Lafayette And Lehigh Field Hockey Prepare To Open Season

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Molly McAndrews shows her defensive skills at Lehigh last year

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.

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Anna Steps will lead the midfield again this year

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.

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Hanna Lewis turns the corner

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!!!

Published by

William Rappolt

I am past chairman of the Lafayette Friends of Field Hockey and a former BOT member at Lafayette College. My wife and I are members of the Board of Trustees for USA Field Hockey Foundation. I am the retired treasurer of M and T Bank Corporation and a 25 year fan of Division one field hockey

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