The North Carolina v Michigan game was worthy of the championship imprimatur. It was a game that not only was played with skill but with heart. Michigan, who beat Bucknell 2-0 and Louisville to get there, showed they were ready. It was a game that demonstrated two different regional styles of play. On the Michigan Big Ten side, it was physical intense play, but on the UNC side there was more finesse, behind the best player in the country, Erin Matson. It was Matson in the end, who performed on an overtime penalty corner….no fake…no dodge, just sheer power past a very fine Michigan goalie. However, it was still a gutsy performance by Michigan, ultimately hampered by several cards which limited their offensive chances. Great Field Hockey for us fans!!
Meanwhile the Patriot League Makes a Statement
Congratulations to Bucknell, who put away a game and undefeated Virginia Tech team, on the way to playing the number 2 team in the nation. For the life of me I can not off the top of my head name a dominant star on the Bison team ( like I can name Erin Matson on UNC team). They played a steady, disciplined game, stressing a team approach. In the end Michigan was just too good. But Bucknell represented the Patriot League well, and as their season progressed, they just got better and better in the end winning six straight!!.
What will the Patriot League look like next year? The League will be better as teams have already revealed that many senior stars will return for a fifth season. American will return Gaby de Kock and Noor Coenen, and Lehigh will return Lenke Havas. I would be pleased if Lafayette could return one senior who really was a dominant player on the team…we will see!
In the meantime the Leopards have recruited one of the best classes ever. They dipped into the foreign player pool to pick up two players from the Netherlands, one from Canada and one from New Zealand. In addition, they have added a player from California and one from Connecticut. There are four good players who didn’t see action this spring due to Covid regulatory issues and will battle for playing time.
Coach Stone in her http://www.goleopards.com interview stressed how hard her team of coaches worked in building this class. The skill will be there, but the team and the coaching staff will have to work hard, molding this eclectic group into a team this summer. Lafayette played every game to a one goal margin and just one other win would have put them into the PL tournament with a team that played Lafayette into overtime.
Lastly, I have urged the League and Lafayette to install video review. There DOESN’T seem to be a monetary reason to delay this any longer. Stay tuned!!
How Did The Various D1 Conferences Perform With Covid
First, the worst performance goes to the Ivy League who played no sports. Not only did they screw their students and athletes, but ruled they could play a fifth year IF THEY APPLIED FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL AT THE SAME SCHOOL!. Only the ruling came after applications closed for Ivy grad schools. It was reported that many IVY baseball players went to Florida and formed their own league while attending school virtually. There are some graduating seniors who will play at other schools this fall. Grade for a miserable performance is F minus.
The ACC had a fall season and a spring, It was controlled and fair. Grade A
The Patriot League did not have a fall season but managed to put together a spring season with abbreviated schedules. The Field Hockey schedules for this 7 team league was undecipherable with Lafayette not meeting Colgate and playing American twice. Boston University was to play Colgate and Holy Cross twice (they failed to play the second game with Colgate) and did not meet American all season. Boston gets a huge question mark by forcing players to play with masks ( dutifully done by placing them on their chin). There were no cases of “chin” Covid all season!!!Bucknell was the only team in the Patriot League playoffs that played a complete schedule! Lafayette, on the other hand was the first league member to allow spectators….well done!! Overall grade for the League… a solid C.
Other leagues allowed out of conference games in almost all cases, so C plus to a solid B for the rest!!