An aggressive Leopard Field Hockey team nearly pulled out the upset with a determined effort Monday night against Syracuse. It was the defense again, which would be the center of the Lafayette game as they were able to turn away a skilled and speedy Syracuse attack.
Lafayette opened the first quarter with a goal from Caroline Turnbull off a penalty corner, assisted by Simone Hefting and Lisa van der Geest after only 3:47 had run off the clock. The Syracuse Orange were stymied again and again as the Lafayette Leopards turned away and controlled the game during the first half. Things were really going Lafayette’s way as Audrey Sawers made a terrific reverse shot on a difficult angle from the right side to make it 2-0 at 13:27.
However Charlotte DeVries, Syracuse’s star freshman, collected a rebound at 26:55 and planted a goal that made it 2-1 going into the half. That seemed to energize the home team and Syracuse changed their tactics by going for the long ball rather than trying to challenge the Lafayette defense in the middle of the field. This enabled Syracuse to control possession for the remainder of the game. At 34:05 Syracuse found Tess Queen assisted by DeVreis and Carolin Hoffman during a penalty corner for their tying goal.
Lafayette had no shots during the remainder of the game but it was the Lafayette defense which turned away threat after threat despite being out shot 12-0 in the last 41 minutes. During the last 2 minutes of the half Lisa van der Geest was to be hit for a yellow card and the Leopards were to play short handed for the remaining half, and 3 minutes of the first overtime. It was an amazing effort by a defense which may be one the best in country.
The defense again was to be outstanding in overtime, turning away threat after threat, driving the game into a second overtime period. Laura Graziosi, shortly into the second overtime received a lofting pass in front of the cage and found herself one on one with Sara Park, Sara came out to defend and did get a glove on the ball, but it went in despite her efforts.
I have to lastly laud the Lafayette defense again, who played an outstanding game and nearly provided the plays that might have given the Leopards the upset.
Lafayette will travel to Lynchburg, Va to play two games. On Friday they will meet App. State and Sunday it will play nationally ranked Liberty University.
Since Lafayette was playing an ACC opponent they benefited by video replay, reversing a decision, awarding Syracuse a penalty corner at a crucial point in the second half. I urge again that the PL adopt instant replay. Perhaps, at least for the playoff games, wherever that may be!!