Lafayette Visits Boston University In Next Patriot League Challenge

The Lafayette Field Hockey team will soon board a bus to travel to “bean town” to meet the preseason League favorite Boston University. Their last trip to Boston was during the Patriot League tournament last year, when the Leopards battled the Terriers to a 2-1 loss with a second period winning goal  made in the waning minutes of regulation.

Molly McAndrews chases a Terrier

The historical record shows that Boston has a 6-1 edge in play against Lafayette. The last  Lafayette win came three years ago at Lafayette in a shootout. With the exception of the 2017 and 2018 regular season losses, the games have been close, decided by two goals or less.

This meeting promises to be intense. Lafayette arrives with a 5-5 record with a strength of schedule of 20 out of 78. Boston has a strength of schedule of 36 and 3-5 record. They are 2-1 at home with the one loss coming from Bucknell several weeks ago. Lafayette has yet to win on the road acquiring all 5 of their wins in the friendly confines of Rappolt Field. A win by Lafayette would give them 3 wins in the Patriot League needing only one more League win to lock up a place in the playoffs. However, a win would also put them in contention to host the championship. For Boston a loss would hand them 2 league losses giving them a small chance to host.

Allisa Connolly (11) has scored 5 goals so far this year

Lafayette has an RPI of 28 while BU is at 41. In addition, the Leopards, even given the fact they have played 2 more games than BU, have scored 2.30 goals per game vs 1.8 per game by opponents. Boston has score 2.11 goals per game but given up 2.48 goals per game. Lafayette averages 13.7 shots per game while Boston has 12.88 shots per game. The save percentage is .688 for Boston while .719 for Lafayette.

The most interesting statistic concerns penalty corners. Lafayette averages 6.6 per game and gets .7 goals per game on corners. Boston averages 5.62 corners per game and gets .38 goals per game via corners.

Boston’s top scorer is junior number 11 Allisa Conolly with 5 goals in 8 games. The Leopards must be cognizant of her presence. However, scoring is spread around 8 players in an offense that over the years has worked off the counter attack.

All the Terriers are still a well coached, and dangerous team, especially at home. Add together, their one loss to Bucknell in the League and they are sure to arrive at New Balance field with a chip on their shoulder. Boston, this year has gotten off to a quick start in games this year scoring 6 of their 17 goals in the first period. However, their opponents scored 7 goals each in the second and third period in the 20 goals scored against them.

Weather so far looks good and the PLN will be on scene for the televised record!!

Half Way Through The Season

Lafayette played their 10th game on Sunday and they are more than half way through the regular season. I thought I would revisit the pre-season SID and Coaches picks, and compare them to my initial impressions.

Right now the Patriot League standings are Lafayette first at 2-0 and 5-5 overall, American is 1-0 and 5-4 overall, Bucknell is 1-1 and 5-4 overall, Boston is 1-1 and 3-5 overall, Lehigh is 1-1 and 5-4 overall, Holy Cross is 1-1 and 4-4 overall while Colgate is 0-2 and 2-8 overall.

The Lafayette defense is in fine form as we all have seen, but the offense is starting to catch fire with 2.3 goals per game average against a 1.9 gpg average after 10 games. Impressive!!! In addition it is being done with arguably the League’s highest strength of schedule.

As predicted, I believe and continue to believe that Lafayette is strong enough be at or near the top of standings at the end of the regular season. Boston has hit a rough patch which make this weekend’s home game with Lafayette important to both. Like Boston, American has probably performed worse than expected in the out of conference games, but last Sunday’s  win against Bucknell proves as far as the Patriot League is concerned they are ready to compete.

Corner defense goes to work

Looking at the ratings American enjoys an RPI of 28, Lafayette a 29, Boston is at 41, Bucknell at 48, Lehigh at 56, Holy Cross 60 and Colgate at 69. One of the interesting numbers, is Lafayette’s strength of schedule which stands at a league high of 20. When I first took a look at the schedule, it looked like an average schedule if you used last year’s RPI. As it turned out, the out of conference schedule proved to be a challenging one. Also our two scrimmages with Albany and Fairfield turned out to be against two current top 25 teams.

My one surprise was Colgate, who had a lot of returning veterans, but at the moment are having a tough season. Lehigh is still dangerous, especially for Lafayette, when the two meet on a Friday night in a renewal of the intense rivalry.  However, a win this Saturday for the Leopards, against Boston would be a big step toward post season opportunities. More about that tomorrow. Lehigh hosting American has obvious interest. Colgate will make the trip to Holy Cross in an attempt to stay in the hunt for a post season berth. A loss could be devastating to their chances.