2018 Ends On Exciting Notes

Boston falls to Miami of Ohio in opening round game

The Patriot League tournament ended on an exciting note as all the playoffs games were played with one goal margins. Favorite, Boston University was the survivor and moved on to the first round game with Miami of Ohio. They became a victim of this offensive power, and uncharacteristically lost 2-0. As a result and in summation of their season their RPI slipped, as did the RPI of the whole league. No doubt the four top teams will remain the favorites next year but the recruiting season should be an interesting one.

The league itself is populated by  strong underclass talent. Lafayette is not an exception with  Lisa van der Geest getting first team all region honors along with senior Theresa Delahanty. None of the Patriot League teams have announced their signees, but the rest of the country has begun to reveal their incoming classes

Princeton earns NCAA win against Ivy League rival Harvard

The NCAA tournament lived up to the hype as Miami left the tournament in the first round but the play by the top remaining teams made for some exciting hockey. Especially interesting was the game, which I attended between Princeton and Harvard. The game was witnessed by many from the region including the teams from Yale, Columbia, St. Joseph’s and Penn. The overtime game which featured a controversial stroke call against Princeton ended in a one goal victory for the Tigers as third year Coach Carla Tagliente moved her team onto the final four and a second date with her Alma Mater University of Maryland.Terps.

UNC emerges as National Champion in final battle with Maryland

Meharg and the Terps prevailed in overtime to set up a number one vs number two championship between Maryland and the University of North Carolina. Carolina was more than the Terps could handle. I have remarked that in the ACC championship game Carolina played 27 players. It looks like we will see more of the powder blue next year but rumors are that super coach Karen Shelton may retire. It was inevitable that these two super coaches Meharg and Shelton would meet in the end. Missy Meharg returns next year and no doubt will be in the hunt.

One of the more remarkable coaching jobs was done by Lynn Farquar at Saint Joseph’s University. Lynn’s four year record is 51-28 and this year was 18-3 deserving a ranking in the top ten, a first for Saint Joseph’s who had a very mediocre record prior to Farquar’s arrival. One wonders how long Farquar will remain given her record. She has to be a. hot commodity at this moment.

Temple has announced the resignation of their four year coach Mary Beth Freeman.  She had a record of 21-55 during her stay. She had replaced 17 year head coach Amanda Janney who had move to Indiana. Ironically Janney resigned from Indiana citing family and health reason. After 20 years in the profession her record at Indiana was 27-47.

We will all have to wait for the spring for field hockey news, but luckily the US Team is playing and will start the new FIH league with a  game to be played at Wake Forest’s field in February. They also have a remarkably young team with Lafayette veteran Amanda Magadan as a significant contributor.

No doubt as I get information either officially or through social media on Lafayette’s new class, I will relay that on to my readers. Meanwhile best wishes and holiday greetings this winter season and “Success!”



Unfinished Business


It’s been nearly two weeks since the Patriot League tournament, and many of us have had time to think about the season and what lies ahead. The tournament was certainly worthy of its participants, with every game being decided by one goal. The championship was within any team’s grasp that weekend, and as for Lafayette I know the team is anxious to begin training, and a shot at next years prize.

It was an atypical year for the Leopards, with a very slow, yes maybe even dismal start to the season, losing to teams we probably could have beaten at the end of the season. But something happened at midseason that changed. All of sudden with wins against Drexel, and Penn we seemed to find our stride. But it was at Holy Cross, when we started to do things we didn’t do all year. We found a high press, that gave us offensive opportunities we didn’t have before. We developed diversified threats that kept defenses guessing. But best of all, we found  team spirit. At the beginning of the season you could see our bench sitting on the sidelines, but by midseason they were up and cheering.


That change in attitude comes from good leadership, and I give a pat on the back to our three captains. But as well, I can point to our seniors who showed the underclassman how to play through adversity. Sadly, not all were to get the recognition they deserved, but ladies, it did not go unnoticed. You have left behind a legacy that will be carried forward.  At the end of the game in Boston we all knew there was unfinished business ahead..now we need to grab it!!

The league itself should be ready to advance with three coaches who have no more than three years under their belt. Colgate had virtually no seniors, Lehigh was loaded with underclassmen, and Holy Cross had very few seniors. American will return with at lot rising underclassman and Boston seems to reload every year. Bucknell can always be dangerous as they beat Lafayette in the last game of the season. It is rumored that Holy Cross will be recruiting overseas this year. Lafayette has a lot of very good players returning, but will need to develop a stronger bench. November 14 is the first NLI date, and perhaps we shall see what talent arrives for all of the League members.

The League itself has not improved over the last six years. It has an average RPI of 56, This year its average RPI is 61 across its 7 teams,  the lowest average in six years. Its highest RPI was 53 in 2014. The six year average of its bottom three teams is about 68, and 32 for its top four teams. There are 77 teams in Division one.


I would expect the bottom three teams will begin to improve next year which means Lafayette with an RPI of 50, this year can not stand still. Make no mistake, I think we are better than the record, and have momentum on our side. So it’ll be back to the weight room, continue to  practice skills, and get ready for the spring. In the spirit of Raph Waldo Emerson, this team has “earned the appreciation of honest critics,” and I may be one. But I am a “homer” and an unapologetic fan. I believe they are good enough to win it all. next year.

Leopards Battle The Terriers To A 2-1 Heartbreaking Loss

Co captain Van der Geest puts the stop to Boston

I hate to say a  team “deserved” to win a game, but if there was a situation that called for that observation, this was it. The Leopards battled like champions, showing all the skill and heart they displayed in the last part of the season. The Leopards had 8 shots to Boston’s 13, but out cornered them 3-1. Lafayette turned away the Terriers time and again with their gritty defense, and an exciting offense. Sure, there were several questionable calls, as happens in many games.  Petra Hall of Boston University in the end connected twice, the first at  19 and 1/2 minutes into the game and broke the one one tie with six minutes left in the game.Caroline Turnbull had tied the game at 24:49 in a scrum after a corner that seemed to go on for 10 or 20 seconds.

Liza Welch chases down the ball

Sarah Park was magnificent in goal, as freshman Ally Abbot was brought in after a call for a stroke in the first period.  The freshman stood tall and stopped the Alley Hammel shot preserving the tie. The call that lead to the stroke was a mystery to most, as it was called against the goal keeper inside the circle. ‘

In the second half Molly McAndrews, rifled a shot that deflected off the body of a defender in the circle, To mosts people, a stroke was called for, but never happened. Lisa van der Geest was used at the kicking back position at the end of the game, but the Leopards were unable to take advantage.

Molly McAndrews chases a Terrier

Rachel Bird played a key role on the defense not only turning back Terrier plays, but initiating passes through the use of her strong hits. Sam ‘DiMaio was strong on the offense as well. Freshman McAndrews was a presence, driving and going toward the goal. Theresa Delahanty showed her courage and skill on both sides of the field making plays all game long. Lisa Welch showed she could mix it up with the vaunted Terrier defense. Kristen Taylor was her classy best, and calmly helped direct the midfield and attack.

sophomore Grace Angelella reaches for the interception

The Leopards return many from this team next year. There will be a thirst to return to the playoffs for a little revenge. Perhaps next year they will skip the slow start they had this fall.

All in all, they performed like they belonged there, and perhaps a run for the title will be in their minds next year. Our senior’s play and their loyalty to their teammates will be something to build on in the future.