench.

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Pero defends the goal and delivers the ball out of danger

Perhaps it was fatigue, but Lafayette seemed a little deflated at the beginning of the second half as BU rolled off three straight goals at 37:09, 49:02 and 50:12. The bench looked downtrodden as they resumed their seats. But the Leopards on the field were not surrendering as Sam DiMaio made a move on the BU goalie and scored with 19 minutes left in the game. The game prospects brightened as Caroline Turnbull found the cage for the second time, seven minutes later, making it a 6-3 game. But it was the next goal on a corner by Lafayette with a beautiful give and go between Lisa van der Geest and Theresa Delahanty, that restored hope to the faithful.  Delahanty found the cage making it 6-4.

Was a miracle finish  about to happen? Lafayette had put in a new goalie Haily Abbott, but Lafayette was to get a yellow card and Boston’s Molly Rottinghaus was to put it away for the Terriers with the last goal of the day. Leopards were to try to put in the kick back goalie but the yellow card acted to deny the opportunity to finish the game in that formation, as the Leopards were forced to return the goalie rather than play short handed without a goalkeeper.

It was sort of a bizarre game with 11 goals, not a typical Lafayette defensive battle. It is now on to Villanova where  it will be a game between the two “cats.” Lafayette will need to recover their defensive poise while retaining the offensive spark they found this Saturday. Next Saturday, action will be at Colgate in a must win game if playoffs hopes are to be kept alive for both teams.

Boston University Comes To Town

Looking For The Achilles Heel In The Numbers

Boston University arrives tied for first place in the Patriot League with having beaten American University in overtime and last week getting by Colgate 2-0. The win against Colgate was not received well by the BU coaching staff as head coach Sally Starr did not appear for her usual post game interview for the cameras, leaving it for an assistant coach.

The numbers for Boston are not particularly impressive but Starr seems to get the most out of what she has in any given year. This year, the anchor for the team is their defense and Starr has used it to win 6 out of her 9 games in a very difficult schedule. She has found wins against Colgate, American, Northwestern, Miami, New Hampshire, and Northeastern. Loses include being blown out by Penn State, a 2 goal loss to Ohio State, and a tough defensive battle but loss to common opponent Maine 1-2,

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Leading scorer Lisa Van der Geest along with co-captain Rachel Bird execute a corner against Liberty

Their top scores are Ailisa Conolly with five goals and Petra Hall with 4. That would account for 9 of their 21 goals though Ally Hammel, their fine defender, has taken 16 shots   comparable to the leading scorers with shots of 16 and 18. Overall they have taken  112 shots with an 18.8 pct shot percentage.

The Leopards on the other hand have also taken about the same number of shots (117) with less effectiveness (11 pct). The Leopards two wins have come against archival Lehigh in an overtime game and Drexel also in overtime. Losses are with Fairfield, Richmond, William and Mary, Temple, Albany, Maine, and Liberty. The Leopards are capable of playing an up tempo game which does give them better results and will need that capability more with the defensive minded Terriers.

I’ve watched several games there is a pattern to their basic strategy. Their offense starts with their sturdy defense and in that structure may expose what Starr is compensating for. Though they have a 1.55 goals against average the save percentage is less than 60 pct. Boston will compensate by throwing in a  4 player backfield and defending their third of the field and often time stopping penetration of even the fifty. They will press from the outset and that sets up their offense.

It is a virtual certainty the Leopards will see that press but in recent weeks the Leopards with their three back defense led by co-captains Bird and Van der Geest have been able to get the Leopards to the shooting circle.

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Liza Welch charges into the Lafayette circle

The Terriers have earned 51 penalty corners while giving up 58. Lafayette has 58 corners while giving up 37. Can the Leopards get to the circle and produce enough shots and score while holding the Terriers to the middle of the field ? Starr was not happy with her team’s last two outings, but the Leopards seems to be. improving. This could be a very good game. It is on Lafayette’s home turf and with a pro Leopard crowd Lafayette could put themselves in a great position within the League. It is their only game of the week and there has been lots of time to prepare and look at tapes. Who knows..maybe another overtime win??? This will be their toughest in- league game. Will we see a Leopard press to surprise the visitors? Saturday….at noon we will see.

Lafayette Drops One To Liberty University 3-1

No one can criticize the Lafayette Field Hockey Team for ducking the. tough ones as Lafayette left the field having lost to it’s fourth nationally ranked opponent this year. It was all hands on deck as Lafayette kept pace with the Flames from Liberty all afternoon. One could see from the stands the progress made with the speed and intensity demonstrated in a high level Division one game.

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Adrianna Pero shakes a Liberty defender

The game started ominously as Liberty scored with only1;35 having run off the clock as Agueda Moroni, the second leading scorer in the nation nailed a shot during a corner after a Mallory Fotenback insertion and a Kendra Jones pass. Moroni found a spot low and to left giving Liberty the early 1-0 lead.

Maroni was to get off 11 shots, 7 on goal and connecting for all three Liberty scores. But that was not the only story. Lafayette kept pace for the rest of game although they were unable to stop Maroni. Park had a good afternoon making 12 stops while Rachel Bird and   Adriana Pero had two defensive saves.

During the second period after Liberty had established their 2-0 first period lead they were only to manage one more goal as Maroni found the right side of the cage. Lafayette was to answer on the last play of the game with a Van der Geest rocket during a corner assisted by Jenn DeLongis and Theresa Delahanty.

Freshman Molly McAndrews had 3 shots as did Van der Geest and Audrey Sawers as

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Molly McAndrews fights for the ball

Lafayette got off 13 shots during the game. They did outcorner the Flames 9-4.

Sara Park had an 80% save percentage and showed great poise in the cage in her best performance of the season.  The team also moved the ball well especially in the second half and demonstrated the speed and quickness they showed against Drexel and Lehigh. The brand of hockey is first rate and doesn’t reflect yet in their record.

Ana Steps Lafayette’s fine midfielder was sidelined this game recovering from a concussion suffered in Friday’s game. It is hoped she will be ready Saturday.

It was a good crowed of 612 as the Leopards have attracted over 600 fans on average this year. No doubt the Leopards will bring it all for an important match next Saturday at noon against the league favorite  Boston University. As we all left the field, we were remarking how everyone was looking forward to that match.

McAndrews to Van der Geest Gives Lafayette The Overtime Win

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It goes without saying that a 2-1 overtime win is a hard-fought contest but there were so many big plays before the final winning McAndrews to Van der Geest  score in Lafayette’s second overtime win of the season. The first score was to come from Drexel at 21:22 when Avery Powell received a cross from Megan Weist who was able to lift the ball slightly as it dribbled past Sarah Park the Lafayette Goalie. However Sarah was to make 3 saves on Drexel’s 5 shots on goal, none bigger than a leaping save at the end of the game to preserve the tie and forced the game into overtime.

The game was filled with big defensive plays, including an important save early in first half by Rachel Bird keeping the early score 0-0. Play was back and forth as both teams were not able to capitalize on opportunities. Audrey Sawer, who may have had her best game of the season was all over the field while accounting for 3 of Lafayette’s 12 shots with one shot finding its mark at 32:08, delivering off a rebound single handed to tie up the game at 1-1 before the end of the half.

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Van der Geest lines up a pass in the first period

Drexel tried to press Lafayette and made several key steals only to be thwarted by the tough defense from the Leopards, who were able to turn them into a counter attack. In the battle of statistics Lafayette came out on top with 12 shots to 9 and 5 to 4 in penalty corners. Drexel earned all their corners in the second half.

 

The final play occurred with about 1 and 1/2 minutes having run off the overtime period. Drexel had just driven down and missed on a centering pass in front of the Lafayette goal and Lafayette counter attacked. Lisa Van der Geest took the ball at midfield and delivered a pass to the streaking freshman Molly McAndrews. McAndrews drove to the left side of the Drexel goal to be met by a Drexel defender. As Van der Geest sprinted to the goal, Molly McAndrews soon faked out the Drexel defender with a 360 degree spin move and delivered a high pass to Van der Gesst who planted it into the goal.

This was a team effort with hard work by everyone. Difference makers include McAndrews, Van der Geest, Audrey Sawer, Bird and Delahanty.

There will be a days rest before meeting nationally ranked Liberty University at home on Sunday.

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Maryland vs Princeton

It was a Tuesday night, and my wife had off the following day and we decided to take the 75 minute drive to Princeton to watch the undefeated number 3 ranked Terrapins take on the Number 5 ranked Princeton Tigers in a 6 pm match. This game had several attractions for us. My daughter Sarah played for Maryland and she took the train down from New York to join us, we are still in contact with and friends with Missy Meharg, the very fine Maryland coach and Carla Tagliente, the Princeton head coach  was my daughter’s roommate at Maryland along with assistant coach Dina Rizzo.

It became sort of a reunion, as several parents from my daughter’s playing days showed up to view the game along with Mark Fratto who used to announce the Maryland field hockey games. He arrived with his new baby and was the surprise announcer that night. He has a business providing announcing for many sports events including championship boxing events. In addition, there were old friends from the BOT of US Field Hockey.

Just to make the evening even more friendly Fran Delahanty, Lafayette parent, took the drive over to watch the festivities. None. of us were disappointed as we saw an exciting game where Maryland won 5-4 in double overtime after being down 1-4. No one left the game early, no players or coaches were sitting down on the sidelines conceding, this was an intense, well played match by outstanding, well coached teams.

Maryland opened the scoring after only 1:26 had ticked off on the clock off a turnover by Madison Maguire who passed to Kyler Greenwalt who used a perfect reverse stick to rocket the ball past the Princeton Goalie. But Princeton was not going to lie down as they used their speed and skill to run off 4 goals in row, the first occurred as Clara Roth dribbled along the left side, sending the shot to the backboards at 6:44. Roth was to get her second goal 12 minutes later assisted by Davey Hannah. The third goal came ten minutes later came from Jane Donio-Enscoe assisted by Roth. The second period saw Princeton’s fourth and final goal nine minutes into the  half off a penalty stroke by Julianna Tornetta.

At that point Princeton had taken 5 shots and scored 4 goals and found themselves ahead 4-1. I was impressed with the speed of the Princeton forwards who raced to place themselves at the post at every opportunity, and were to get rebounds or receive long breaking passes from their midfield.

Despite the stroke and goal, Meharg’s halftime “advice” to her charges was beginning to take effect and following a 5 minute yellow card to Princeton’s Hannah Davey at 47:06 the Terrapins began to come back, first off a rebound by Kelee Lepage during a corner. We had to wait nine minutes for the goal that was to bring Maryland within one when Sabrina Rhodes deflected a Brooke DeBerdine shot at 56:54.

The players were exhausted, but I was impressed with Maryland’s patient persistence. With four minutes to go Meharg pulled her goalie and inserted a kickback. With less than 15 seconds left in the game Bibi Donraadt with the assist from Madison Maguire used  two deflections to score the tying goal to send the game to overtime.

Maryland had outshot and out cornered the Tigers but the Tigers were to use their speed and didn’t waste opportunities. The overtime would be anyone’s guess.

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Nike Lorenz scored the winning goal

The first overtime was slower than one would have expected, but Maryland did get off one shot in the first overtime which like several before it in the regular period went off the mark. The overtime became more of chess match than a manic fast paced desperation sudden death it often times is. Perhaps it was the heat and humidity, or perhaps it was just the tension of the game that slowed the pace.

The game ended in the second overtime at 81:27 as Nike Lorenz dribbling to the left corner found some space and finished with her eighth goal of the season. We talked with coaches after the game and the responses were predictable. Maryland will continue on undefeated into their tough Big Ten schedule and Princeton will meet Dartmouth as they kick off their Ivy League schedule. I would not want to be Dartmouth!!

Maryland “Never Gave up” and overcame the 1-4 deficit, and Princeton used their speed to place people in a position to score. Very entertaining contest.

Lafayette Falls To Albany 4-0

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Adriana Pero sprints after the ball

One would have thought after the big win against Lehigh that Lafayette would have built around that emotion, but the team came out flat, giving up 3 goals in the first period on 3 shots with the second two goals coming within 20 seconds of one another. In fact, Lafayette had no shots in the first period at all and no corners with Albany earning three corners. It was hard to believe this was the team that earned a dramatic win only two days before.

Play was started slowly giving Albany time to get into their match up zone planting two and three Albany players on our midfielders and backs and turning play towards the Lafayette goal repeatedly.

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Liza Welch charges into the Lafayette circle

The second half was better as Lafayette managed seven shots to Albany’s 6 and giving up one goal in the process. Penalty Corners were even at 4 as Albany chose not to execute its last corner with no time left and the score 4-0. It was a remarkable display of good sportsmanship as the game had already been decided.

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Theresa Delahanty drives through two Albany defenders

Midway through the second half it looked like Lafayette had executed a corner perfectly as Ana Steps delivered what appeared, to most knowledgable people, to be a goal high into the cage. It seemed clear to people who were watching from the stands there was no backswing, therefore a legitimate goal. But there was no dispute from the Lafayette bench which may have had a different view, when the goal was disallowed. Personally, I can’t wait to see the replay on the PLN to see for myself.**** I am sooo in favor of instant replay!!!

Meanwhile, the team that lost on Friday to Lafayette lost 5-0 to Fairfield, a team Lafayette lost to in the first game of the season at home 3-1.  . Meanwhile this weekend American lost the BU 2-1 in overtime  and Bucknell lost to Syracuse 3-0. BU today, got thumped by Penn State at Maryland and Colgate fell to Bryant 2-0. Holy Cross lost to LIU Brooklyn and Dartmouth this weekend as well.

Next up is a game at Drexel on Friday night. Drexel lost to Penn this weekend 2-1 and next Sunday Lafayette will be at home to nationally ranked Liberty University who beat Virginia this weekend 3-2. The next Patriot League game will be against BU at Rappolt on Sept. 29 at noon.

 

****Addendum

Looked at the replay and the goal by Steps looked fine to me with no backswing. There was no protest from the Lafayette side and a lot of protest from Albany. Maybe there was a foul that I didn’t see.

 

The Leopards Prevail In 3-2 Overtime Win

There was no doubt that this was a game that both teams needed, and it had all the drama and excitement of a Lafayette/Lehigh encounter. Forget the records, this was a game played at a high level, with many individual stars. The overall stats reflected a Lafayette domination of the field. The Leopards had a 19-6 shot advantage, which was compensated by Lehigh’s excellent goal keeper, who made 8 crucial saves. Lafayette led in penalty corners 12-2, but Lehigh was to take advantage of every opportunity as their defense stood strong under a Lafayette onslaught of shots and circle penetrations.

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McAndrews gets ready to shoot

Scoring started with less than a minute to play in the first period, as the tandem of Kristen Taylor who delivered the cross, and Grace Angelella who settled the ball, delivered, to give Lafayette the half-time lead. With about 11 minutes having run off the second half clock, Lenke Havas from Lehigh made a shot that sailed over Sara Park, the Lafayette goalkeeper knotting the game a 1-1.

 

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Lisa van der Geest steals the ball from a Lehigh attacker

The crowd of 512 urged their teams on and Lehigh was to strike 3 minutes later giving Lehigh the lead. The Leopards redoubled their efforts and less than 1 1/2 minutes later Lafayette was to come back to tie it with a Van der Geest strike from a penalty corner assisted by Theresa Delahanty and Cameron Costello. Through the end of the period Lafayette was to earn several penalty corners, but couldn’t quite find the formula to crack the Lehigh goalie’s stops. With the crowd roaring during the period, it ended in a tie and it was on to overtime.

Memories of last year’s overtime loss must have flashed through many on the teams’s minds as they lined up for the start of the first overtime. I must say this fan was no stranger to anxiety at the moment, but it was freshman Molly McAndrews who delivered the winning goal through the legs of the Mountain Hawk goalie ending the game after only 20 seconds into the period.

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Grace Angelella attacks the Lehigh goal.

The night was enhanced with spirited cheering from the sidelines and had all the interest of any Lafayette/Lehigh contest. It was a well earned win, and appreciated by all. The stands were decorated with sign’s and balloons and the team was greeted with words of appreciation for the outstanding effort.

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Kristen Taylor shadows a Lehigh player

It is hard to single out difference makers because this was truly a team effort, but clearly the team captains deserve the credit for keeping this team centered on what needed to be done. Theresa Delahanty returned to the turf from her hand injury and was a contributor all game, including providing an assist to Co-captain Lisa van der Geest for the goal that tied the game.  Rachel Bird was to propel the ball downfield numerous times to set up the play. Kristen Taylor was to impress with her athleticism on numerous occasions. I had to marvel at the skill of our players who were able to turn the play around time after time. Freshman McAndrew’s move to get the goalie to commit and the shot that ended the contest will certainly end up on someone’s highlight reel.

It was the TEAM that made it happen. They obviously had a mission this week, and they performed. Well done ladies.