LCFH…. It’s The 2019 Version

March 29, 2019 will mark the debut of the 2019 Leopard Field Hockey Squad. Our young women have been hard at work, through the cold of winter and early morning training sessions preparing for the ultimate fall challenges. First year rookies are no longer rookies, Sophomores progress to upperclassmen, and Juniors become the leaders. From my observation, no one has lost a step, in fact I could see improvement in this squad who made the playoffs, and are ready to stride to greater heights.

Yes indeed, it was a practice game but I could see enthusiasm and confidence in this group. Playing under the new rules ( 4 fifteen minute quarters and a stopped clock on corners) I have to say the game tempo was picked up and gave these young athletes a chance to go 100 percent for the 60 minutes. From a fan’s standpoint this is an improvement.

The coaching staff, nevertheless, were able to substitute and experiment with athletes in different position and new roles. I was impressed with Audrey Sawers play in a more forward position. She showed excellent skills and was a real threat participating in both goals during the practice game against a.good Monmouth squad. Molly McAndrews has lost none of her flair, and in one shoot out stunned the fans with her dodges. Lisa van der Geest was the clear leader on the field directing play.

Both goalies saw action and Sarah Park and Hailey Abbott showed improved movement. Grace Angella looked fit and ready and displayed the skills that will challenge fall opponents.

This was a first good contest, as Monmouth showed a lot of the skill that earned their conference championship last season. They showed ability to press effectively and their shooting and passing skills was on par with higher echelon teams, They should do well in the American East this fall.

It was a little difficult to identify players since they wore numberless jerseys but it did not detract from the entertaining evening. I still believe this team will get better as the spring advances and we can sample a peek of their determination in games with Virginia and Maryland in the near future. There is still a lot of work to be done but I firmly believe the Leopards will be in the hunt for more than just an appearance in the Patriot League playoffs!

Next week it’ll be off to the University of Pennsylania for a tournament on April the 6th against Penn, Virginia and Rider. to start at 11:30.

PS. I was impressed with the new fencing at Metzgar. It finally makes the complex more like the rest of the campus. I know this has been a project that has been desired for almost a decade.

Steve Horgan Gives Heads Up For Rule Changes

Patriot League rookie of the year weaves her way to the goal in 2018

Steve Horgan, USA Field Hockey Director of Umpiring in a recent article published on March 20 listed all the potential rule changes for the 2019 season. All USA Field Hockey sanctioned events will be under the new rules. The NCAA will review and as has been the case in previous years implement them for the fall season in April or May. I am told by several head coaches the new rules are usually adopted by the NCAA after acceptance by USA Field Hockey. However, I am also told it might be a close vote.

The changes are significant. Horgan emphasizes, ” that the changes were discussed and voted on in a proper manner for the betterment and successful future of field hockey.”  ” Safety is paramount,” Horgan adds, ” and Field Hockey is increasingly under scrutiny to evolve with the times to ensure the rules allow for the game to be exciting, yet safe without losing the iconic aspects established over the years.”

The most important change is for Hockey to be played in the four quarter system, (15  minutes per quarter) stopping the clock when a penalty corner is called.  The majority of Coaches who are  in favor of the change note it will allow teams to play at their best for the entire match minimizing the loss of endurance. Those opposed say this will reduce the eventual participants in a game. The clock stoppage will assure that time is not lost when the penalty corner is being set up. Horgan notes it takes 30-45 seconds to set up the corner and is lost during a game. Undue time in setting the corner would be penalized. Time starts with a whistle not the insertion.

The Leopards offensive corner battery executes

The second and more complicated change will be with the player with goalkeeping privileges or kicking back.  The change is made with regard to safety. The concern is that the designated player has no protection. Teams will make a decision if they want to play with a player advantage. When a team plays with only field players no one on the team will have the ability to play like a goalkeeper even on a corner.

Also during free hits close to the circle, all players must be 5 meters from the attacker.

It is not a forgone conclusion that all these rules will be implemented for NCAA games but they enjoy the support of a majority of Coaches. Dissenters feel that moving away from the 35 minute half will limit playing opportunities, and point out the rules differences that exist between professional men’s basketball and the college game with regard to the quarter system professionally, and the 20 minute halves in the college game.

I’d be interested in what you think. You can place a comment below!!

In the meantime the Leopards return to Rappolt Field for a spring game with Monmouth on Friday March 29th at 6;30 pm. Good weather is promised!!

Leopards Ready To Begin Spring Season


The long wait is over and the Leopards return to the turf to a series of spring contests  to get ready for the games that count this fall. Spring is always exciting to see veterans return with improved skills and a chance for those who saw little action this fall to challenge for future playing time. The weather has been a blessing this spring as the team has had numerous opportunities to practice on the turf in the past several weeks.

The coaching staff has arranged for a challenging series of contests against top ranked teams and even some teams they will see this fall. They will see several conference champions and NCAA tournament participants including University of Maryland who went all the way to championship game in Louisville last year.

Molly Mc Andrews closes in on a Quaker

First up will be a contest with Monmouth at 6pm at Rappolt Field on March 29th. Lafayette has met Monmouth on several occasion in the regular season and we have witnessed a steadily improving program. Monmouth has been a regular to the MAAC championship game and last year they won it progressing to the NCAA first game only to lose a heartbreaker to William and Mary 2-3 in overtime. Monmouth’s statistics are impressive as they had a 13-7 record with a 5-0 record in the league. They were 10-0 at home.

They have an impressive offense getting 57 goals vs 35 by their opponents. That works out to 2.85 per game vs 1.75. They took 300 shots with 170 of them on goal.  They allowed 219 shots and 115 were on goal. They had a tough OOC schedule and they can play tough and close with good teams. This fall they will be playing in the American East.

Anna Steps breaks the American press

Lafayette will be trying to improve on their 8-11 record using their 4-2 in conference record to build on. The Leopards will need to improve on their 39 goal performance (2.05 per game) while allowing 55 goals ( 2-89 per game). The Leopards took 239 shots and gave up 220 shots. They had a very creditable 115 penalty corners while giving up only 76.

The defense looks very solid with all-american captain Lisa van der Geest at center back. I would expect additional help to come this fall with the addition some high quality recruits. The Leopards will have plenty of experience in the goal with returning senior Sarah Park and returning sophomore Haile Abbott. The midfield looks a little more fluid with graduation of Theresa Delahanty and Kristen Taylor. All league player Caroline Turnbull returns as does Audrey Sawers, Anna Steps, Grace Angelella, Jenn DeLongis and all league rookie of the year Molly McAndrews to provide offensive punch.

Van der Geest launches a shot during a corner after a Welch stop

The trick of course is to  put it all together and the first game with Monmouth should provide a window to our Leopards progress!! In future weeks there will be the tournament at Penn ( it will be their last games of the season) with Virginia and Rider on April the 6th at 11:30. Then the 14th at Towson with Maryland and a good VCU team at 11 am on Towson’s new field. Then its back to Rappolt for a 12 pm game with Columbia and seven days later a final tournament at home with Drexel, Quinnipiac and Villanova beginning at 11.


LCFH 2018 Gathers For Last Event

We are within months of graduation and weeks before spring games and the Lafayette Field hockey team met for its annual celebration and transition. The seniors are already beginning the transition to alumni and the remaining team is transitioning  to the 2019 field hockey team. They all met at a dinner Friday night to celebrate an eventful season and remember the past years of friendship, hard work and to look forward to new careers and education. The celebration included fans, parents, coaches and administrators as we all got to laugh at and admire the accomplishments of these student athletes.

We were in attendance with all-American’s and all League athletes but more than that we got to peek into the fun they experienced between the games we all saw!! The evening began with a review by the captains Rachel Bird, Theresa Delahanty and Lisa Van de Geest. They reviewed what they believed were their best games and reminded everyone of the grit of the team as they came back from a difficult start to the season to earning post season play!

Captains Bird, Delahanty and Van der Geest review the season

Coach Stone followed with remarks about the team and their determination. She especially reviewed and thanked each senior for their contributions and saluted their abilities on and off the field. She reminded everyone of the challenge of playing 5 top 25 teams, having an 8-5 record in the last 13 games after an 0-5 start, and the great efforts against U of P, American, Lehigh and Villanova. The seniors,  reviewed to the amusement of all  attendees four years of memorable ( and maybe some forgettable) moments between games and training. The laughter was unconfined and the camaraderie evident.

The Juniors then saluted the seniors and mentioned their many accomplishments and noted their admiration for all, Rachael Bird, Theresa Delahanty, Andriana Pero, Liza Welch, and Kristen Taylor.  (Noted was Adriana’s scoring in the 99th percentile in her MCAT exams). They will be moving onto careers in medicine, engineering, business and perhaps the law and there was no doubt in the room that they would bring the same determination to their new endeavors that they brought to the astro turf field last fall.

There was then, the time for awards to be announced. Rachel Bird and Adriana Pero received the Academic Excellence award,  Kristen Taylor was honored as “Iron Leopard” for her fitness, Caroline Turnbull was voted by her teammates as the “Unsung Hero,” Rachael Bird received the Player’s Award, and Theresa Delahanty was feted by the coaches for her inspirational play and received the coaches award. Finally, Lisa van der Geest received the Rappolt Most Valuable Player award. In addition, those previously named for all-american ( Lisa and Theresa), Rookie of the Year ( Molly McAndrews), all-league ( Molly, Theresa, Lisa, and Caroline) and all tournament winners Caroline and Theresa  received their certificates along with the League weekly winners.

There was a considerably lengthy list for the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll that was posted in the program along with their majors.

In the end, there was an acknowledgement to the future as the spring schedule was published in the program, March 29 at Lafayette against Monmouth at 6 pm, April 6 with a tournament at Penn at 11:45 ( Virginia, Rider, Penn and Lafayette), April 14 at Towson, April 20 Columbia at Lafayette 12 pm, and a Lafayette tournament at 11 am with Drexel, Qunnipiac, and Villanova.

It was an evening devoted to the past with a look to the future and it was, as always, a privilege to be there.