Lafayette field hockey will play two opponents this weekend in Lynchburg Va., the home of Liberty University. The Leopards will be meeting two undefeated teams. First up on Friday will be Appalachian State who spent last weekend in the Washington, D.C. area going 2-0. On Sunday at noon Lafayette will be playing Liberty who at present is 1-0 and will play at 3pm against Richmond before the Mountaineer- Leopard game. The nationally ranked Liberty team beat JMU 5-1 on Sunday.
The Leopards would be making a mistake to overlook this confident, but tenacious Mountaineer squad. This is the best start Head Coach Megan Dawson has had since taking the job. In a press conference earlier this week she praised the Mountaineer defense… calling it gritty.
” We know we might be slight underdogs, but we will bring that gritty style to the game. It will be a tough game because teams will improve as they move on.” She is looking for more from her offense, especially in the area of penalty corners and given the new 4 quarter format, she predicted breakaways.” We are not cocky and see the weekend as a big test.” She praised her unscored upon defense in particular.
Their leading scorer is number 13 Megan Smart who scored both game wining goals, and total of three out of the four goals all weekend…..all from the field!!
Aside from the unscored upon moniker, the stats are similar. Both team have four goals on the season. The Leopards have taken 9.5 shots per game, the Mountaineers 11. The percentage of goals vs shots is 21 percent for Lafayette and 18 pct for App. State. Leopards however, have given up 30 shots ( skewed by the Syracuse game) to the Mountaineers 15 shots.
After the Syracuse game, like Dawson, Head Coach Jennifer Stone had praise for her defensive unit, ” I thought our defensive unit was incredibly strong and resistant.” She also opined, that the recent experience has primed this team for the rest of the season.
I suppose, since both coaches see their teams strong defensively, we are destined for a high scoring game (ha! ha!). But I do think its time for our scorers to break out. I personally hope to see more shots from Lafayette, providing our players with rebounding scoring opportunities. But we shall see. In any case, we will need to bring our “A” game against this improving program.