It what appears to be their most challenging weekend of the spring, the Lafayette Leopards will load the vans again to travel down I-95 to Towson Maryland to play on Towson turf to take on three challenging games.
First up at 11:45 will be VCU. I can’t remember the last time we played them but it could be when Ann Gold was still the coach. Since then they have had several coaches. Their most recent coach is Stacey Bean who will be in her third season this fall and may be their most successful. She has had two winning seasons so far, last year getting to the conference final in the A-10 against a very good St Joseph’s team. They were 12-7 on the year and 7-1 in the conference. Last year they lost close games to American ( 3-2 in double overtime) and Bucknell by the same score. They had two big wins agains ODU and Wake Forest. It appears they like to score as they got the ball in the net 55 times but only gave up 29 goals. They have only 12 underclassman including two rising sophomores in the goal. Perhaps we shall see some of their seniors play??
It certainly doesn’t get easier with National Finalist University of Maryland. The first push off will be at 1:15, and daunting would be an understatement. The Terps will bring their usual excellence to the Towson turf in the person of 19 underclassmen. On their way to Louisville and the National Championship game last year, they were 22-3. They scored 81 goals while only giving up 33. They had 142 penalty corners. They took an average of 16 shots per game against 8 for their opponents.
Their schedule was tough, meeting 19 nationally ranked (top 25) teams. Behind it all, is the 31 year veteran coach Missy Meharg who has been the national coach of the year nine times. She has coached 6 olympians and 51 all Americans. She has won 8 national championships and 23 conference championships. ( Two conference championships and won a national championship with my daughter in 99-00, where ironically they played Lafayette in the first round).
The last mutual outing was in the 2012 NCAA tournament, Lafayette was ranked 10 and Maryland was the defending national champion ranked 7. Maryland beat Lafayette 2-0.
The third game will be against host Towson University @ 2:45. Towson is in the grips of a building program highlighted by the addition of their new field. They are working hard to improve on their 1-17 record. Only one game was played on the their new turf field against Lehigh last year ( they lost 2-3) Their other Patriot League opponent was American who showed no mercy with a 0-7 final score.
The good news here for their coach, E.A. Jackson, who is entering her third year, is that she has 16 returning players including Haile Abbott’s (Lafayette GK) twin sister. They will only lose 2 seniors. Towson scored only 19 goals and gave up 67. and took 107 shots but gave up 253. It’s a game that would be easy to overlook, but given it’s the last game of the afternoon I would be cautious.
Holy Cross has announced their new class, and the additions since I last reported includes Rachel Perry from Holden Mass. She is an all state forward and Captain of her team. The second recruit is from Sarasota California, Isabella Henderson who appears to be a midfielder. As reported earlier Holy Cross did reach across the Atlantic for a South African Sinead Walsh from Port Elizabeth. All three seem to be excellent athletes playing several sports. So Holy Cross brings in a total six recruits. We will meet them this fall on Rappolt Field.