Summer break is nearly over and the pages of summer work outs, the clinics and camps are slowly behind the Lafayette student athlete, and in less than a month, they will be returning to campus to begin the final preparation and rehearsals for the fall season. By this time next month, their first division one competition, in the form of a scrimmage will be upon them. About 85 percent of the seventy plus schools have already published their schedules, and they are beginning appear in publications like “Field Hockey Corner.”
But the campus itself is beginning to come alive. You can see small bands of athletes organizing for captain’s practices. The Football team will be the first to arrive and the start of their summer workouts might be more of a subtle change in routine, as you can already see larger and larger groups working out under the hot sun at Fisher Field.
For those of you thousands of miles away in Germany, Holland, and Vancouver it’s been very hot here in the US Northeast with temperatures reaching close to 100 degrees, I can only imagine the heat on the astro-turf surface. As parents and student athlete alike arrive in less than a month, they will see a campus in the midst of large changes.
The new integrated science center is nearly completed, Just in time, as STEM offerings are being enhanced. The school will be offering a new BS in engineering which will complement the other more specific engineering offering. The new dorms have begun construction on Cattell Street. They will be ready for occupants in 2020. They will include a plethora of new retail shops on the bottom floor replacing the old worn out housing and retail space that has occupied the Hill for years.
The freshman college population will well exceed 700 as the school advances to their short term target of 2900 students. In the coming years we will see additional changes and renovation to accommodate the new populations. On the list of renovations according to highly placed sources, will be the science building, Kunkel Hall, the student housing at Marquis, McKean, and others.
The college is also committed to change and improvements in the athletic department. Sherryta Freeman, now more than a year into her job as Athletic Director, is changing the face and resources of the department for a reinvigorated sports program. There is a new women’s Lacrosse Coach, and additional staff for the Men’s Lacrosse program as well as the women’s basketball program. There is a new administrator for compliance ,who I understand will also have some sports responsibilities.
I have also learned from high sources that a new fence surrounding the field hockey field is in the works, and upon inspection recently I see small flags on the outside where the fence will go. Upon arrival at Metzgar Fields the new construction of fences and welcoming signage finally makes Metzgar have the look of the beautiful campus Lafayette is. Also in the works are permanent bathrooms adjacent to the field hockey stands, which will bring comfort to our many fans. The timing is unclear but I am assured they are on the way.
We will welcome seven new families and they will learn quickly how the program is a family friendly activity. There is excitement always, and this season is no exception. The Patriot League is as competitive as ever and as we begin that schedule, Lafayette will be facing familiar coaching organizations, each with the goal of not only making it to the post season league playoffs but the NCAA national tournament.
There will be some new opponents and according to their already published schedules we will be seeing App State, and Monmouth among others for the first time in a while. There will also be the familiar names we have seen in the past according their schedules, Penn, Temple, Liberty, and Richmond have us on their websites. More about that in later posts. I plan to go over each Patriot League team later this summer and I eventually will have something to say about our out of conference games as they approach.
For me its been a long summer waiting. but its almost over!!