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.
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)
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.
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….