Seniors To Play Their Last Game At Their Home Field As Playoffs Approach

It will be Senior Day on Saturday as the Leopards will meet American University in a game that may lock in their first appearance in the Patriot League Playoffs in three years. They would secure their place with a win or a loss by Holy Cross against Bucknell. A win could also determine a higher seed and chance to finish second in the league standings. In all likelihood, it may not change the ultimate opponent in two weeks but might give many of our player a leg up on much deserved recognition.

Three seniors, Theresa Delahanty, Rachael Bird, and Kristen Taylor are the only players who have playoff experience, having played in the last game against American 3 years ago. All five seniors have been contributors these past years and have had to battle bad luck, injuries and tough times to finally get there again. I don’t believe they will let this opportunity slip by. Delahanty, Bird and Taylor have overcome game missing injuries in the past two years, but along with seniors Adriana Pero and Liza Welch will not let this opportunity get by them again. Saturday’s game could be a statement for them and the team for 2018.

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Adriana Pero sprints after the ball

Number 3 Adriana Pero

Adriana came to Lafayette via Harleysville,Pa and Mount St. Joseph Academy.  Her experience in High School was punctuated with post season success making the district playoffs for four years and state playoffs for two years.  She improved her play by playing for the highly touted WC Eagles and winning the gold medal at the Disney Field Hockey Showcase. As a key member of the defense this year she made significant contributions in games she started in, Fairfield, Boston, and wins at Villanova and Colgate. She has had one defensive save as well this year

Always known for her fitness and determination, Adriana first caught my attention two years ago in a game with Boston University as a smart canny defender. She is a team player who has learned to play for the benefit of all not just herself. But she also stands out in the classroom who at last reckoning had a 3.85 average as a Neuroscience major. She entered Lafayette as National Honor Society member, nominated for the Diocesan Scholar Program, and was an AP Scholar with Distinction. Her academic excellence continues at Lafayette. Last year in preparation  to apply to medical school she has already taken the MCATS. I’ve spoken with two of her neuroscience professors and they speak with great admiration for her scholarship and determination. All agree she will make a great physician in the future.

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Liza Welch moves the ball along the baseline

Number 4 Liza Welch

Liza hails from Sutton, Massachusetts, not far from Holy Cross, and we are glad she found Lafayette to her liking. In High School she scored 61 goals and was named to the Central Mass Super Team. She was the DVC Player of the Year and also played tennis. Academically strong, she earned the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship for advanced MCAS scores. She continued her excellent academic work as a Dean’s List student in Chemistry.

Liza made her first start against Harvard in 2016, and during the year had several assists. She plays with precision. In 2015 she appeared in 8 games, the first of which was against Ball State. This year was a breakout year, which actually started at the Women’s National High Performance Championships at Spooky Nook where she scored a goal in the opening game.

Her reverse stick shot has served her and the team well, as she has reached the back of the net 3 times so far this season with goals against Maine, Villanova and Colgate. She also has had assists against Temple and Holy Cross. She is a danger to opponents near the goal with 9 shots on goal.

She impresses me with her intelligence on and off the field and I can hear her on the field helping her teammates. We are lucky to have her at Lafayette and a member of the Leopard squad.

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Senior Kristen Taylor plays her usual tough defense against Fairfield

Number 9 Kristen Taylor

Kristen Taylor has been a mainstay and contributor to the Leopards virtually from her arrival. Her stick skills serve her and Lafayette well. Especially this year, Kristen can be seen weaving her way through the opposition and finding an open teammate, to get the ball in scoring position. She exhibits amazing fitness and combines it with  determination that makes her an elite athlete.

Kristen’s home is in West Vancouver.B.C. and played High School field hockey at the Crofton House School.

One of  three seniors who have been on the field during a playoff, Kristen played in all 19 games in 2015 getting her first two goals against Sienna. In 2016 she had 10 starts in 18 games, scoring against Temple. In 2017 she saw action in 18 games with 4 starts.

Her skill should be no surprise as she arrived at Lafayette after playing 5 years of Hockey at the Crofton House School. As Captain her team won the  British Columbia  High School Provincial Championship. She was a member of the Field Hockey British Columbia Regional Squad representing British Columbia at the Canadian National Championships for three years. She was hampered this year for 3 games due to a broken thumb, but returned to the lineup in a reserve role at Colgate and had an assist. In a crucial game with Holy Cross she started and scored an important goal. Altogether, she started 10 games out of thirteen and will be a crucial factor in the remaining games this season, hopefully including the playoffs.

She is a tough competitor and fearless on the field and uses her skills to great advantage. She is another Neuroscience major with a Dean’s list average of 3.33 at the last accounting.

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Rachael Bird shuts down a Penn attacker

Number 10 Rachel Bird

Rachel has been a key contributor when healthy. She has always had a “big hit” and very strong in the backfield. This year her skill and strength is demonstrated by her ability to launch the ball in the air over the opposing defense. Additionally she has a Patriot League leading 4 defensive saves. ( I actually counted one more against Colgate). Her reliability is reinforced by her role as the “kick back” goalie when the coaching staff pulls the regular goalie, hoping to score a needed goal in closing minutes. She only played in 8 games last year due to injury, and has been  a captain for the last two years.

She was MVP of her High School team and played in numerous national tournaments being name MVP in the Polar Bear Tournament. She comes from West Vancouver and played for West Vancouver Secondary where she was named the Outstanding Senior Female Athlete.

She manages to put herself where needed on the field, and her reemergence as a key player has been an added benefit to the squad. She is a graduate of the Oaks Leadership Academy and at last reckoning had the highest GPA on the team of 3.93, majoring in economics and German.

She is as engaging as she is brilliant, and demonstrates a plethora of skills that will serve her well, it whatever she attempts in the future

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Theresa Delahanty shows her fight competing for the ball

Theresa Delahanty Number 17

“T’ is an all Patriot League midfielder who is known for her aggressive style and competitive spirit. It is no wonder she was elected a co-captain this year. It’s not hard to see her ability, and for that reason she was named to the Women’s National Championship at Spooky Nook and is a member of the US indoor squad. Early on in the season she broke her thumb.and was forced to the sidelines but as soon as she was able to play, her impact could be seen. She started in 13 games scoring 11 points while delivering seven shots on goal connecting for 3 goals and 5 assists. Theresa is the first Leopard opponents have to deal with as they cross the 50 yard line and she often finds herself double teamed.

During the Villanova game she delivered for 2 goals and one assist with three shots. She has a 33 percent shot percentage. She is a natural leader, but is known for her big heart. She volunteered last winter to cut off all her hair in a campaign to raise money for children’s cancer.

Theresa is a native of Washington Crossing Pa. and went to Council Rock North High School and played for the Mystx Field Hockey Club.

She is another veteran of the last playoff game the Leopards were in. I except to see a lot of energy from her and inspiring her teammates in the remaining games. No doubt her opponents will be keying on this playmaker.

She no slouch in the classroom as a Mechanical Engineering major. She arrived at Lafayette as member of the Distinguished Honor Roll, National Honor Society and the Science National Honor Society.

******. Just announced Theresa has been selected to play in the Division One all star game in Louisville. Congratulations!!

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Leopards Fans always behind their team!!

The 12th Team Members

I have to recognize the parents of all these outstanding young women who have supported them at Lafayette and before. Playing a division one sport is difficult and the preparation is rigorous…for that.. thank you parents. Your are your daughter’s rock that helped them through their most difficult moments. The outcome in the next few games are unknown, but I know they will be leaving it all on the field, which will be a tribute to you all. In June they will be alumnae and will begin their life’s journey, but they will bring with them the experiences of the last 4 years…. which will make them stronger. GO PARDS

 

Published by

William Rappolt

I am past chairman of the Lafayette Friends of Field Hockey and a former BOT member at Lafayette College. My wife and I are members of the Board of Trustees for USA Field Hockey Foundation. I am the retired treasurer of M and T Bank Corporation and a 20 year fan of Division one field hockey

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