Summer Is A Time For Decompression And Preparation

Audrey Sawers and Tara Hamilton display their gold

As the earth makes it annual journey, so too  our field hockey student athletes begin their annual preparation for the tasks at hand this fall. It’s a little more than a month away when our team will report for the challenges of preseason. Certainly circled will be the first scrimmage with Fairfield on August the 18th. For the first year teammates, it will be their first taste of Division One hockey as a Leopard. For the veterans, it will be the time of reconstruction and dedication for the challenges ahead. By accounts, this is a team that could be in the hunt. There are only 17 scheduled “obstacles” in the way and two playoff games during the chill of November.

Sidney Woolston at the Futures National Tournament at Spooky Nook

In fact, no team in a Division One environment is standing still, so the challenge is not one of passing a static opponent, but keeping up and surpassing those along the way. Aside from summer study, family and personal travel, we have had a chance to see and an occasional Leopard in action. Arguably, it’s seeing our newest Leopards in action that is the most interesting. Yesterday, I had a chance to see Sidney Woolston, a freshman defender/midfielder in a game at the Futures Championships at Spooky Nook. Sidney was playing on a New Jersey team ( London), and saw lots of crucial minutes in her first two games of the three day tournament. The weather was challenging ( it must have been over 100 degrees on the turf).  They played under the old high school rules, and did not separate the game into four quarters, but played two long halves in a challenge to fitness  as well as skill. The 5’7″ defender showed her potential to those of us on the sidelines and I was to get several action shots for my camera.

Meanwhile, 3000 miles away Tara Hamilton was to join one of our key leaders, Audrey Sawers in a Tournament at their club in Western Canada. They led their team to the gold medal. I have no report yet as to any scoring by either athlete. But their working together might portend a combination this fall. Audrey of course earned her first caps in Ireland playing for the Canadian under 21 team in Ireland. ( cheered on by her Lafayette teammates)

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We all know about Grace Angelella and  Molly McAndrew’s play after bering selected for the 2019 Young Women’s National Championship. Molly was reported to score a nifty goal in her final game of the tournament. I hope that will be a warm up for the fall season.

Meanwhile, I hear the rest of team is playing pick up games once a week at Rappolt, and I am sure they have been following Coach Stone’s fitness regimen. The first day of preseason is no time to begin getting fit. I expect all will arrive ready to learn and play.

In a couple of weeks camps will begin at Lafayette and it will give Coach Stone and her staff a chance to evaluate where the team is, as perhaps some freshmen and veterans participate or teach at the camp.  There will be additional instruction from Lafayette alumna and national team player, Amanda Magadan, who will be joined by US teammate Julia Young. Traditionally, our first year players are in plentiful supply at the individual camp.

Jenn Delongis snags the ball against Maryland

No doubt league rivals are getting ready as well, as will our out of conference foes. We can’t be more excited by the potential of the team this year, because there is no doubt about the talent. No doubt the skill is there to return to the PL tournament and perhaps make that next step to be champions and play in the NCAA tournament. Championships are won  in the off in the season as the saying goes. A little more than 30 days and counting….

Leopards Cheer On US Team Vs Germany

Amanda focuses on an opening during the game

With Leopard alum Amanda Magadan starting for the US Team, Leopard fans and alums were not in short supply at Spooky Nook, home for US Field Hockey on Saturday.  The US gave Germany all it could handle on the field as the crowd of over 4500 fans cheered for their country with all the enthusiasm it could muster, and Amanda’s former teammates were behind her at every moment during the 2-3 loss against the number 5 ranked team in the world, Germany.

The game had all the atmosphere of an Olympic contest, national anthems, cheering fans and great hockey. The Leopards in attendance, Brittany Blass, Meg Lillis, Aliza Furneaux and Theresa Delahanty did not hold back as their friend and teammate gave her all on the field.

The Delhantys were there in force!!

It was almost like old times as our alums were joined by Lori Lillis, my wife Pam. the Delahanty’s, Peggy Furneaux, and Silvia and Aldo Magadan also engaged in the festivities. All that was missing was the. pre and post game tailgates.

Theresa Delahanty, Aliza Furneaux, Brittany Blass and Meg Lillis together

It was time for a little catch up as the alums explained where they are now. Brittany has accepted a job with a hospital in Minnesota in the critical care unit as a Physician’s Assistant. Meg Lillis is in DC as is Aliza who just finished her masters and is working for the EPA. The most recent graduate, Theresa Delahanty is decompressing while evaluating job applications  after receiving her degree in Mechanical Engineering,  All four young women still play a little hockey on a club team and agreed to get together to  play in the future.

Silvia Magadan makes no secret of whom she’s rooting for

Silvia Magadan is Amanda’s number one fan ( easy to guess in her game day garb)!  She will be traveling to Chilie to watch the Pan Am games and has volunteered to work with the team.

Angelella and McAndrews Play With The Best At The YWNC

Angelella gets ready in position on the offensive corner

What a better time than Father’s Day weekend for hockey dad’s and mom’s to see their daughters compete in an all-star  hockey format. There are 138 elite athletes competing for a chance to play for the United States on one of its high level national teams. There are players from a variety of Division one teams from across the nation. Sprinkled throughout the stands were parents, siblings, teammates and friends wearing a mixture of tee shirts, hats and tops from a plethora of schools. Lafayette was privileged to have two of its own on the turf, Junior Grace Angelella and sophomore Molly McAndrew.

Forgetting previous honors or affiliations all were equal as they competed on 8 teams in a 20 game tournament. Forgetting the purpose of the event, the hockey was entertaining and played at high level. All the games were played under the new rules for the fall collegiate season, and US Field Hockey added one additional test. Coaches were not allowed to coach in the first quarter each game, while the players were encouraged to solve their own hockey problems on the field.

Angelella ready to recieve the ball

We traveled to Spooky Nook, the home of US Field Hockey, Friday and Saturday, seeing both Leopards perform a full game each day. Originally, McAndrew and Angelella were to play on the same teams, but Molly was moved to the “Pride” team at the last minute because they were short players. Friday, the two teams played at the same time so watching both in its entirety was impossible. Therefore we opted to watch Grace’s team,”Freedom” on Friday and Molly’s team Pride on Saturday.

Freedom and the Patriots put on a display of intensity in the Friday match. They played at a  skill level, which belied the fact the teams had one practice together that morning. Passing was especially accurate, and they moved the ball up and down the field with ease. Grace Angelella at mid-field fit right in. She was involved in a lot of play from her starting midfield position and became a key contributor, using her considerable talents. Both teams had a hard time finishing, but I thought Freedom had the better of the action when Taylor Blood ( yes, from Patriot League Boston University) connected on an off-target insert during a corner  with seven minutes remaining giving Freedom the 1-0 win. On the second day, while we concentrated on Molly’s game with Pride, Freedom got their second win on a 3-1 victory over team Courage. They currently lead Pool A with six points and a goal differential of 3.

Molly McAndrews shows classic form

Molly McAndrew meanwhile met on Friday with the US under 19 squad and lost 4-1 in their first game, but from our point of view it reenergized as we watched them win the second game played on Saturday by a 3-2 margin. Molly saw lots of action as she started in her customary attacking position.  Pride seemed to dominate play for each of the 4 Quarters. Dream ( their opponent) scored first in the second quarter and Pride responded by hitting the post twice. It took another quarter to even things up. It was in the fourth quarter when things were opened up on a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter. A third goal was to ensure the win with a rebounded shot. Dream was to get within one as they connected late in the game on a penalty corner of their own to end the scoring, giving Pride the win and third place based on goal differential as of Saturday night.

McAndrews recieves the ball on the run

The weather was perfect for field hockey with a mixture of sun and a cool westerly breeze.  Today, on Father’s Day will no doubt see the stands filled with justifiably  proud”field hockey Dads.” It looks like Tuesday, games will be live streamed for those of you who would like to watch.

Some familiar fans expressing obvious pride from the sidelines. (Marty and Sue McAndrews)



63 Days And Counting

Greta Kulby in Germany with new teammate Lici

Now that graduation has passed and final exams are done, our favorite Leopards have spread to destinations all over the world. There is exploration of all kinds going on. Whether it be athletic, academic or an internship to sharpen skills and provide contacts for eventual employment, I am sure our athletes will find the skills of teamwork, time management, perseverance and leadership valuable commodities to their eventual employers in the future.

Their experiences this summer will be varied, but will no doubt enhance their multiple resumes. We have already seen Audrey Sawers earn her first international caps in Ireland, witnessed by her friends and teammates in Dublin, Liza Welch who was traveling, and Sophie Carr who lives in Ireland. I got an email from Sue Kullby,  Greta is studying in Germany, and she attached a picture of Greta with her new teammate Lici. Greta also hopes to contact Lisa Van der Geest in Holland and Ana Steps in Germany before her return to the states.


There are a number of Leopards at school doing research with their professors, one I hear is involved with an NIH a research grant. Others are taking courses to enhance their education at Lafayette, and try new things. However, Hockey remains on their minds. Tomorrow, my wife and I will take a drive out to Spooky Nook to watch Grace Angelella and Molly McAndrews participate in the Young Women’s National Championships.



I understand members of the team regularly get together for informal captains practices to keep their skills sharp. Head Coach  Jennifer Stone no doubt has given them a fitness regimen to follow, and I am sure they all have early August in mind, as they rigorously follow its carefully prescribed exercises.

It is 63 days until the first scrimmage and we are all anxiously awaiting!! Go PARDS

Athletic Scheduling: Science, Politics, Or Sportsmanship

The Leopards offensive corner battery executes

In many collegiate sports, the scheduling of out of conference opponents can be one of the most crucial acts in coaching, or sport administration. In conference schedules are a done deal. There is no avoiding conference foes once your conference affiliation is decided. The movement to other conferences is fraught with fiscal penalties and rewards. The move of Rutgers and Maryland to the Big Ten for example was an exercise motivated by the potential TV markets the Big Ten network wanted to enter. Considering the penalties that were exacted by splitting from the their old conferences, it easy to understand the hundreds of millions of dollars involved in that decision.

Jenn Delongis snags the ball against Maryland

The decision of course is driven by the big money makers men’s football and basketball, but it does drag the other “non-revenue sports” with them without regard to long standing rivalries. It also drags non-conference scheduling with it into the mix. In 2007 Appalachian State ( the FCS champion) beat the University of Michigan football team, which led to a reconsideration by all Big Ten teams scheduling FCS teams on a regular basis. They were trying to protect their brand.

I have felt for years that scheduling had several elements to it that had reflected “brand protection,” attributes to it in many sports. Many people do not realize that many larger schools will pay for an out of conference to team to play them. It may be because they are remote, or because they want to raise or protect their RPI which will be used in seeding for NCAA national tournaments. Patriot League fans will groan every time a Patriot League basketball team must play a top team in an early round during March Madness. However, early games in the season can be found and are sources of revenue, as they use lesser skilled teams to establish a rhythm. Lafayette often times can find a game with a Kentucky or Villanova early on. I wonder if by some miracle how easy those games would come, if Lafayette won three games in the tournament the previous March?

Anna Steps breaks the American press

I get amused by the policies of some schools regarding the release of schedules. Football schedules are released two and three years in advance, basketball schedules seem to have out of conference opponents added on an ad hoc basis. Coaches of course don’t want to “overface” their teams, losing seasons do not translate into job longevity. However, in sports like field hockey the RPI of the overall league can be crucial in post season success, so there is peer pressure to schedule better teams to raise the competitive level of the league as a whole.

One thing that interests me is the out of conference schedule as an indicator of what the coach thinks of her team, especially in a league like the Patriot League. BU has several nationally ranked teams on the schedule, Maine, UCONN, Boston College, Princeton, UMASS, Ohio State, and Harvard. Yes, many of the teams are in proximity to Boston, but some are not. Why shouldn’t Lafayette be playing teams in their backyard  like St. Joes, Princeton, Rutgers and Delaware?? All are within a bus ride from Easton. Bucknell seems to have lightened their schedule, but they do have JMU, Syracuse and Penn State scheduled for next year. Colgate has announced their schedule and their opponents are predicable, and should prepare them for the league which will. be more competitive. They are returning a lot of veterans for this rebuilding program. A game with Syracuse should be interesting. Syracuse still lists an open Nov 2 date. Having lived in Buffalo for a number of years I would imagine upstate New York weather can be iffy!!

The Lafayette schedule is either not complete, or just not announced for next year as is Lehigh’s, Holy Cross, and American. Certainly the in-league games will be challenging as always, our out of conference games  appear on the respective schedules of Penn, Liberty, Providence, Monmouth, and Temple. I suspect we will see a Richmond, Albany, Fairfield, Drexel or Columbia in the mix. It would be fun to play a Delaware ( short ride for me), or a Rutgers who also haven’t posted schedules, nor have we played them in years. With 11 games known, as of this writing it’ll be fun to see who the 7 out of conference remaining games will be as those games may set the Lafayette RPI, should we have a successful Patriot League run.


Angelella And McAndrew Set For Young Women’s National Championship

Sophomore Grace Angelella reaches for the interception

Rising Junior Grace Angelella and rising sophomore Molly McAndrews are set to travel to  the “Nook” for a chance to be selected to the US  U21 team, US Women’s National Development Squad or the US Women’s National Team Trial. Phil Edwards, Senior Manager of Junior High Performance is quoted:

Looking at the caliber of players selected, the level of coaches who will be there to support them and the balance of the teams it promises to be an excellent tournament!!

The 144 selected elite athletes from across the United States will begin play on June 14 and play everyday until the final games Tuesday June 18. They will be playing and training at the national training headquarters at Spooky Nook in Lancaster, Pa. The selectees will be split into 8 teams, coached by a variety of college coaches from around the country. The eight teams form two pools. and  based on the their records they will play final games on Monday and Tuesday.

Molly McAndrews closes in on a Quaker

Both Leopards, Grace and Molly will play on the same team, Freedom, coached by Richmond Head Coach Jamie Montgomery  and asst UNC coach Mark Atherton. They will be joined by fellow Patriot League opponent Taylor Blood from Boston University. The rest of the team is populated with stars from colleges and universities  from across the United States including the NCAA tournament final two competitors, UNC and Maryland. They will also have players, from nationally ranked teams such as St.Joes, Virginia, UConn, Rutgers, Ohio University, and Delaware. It is also populated by Ivy Leaguer Columbia and out of conference Lafayette competitor Drexel.

Grace Angelella speeds down the sideline

Each team will have a practice under the Dome some time between 11 am and 2pm on Friday and games will begin at 3pm. Freedom, Molly and Grace’s’team will ply outdoors at 3pm against the Patriots that same day. Saturday, they will play at 11 am, on the outdoor turf against Courage, and Sunday, they will be third on the outdoor turf against Honor at 3 pm. Monday and Tuesday game schedule will depend on the outcome during the previous two days.

All games are free for spectators for the entire tournament. I will be there for several of the games and will certainly report on the outcome via this blog. It is less than two months before preseason begins and this is a great time for hockey fans to get a feel for the fall season approaching. Best of Luck to our two Leopards!!



Audrey Sawers Earns Four Caps With Canada U-21 Team

Audrey Sawers started every game with the Canadian U21 team this weekend as the  team earned a third place medal in the friendly  team  tournament. Audrey earned her place on the team last year being observed by Canadian National team coaches in an all-nation tournament last summer.

This week end she played defense for her nation’s team who had two shut outs. They earned their third place finish after getting a goal in the 36 th minute on a penalty corner. The defense stepped from there on to deny their opponent, Scotland,a chance to tie it up.

While at Lafayette she played the midfield. She has started every game of her career at Lafayette after a distinguished career in high school. She will certainly be a key component in Lafayette’s NCAA division one fall campaign, as they compete in the Patriot League and hope for that mandatory spot in the NCAA national tournament.

Supported along the way she has received encouragement from her teammates at home and in the stands in Dublin. We are anticipating her return to Rappolt Field and helping her teammates to challenge for the Patriot League championship this fall.

Audrey greets her teammates Liza Welch and Sophie Carr as they arrive to encourage her in Dublin