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.
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 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.
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.