With thirty seconds left in the first overtime period, Audrey Sawers who had already scored a goal in the third period during a corner, found Simone Hefting mid circle who deftly deflected the ball past the Holy Cross keeper for the win. It was an important game for both teams who entered the contest at 0-2 into the six game league race. At 1-2 Lafayette remains in the race for a spot in the Patriot League tournament while at 0-3 Holy Cross remains to meet a hot Lehigh team next week followed by a depleted ( no subs), Boston University squad, and a better Colgate team on the 18th.
Lafayette on the other hand must meet an American squad twice and play Bucknell at Bucknell. American will travel to Rappolt Field next week for a senior day against an inspired Lafayette squad.
Today’s game started off as a defensive battle as each team tried to find opening lanes only to be turned away on each side of the field. Lafayette had one shot and one corner. Lafayette keeper Haile Abbott had a key saves in the second quarter. Holy Cross had 2 shots, one on goal and one corner.
In the second half, the action picked up as Lafayette added one goal by Sawers at 33:39 followed 5 minutes later with a tying goal at 38:49 from Caitlin Little of Holy Cross. The Crusaders followed with 3 more shots while Lafayette turned it on with 5 more before the end of regulation in the fourth period. Overtime saw Lafayette add 3 more in the overtime including the game winner, while the Crusaders added 2. For the entire game the Leopards had 10 shots the Cross had 7. Corners were 3 to 3.
There were some great individual battles on the field with Devine and Molly McAndrews in conflict much of the game. However it was Audrey Sawers who was the diffence maker with 4 shots, 1 goal and one assist. Her goal was a thing of beauty reminiscent of her goal in the Patriot League championships, first dodging defenders and finding some individual space. Defensively she was again all over the field. McAndrew had the clear attention of the Crusader defense. Hefting’s deflection was expertly executed for the game winner!
This was a character game, as it was a must win for both sides. It was played in monsoon like conditions, on an opposing field, during senior day!! As has been the case every game, Coach Stone was to empty the bench of field players, all of which had contributions to make.
Will Boston Be Able To Play Without A Bench?
Boston beat Colgate yesterday and was to play them today, but couldn’t. ” because they have no subs.” The excuse was Covid, but if there was a positive case on tier one, yesterday’s game would have been cancelled. The discreet number of missing players suggest some violation of school covid rules!! Their next game is with Holy Cross on April 11.
Bucknell Beats American In Overtime
Bucknell stays in the hunt with a gritty 2 overtime victory against American.
Keep in mind this year we are on a point system. A win is 3 points and overtime loss gets you one point. So as it stands now, Boston leads with 9 points, followed by Colgate and Lehigh with 6. American and Lafayette are tied with 4 points, Bucknell has 3 and Holy Cross has 1. Do I smell tie breaker?? If a team plays less games ( Colgate, Lehigh, American and Boston are on track for less games, it will ranked by points per game). It seems a little bizarre!!
The Leopards will board a bus on Saturday and travel to Massachusetts for an 11 o’clock Sunday meeting between the 0-2 teams. Both teams of course want to earn their first Patriot League win. Both teams have lost by one goal in their previous two games but that’s where the comparison’s end. Holy Cross has taken 25 shots against 29 for their opponents. Lafayette on the other hand has taken 10 shots and given up 7 in regulation time. So on the surface, this looks like Holy Cross’ offense vs Lafayette’s defense
Holy Cross has lost their excellent goalkeeper to graduation and still appear to be unsettled at the position. Lafayette appears to have not lost a step in their defense, but like many sports have had difficulty getting their offense in gear early on. With regard to penalty corners they have earned mid single digits while giving up the same.
At this early point one might think it might be helpful to compare performances between common opponent Boston University. Holy Cross got off 11 shots (five on goal) while giving up 13 ( 7 on goal). Lafayette had 3 shots in regulation and Boston had 4 in regulation. Boston had 3 penalty corners to Lafayette’s single corner. Holy Cross on the other hand had 3 penalty corners to Boston’s 7.
Holy Cross in recent years has relied on the fast break and counter attack to put points on the board while Lafayette relies on a more structured offense. Last years, 8-0 win by Lafayette stymied their attack, and built a wall around the cage. It might not be that easy this time given the emotion of senior day and the consequences for the loser.
Holy Cross has modified its spectator regulations but it doesn’t include admission for visitors. Sadly, its not clear that there will even be streaming TV as of this writing, but we shall see.
Going forward the Leopards will meet American twice and Bucknell once before the end of the regular schedule, while Holy Cross will meet with Lehigh, Boston and Colgate.
I look forward to Lafayette finally showing an offense that we know is possible with this team. Secondly, I see no reason for defense to take a step backwards. I am wishing for TV, so I will keep my fingers crossed!!
Good News Lafayette /Holy Cross Has Appeared On The ESPN plus Schedule!!!
Lafayette put in a determined effort, but slipped to 0-2 in the Patriot League standing, tied with Holy Cross who lost to Colgate 1-0 today, but ahead of Bucknell who is now 0-3 after losing to Lehigh 0-4 in Bethlehem. All tied are American, Boston, Lehigh and Colgate who remain undefeated. Colgate and Boston will meet twice next week, on the 27th and 28th, American will meet Bucknell, and Lafayette will travel to Worchester in a must win game.
Lafayette showed sparks of determination and heart, after falling behind one goal in the third period, but not quite 4 minutes later Tara Hamilton slipped the ball past the laid out Boston goalkeeper to even it up. Both the Leopards and the Terriers stepped up their efforts. Whereas each team had recorded one shot each in the first half, shots by the end of regulation were 4-3 in favor of Boston. Penalty corners were in Boston’s favor 3-1 for regulation and the game.
BU’s defense was marked by an aggressive press, but as they acquired possession their passes were crisp and accurate. Lafayette started out slowly but picked up intensity as the third period progressed. Audrey Sawers was all over the field on offense and defense and Grace Angelella appeared whenever needed for a defensive play. Sydney Woolston was visibly in the face of many BU players.
There was an ebb and tide to the game that raised or lowered spirits for the 70 odd fans in attendance. But the Leopards never gave up. Sadly, in the overtime, BU was to get off two shots, with the second at about 2 minutes into period striking gold. Senior Alexis Pettisani from BU reacted by lifting the ball slightly over the GK stick scoring the deciding goal.
This bizarre schedule continues with BU playing two games with Colgate back to back next week, and Lehigh will be playing American twice by season’s ( one is a make up game).
PS. During the Lehigh game yesterday, the announcer stated that senior Lenke Havas will attend an additional year at Lehigh, and play as per NCAA rules. Will there by others in PL who will take the extra year ?!!!
Sunday will be the second game in the Patriot League abbreviated covid schedule for both squads. However, Boston University had a bye week last week, while Lafayette met Lehigh for an opening loss. The game is important for both squads to make the playoffs. Lafayette is perhaps the most difficult game on the Terriers schedule and Lafayette needs to get into the win column. Two weeks ago Boston survived a 2-1 game with Holy Cross. Boston had 13 shots with 8 on goal against Crusaders’ 11 shots with 5 on goal. Boston’s second year goalkeeper, Caroline Kelly, came up with 4 saves. They were able to earn seven corners using one in the first quarter to allow their star player Kathryn Sheer to score the first goal. After Holy Cross scored to tie the game, there were 2 following quarters that resulted in goose eggs for both teams. Rebecca James, a terrier senior, found the back of the net that was be the game winner late in the fourth quarter.
Boston used 16 players in the game and Lafayette used 15 in last Sunday’s game while generating 7 shots ( 2 on goal). They also had 6 corners most of which occurred in the final quarter.
Last year Lafayette won in a hard fought defense featured match, that went to overtime. Lafayette will need to show more offense to get beyond Boston’s sophomore goal keeper Caroline Kelly. Boston lost some important offensive contributors last year and my observations of the Holy Cross game, was like most teams this year the offense has not yet come together. If Lafayette can crank up their offensive production it could be good day for the Leopards.
Fan Attendance Was A Success Last Weekend
Lafayette allowed Lafayette parents, alumni and students to attend outdoor matches. It appears it was a success, as the number of new covid cases this week was actually one of the smallest increases of the semester. Since last weekend, both Lehigh and Bucknell have modified their fan attendance rules. Proposed this week, tickets will be issued ( free of course) to the same eligible fans. Visiting teams will not be allowed fans. Here’s hoping that other PL schools are watching and reduce their draconian rules.
Since it was part of the new protocols, I wonder if Boston will be busing down for the 1 pm face off, or will they be staying overnight….does anyone know!!!??
This will make the sixth straight year that Lafayette/ Lehigh ended with a one goal lead for the victor. It was Lehigh who would take home the win in a gritty contest played at a windy Rappolt Field more reminiscent of a November end of season contest than an opening day game. Everything is backwards this year, so why not??
Even the watering of the field had to be done manually to avoid the watering system freezing and pipes splitting at night. Neither team was about to miss this game windy, cold or what. What could be better than, rivalry, first game, and PL play. The college wisely allowed students, parents and alumni from the home side to attend, one would have assumed the intangibles were on the Leopards side!!
The game began with Kahn and Abbott in their respective goaltender positions and as the game progressed it turned into defensive affair, where it became obvious this may have been destined to become a 1-0 game. My feeling was Lafayette had the better of the action in the beginning and literally and figuratively the wind was at their back.
Simone Hefting from Lafayette repeatedly showed her skill with long, strong hits from the backfield to speedy forwards. The timing was not quite there as Lafayette did have several chances but couldn’t seem finish.The first shot came from Lafayette’s Audrey Sawers at 3:51 into the quarter. The officials couldn’t seem to keep their hand from their pockets when finally at 11:08 Molly McAndrew got her first yellow.
17:30 into the game Lehigh picked up their first corner which was smartly turned away. However at 17:54 McAndrew was to take her first shot saved by Lehigh’s Kahn. Lafayette was to get two corners at 18:21 and 18:42 with Felicitas Hannes’ shot going wide on the second corner!!
Lehigh came out in the third period pressing hard until at 40:41 they were awarded a corner. Drew Pecora took the initial shot which resulted in a scrum in front of the cage until freshman Julia Gatelien was to poke it into the cage for the 1-0 lead. The period ended with Audrey Sawers getting a Green at 44:31.
At the beginning of the fourth Lafayette got a corner but could not convert again. Alex Talkow was to get off a shot at 56:57 which got the fans excited but was saved by Kahn. Lafayette was to get 3 more corners during the period while Lehigh attempted to run out the clock. With about 3 1/2 minutes to go they began to strategically run for the corners letting precious seconds tick away. However at 58:02 Lafayette was to have its last corner of game and it was blocked.
The statistical tale was interesting. Lehigh had 3 shots 2 on goal and 5 corners, Lafayette had 7 shots 2 on goal, and 6 corners. Lafayette had no shots in the third quarter and Lehigh had none in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile Bucknell lost to American 4-0 and has two losses on the season. Next up for Lafayette (0-1) is Boston (1-0) next Sunday. The other two PL games will be Bucknell ( 0-2) at Lehigh (1-0) and Holy Cross (0-1) at Colgate (1-0)
Lafayette and Lehigh will square off for their annual rivalry game, and this time the fans will not have to wait for the middle of the season to see this rivalry renewed. Lehigh was to play a game with American last week, and it was hoped that we might get a look at Lehigh before this week’s game. The game was postponed, so not only is it a big rivalry in any case, it is the opener for both teams, bringing additional intensity.
In the last 19 meetings Lafayette holds 16-3 edge, but be not fooled, the last several years has seen Lehigh close the competitive gap. The last five games have been decided by one goal, with two of those wins by Lafayette decided in overtime. Last year’s 1-0 win for the Leopards was at Lehigh, where a second period goal by Molly McAndrews was made to stand up by a stout Lafayette defense.
Maddie Kahn, the Lehigh goal keeper was to turn away a furious Lafayette attack that peppered her with 18 shots, 15 of which were on goal, giving her an amazing 14 saves on the night. Now a sophomore, she brings a year’s additional experience to the game. Lehigh managed only 2 shots in that game, one of which was on goal. I am sure, Coach Caitlin Dallmeyer is looking to improve in that area!
In the off season, she has moved to strengthen the attack, and now has three dutch players including a new freshman attacker Lotte Smorenburg. Lenke Havas, their fine senior defensive pre-season all league player who returns for another shot at Lafayette.
Lafayette answers with a new person in goal, no matter who of the three Goal Keepers on the team will be picked to start. It will be a key decision for Coach Stone, who also will bring a lot of experience to the field from returning veterans from their 12-8 season last year. The defense will be anchored by Sophomore Simone Hefting with senior Eva Kaplan, sophomores Sydney Woolsten and Shea Bolderson ready . Lafayette will support a solid midfield with Captain Anna Steps leading the transition along with Senior Grace Angella and Audrey Sawer supported by Mary Gold and Kara Tiedke. The attack is ready with Junior Molly McAndrew, Senior Sophie Carr and Alex Talkow along with sophomores Fecitas Hannes and Tara Hamilton.
The Leopards are deep. Last year, Lehigh substituted only 2 players the whole game, while Lafayette used their depth with 6 substitutions. Opening day, an abbreviated schedule, and some fans in the stands makes this an intriguing match. Although Lehigh has said it is considering allowing fans at their games, Lafayette is allowing at least parents to this game. ( Unfortunating two 70 plus year old, fully vaccinated fans have to watch it at home…..we could consider a temporary adoption!!! But I will save that for another blog)
There are no definite wins this year ( can I remind everyone of Bucknell’s loss to Colgate last week??)! Both teams will want this one for a variety reasons. Wish I could be there in person, but ESPN plus is already saved for this one!!
PS: Lafayette is allowing a limited amount of alumni at games….my wife and I have registered and will be in attendance. No need for a temporary adoption!!!
Today the Patriot League opened its season and the rest of division one continued its play with it own series of surprises. The Patriot League was to have three games, but the game between Lehigh and American was postponed. So both teams will play their first games next week. Lehigh will be at Lafayette and American will be playing Bucknell who lost their opener today 2-1 against Colgate.
I suppose BU was expected to beat the Crusader of Holy Cross but it wasn’t easy, as Holy Cross did fall 2-1 after a fourth quarter goal Goalkeeping was a huge question mark for both teams. Holy Cross needed to find a successor to Marcia LaPlante who was a four year starter but graduated last year. Head Coach Lindsay Jackson’s choice was senior Emma Skumurski, who performed well in her first action. Meanwhile, BU had its own battle for GK as Sally Starr went with sophomore Caroline Kelly against first year recruit from New Zealand Kate Thompson.
It was a competitive game with with Kelly coming up with 4 saves and Skurmurski turning away 6 saves. Holy Cross faced shots 13 shots while Boston faced 11 shots. Eight of Boston’s shots were on goal while Holy Cross had 5. Boston had 7 corners and Holy Cross had 3.
The final score was to be 2-1 in BU’s favor. Boston’s two goals bookended the game, the first coming with less than two minutes into the game and the last with less than three minutes left. The first goal came from Boston’s Kathryn Scheerer off a penalty corner. The Crusaders tied it up late in the first quarter off a Kristen Weber goal delivered close in off a rebound. Late in the fourth quarter BU’s Rebecca James found the back of the net for the game winner through a flurry of defenders.
In between, the game went back and forth and seemed destined for overtime. Holy Cross has a bye next week and will meet Colgate on the 21st in Hamilton. Boston will also have bye and meet Lafayette @ Rappolt Field on the 21st.
Meanwhile, Colgate was to emerge victorious in a 2-1 game at Lewisburg which saw Bucknell do everything but find the back of the net. Gate opened up scoring in the first period with a Meghan Minturn goal off a redirection. It wasn’t until the 3rd quarter that Bucknell finally found the back of cage off a Kari Melberger goal to the right post. One minute later Colgate answered with a Mari Kniezewski game winning goal to end the scoring for both teams. Gate had three shots ( all on goal) while Bucknell had 15 shots (12 on goal). The Colgate goal keeper, Anna Unger, had 11 saves and Claire McCormack and Peyton Fischer split goaltending duties for Buckell with McCormack posting 0 saves and Fischer having 1 save.
An angry Bucknell team will travel to DC to meet American and Colgate will have a bye and greet Holy Cross on the 21st.
In a burst of sound logic Lafayette will allow a limited amount of spectators at outdoor venues. The process started when Pennsylvania announced it would allow 20 percent of a venue’s capacity to attend a gathering. For Field Hockey, the capacity in the stands at Rappolt Field is about 800 people meaning that 160 could attend, although there has been as many has 1700 people who attended an event there years ago. ( a lacrosse game in which Lafayette was actually nationally ranked against another ranked team).
In the announcement, the College announced that outdoor events scheduled for March 13 and beyond, would permit two guests per Leopard student athlete ( to accommodate parents of family members), families of coaches, and a limited number of Lafayette students in residence on campus, as long as the college is at level one operational level. This will not include parents and fans of opposing teams. Faculty and staff enrolled in the College’s weekly testing protocol will also be allowed in.
Invited guests are receiving instructions via email as this is being written, they must register and adhere to strict guidelines. Spectator guidelines include 13 points which include a self assessment, wearing of masks, practice six feet distancing, no tailgates, specific entry points, specific contact for invited guests, designated seating areas, no contact with players before, during or after the event, portable restrooms must be used, no concessions, mandatory notification if anyone exhibits Covid symptoms or test positive within 14 days after the event, and the consequences for not following the rules could result in suspension at future events, or complete shutdown of access to spectators in general.
In additional news, Ana Steps and Molly McAndrews are named to the first team All Patriot League team, while Lafayette is picked second in a poll of coaches and SID’s.
American is picked first in the preseason poll, Lafayette second, Boston third, Bucknell fourth, Lehigh fifth, Holy Cross six and Colgate seventh.
Pat Myers Head Lafayette Lacrosse Coach in a separate message, said, ” We continue to review options for alumni attendance as we move forward.” So we shall see!!
Lehigh v American Game Scheduled For Sunday Postponed Due To Covid Concerns
March 7 is opening day for Patriot League Field Hockey’s seven team league. There are no preseason games, no scrimmages just six games to determine who will be the four who will play in the Patriot League tournament, which will decide who gets the auto bid for the NCAA national tournament. The patriot league winner then will play a minimum of nine games, far less than a normal season.
The question is how do you handicap this season? Freshman had no preseason competition, sophomores did not have a spring season last year, so one might think the team with the most upper class players has an advantage. Conversely coaches might think of this season like a spring season except for the playoffs. There are several conferences that have already started and doubling up on games between conference foes. I should note also there a several schools like Old Dominion and Liberty who are letting a limited amount of spectators. Temple who plays in the city had spectators looking through the fence on the southern end street!!
Just to breakdown the schedules and rosters of all Patriot League Teams!!!
March 7 @ Lehigh, March 14 with Bucknell, March 28 at Bucknell, April 4 @Lafayette, April 11 with Lehigh, April 18 with Lafayette.
American will dress 23 players which includes 3 seniors and 8 Juniors. The fabulous Noor Coenen is back for her senior season. Dani Acuna is the junior GK with a freshman Bryn Underwood who is the freshman who bring some competition to the position. They won the PL title last year beating Lafayette in their two games by one goal in each game. On paper, it looks tough to repeat and they have a tough schedule playing Bucknell and Lafayette twice.
March 7@ Holy Cross, March 21 @ Lafayette, March 27, Colgate, March 28 Colgate, April 11 Holy Cross, April 18 Lehigh
Always a contender in the league, Boston had a disappointing season, not even making the Patriot League tournament. If someone were drawing a schedule for Boston to make it back they could not have make it better. They have more games at home then any other team in the League with Lafayette their toughest game away. They will only carry 20 players but with 6 seniors and 4 juniors.
They did pick up a GK from New Zealand ( a regular supplier of BU talent) and there will be competition for sophomore Caroline Kennedy.
The team has been practicing all fall and it’s hard to believe Sally Starr won’t make progress this season.
Bucknell always fields a competitive team and no doubt Jeremy Cook will get his team ready. They will be playing American and Colgate twice, along with single games each with Lafayette and Lehigh. They open March 7 hosting Colgate, and travel March 14 and 21 at American and Lehigh repectively. American will come to play on March 28 then on April 4 will travel to Colgate for the rubber match and finish on April 11 hosting Lafayette.
Bucknell will dress a second highest amount players at 25 with 6 Seniors and 7 Juniors providing the experience. I see no reason why Bucknell can’t win at least 3 games and be in the hunt.
Colgate will play the least number of games at home and will play Boston, Holy Cross and Bucknell twice. They open @Bucknell on March 7, will host Holy Cross on the 21st, they then will travel to Boston for a March 27 and 28 7pm games. They finish hosting Bucknell on the 4th of April and travel to Holy Cross on the 18th. Of all the Patriot League teams, their schedule is hard to understand.
Dressing 9 senior and 5 juniors experience aplenty is their main asset for their 22 player roster. The first two games may tell the tale for the Raiders.
Holy Cross will be one of the Patriot League teams that will play two Patriot League teams twice. Boston University will arrive in Worchester on March the 7th for a 7 pm game, followed two weeks later at Colgate on March 21st, and will host Lafayette on the 28th at 11 am. The Crusaders will then travel to Lehigh on the 16th and Boston return match at 7pm on the 11th. They finish with a home game at Colgate on the 18th.
Holy Cross will dress a league leading 26 players with 7 seniors, 5 juniors, 6 sophomores, and 8 freshmen. They lost against American in the PL playoffs and would dearly like a second shot this year.
Lafayette lost to the American Eagles in the championship game by one goal, and they would like a second shot. The schedule may be the most competitive in the league but that just the way Head Coach Jennifer Stone would like it. They have the first week off which will give them time to watch Lehigh take on American on the 7th. So the first week will be March 14 at home against Lehigh at 1 pm, followed by a home match against Boston on March 21 as Boston looks for revenge their overtime loss to the Leopards last year. On March 28 there is the trip to Holy Cross followed by a home game with American at 2 pm. The Leopards hit the road on April 11 and 18 with Bucknell and American respectively. A successful run with this schedule could set up the Leopards well, for the post season.
Lafayette will field a balanced team with 22 players consisting of 5 seniors, and 6 juniors, five sophomores and 6 freshman. It will be difficult to replace Lisa Van der Geest but Simone Hefting could come up big. Seniors Grace Angelella, Anna Steps and Audrey Sawer should be a pain to opponents from the midfield. Eva Kaplan showed solid minutes last year and is destined to be an important contributor. Sophie Carr part of the leadership is ready to be an important force on the field!! Molly McAndrews is ready to explode on the attack. The GK position will have three competitors for Goalie coach Jenny Rizzo to bring along.
I like the Leopards but there are no games to be taken for granted with this schedule, and Lehigh could be tougher than most people think.
Lehigh has been improving every year and last year finished their season by beating Boston at home. They seem to have been working all fall as most Lehigh athletic teams did. Lehigh opens with American and they would dearly love to send a message to the league on March 7th. Then on March 14 they will travel to Lafayette for the “Rivalry.” It will be Lafayette’s first game and Lafayette coaches will have had some time to get a “book” on the mountain hawks. They will host Bucknell at home on the 21st and then Holy Cross on April 4th. Their rubber match with American will be in DC on the 11th, then finishing in Boston on the 18th.
They will feature a strong defense with a a senior GK, and there will be Lenke Havas at D/M, the question will be, where the goals will come from. 22 players will dress with 4 seniors, 4 Juniors, 9 sophs and 6 freshman. Will there be enough bench strength? That question will dominate their season??
It really could a year with a close race. Four wins gets you to the playoffs, there could be several teams at 3-3 with a difficult tie breaker in play. It’s hard to dismiss Lafayette and American to repeat, or Bucknell to be in the hunt. Lehigh may be a year away, and Boston needs improvement, but its hard to believe Sally Starr would not lead a team to the promised land with that schedule. Holy Cross is always filled with surprises, and Colgate with 9 seniors might be another surprise!!
Important Additions: Gov. Wolf Modifies Rules For Gatherings….Will Allow 20 PCT OF Capacity For Outdoor Stadiums!! Will PL Follow New Guidelines!!????