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.
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.
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.
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.