Veteran Lafayette teammates , senior Molly McAndrew, and junior Sydney Woolston will travel with asst Coach Jenny Rizzo to Virginia Beach on June 15-20 to play in the USA Field Hockey National Championships. The 10 team tournament is a selection opportunity for the U 21-22 US team, and the US Development team. The 10 teams will be sprinkled with current US team members, increasing the competitive talent for each team. Lafayette alumnus and captain of the US Team Amanda Magadan will be playing on Team Spirit, coached by US teammate Melisa Gonzalez.
Molly McAndrew was assigned to Team Unity coached by Iain Byers head coach at Longwood University, Sydney Woolston will be with Team Brave coached by Ohio State asst coach Kate Lipton, and Jenny Rizzo will be with Team Courage coached by Roz Ellis, University of Iowa asst coach. They will be playing an international format with crossover games at the end to determine a champion.
Aside from the current US Team members, the teams are populated by the best collegiate and post collegiate players in country, competing for a coveted spot on one of the US teams. Because of Covid, the tourney was not played last year.
McAndrew was rookie of the year her freshman year, and subsequently been an all league selection. The respect she gets is demonstrated by her being double and triple teamed on most every occasion. Woolston showed her talent from her initial season at Lafayette on defense, by having defensive saves and is a key member of a very solid defense at Lafayette. Jenny Rizzo played for Penn State and also played professionally in Europe.
Phil Edwards who is USA Field Hockey’s manager of Coaching and Performance congratulated all the participants on being selected to play in this prestigious tournament.
The Lafayette Field Hockey Team has barely finished their spring/fall season and thoughts have changed to a preseason that is less than 60 days away. Covid is still leaving its mark on NCAA sports as the NCAA ruled that all NCAA athletes who were on the roster in the 2020-21 academic year will receive an extra year of eligibility. That means that some seniors may be wearing new jerseys in the fall has they proceed to graduate school or they may be playing an extra season as a graduate student or adding a second major at their present school.
For Lafayette that means Audrey Sawers has elected to go for her fifth year. Audrey was the team’s MVP, first team all league and regional all American. Audrey was just getting into stride as the spring season progressed and in my opinion showed extra ordinary growth in confidence and strength. Sawers played on the under 21 Canadian national team last summer and was clearly a leader at her center mid position.
In addition, Simone Hefting ’23 also a regional all American returns for her Junior year. Her clear athletic ability and big hit will be a huge asset in the backfield which has traditional been a key position for the Leopards over the years.
There are a number of good players who got lots of playing time in a schedule that may have been the toughest in the League. They played American twice, Lehigh, Boston, Bucknell, and Holy Cross.
Coach Stone and the team will still have challenges to meet. On the first day of practice she will have 10 players who have not played one second of division one field hockey. Four are last. years freshman who were unable to play because of Covid rules and the entering class ( two from the Netherlands, one from Canada, one from New Zealand and California and Connecticut. Meshing that all together with the returning players, who played a tough spring schedule will be the task of a very talented coaching staff. Outside of Bucknell, Lafayette was the only league team to complete their assigned schedule.
Meanwhile, the other league teams will keep several seniors for their extra year. American’s Noor Coenan, and Gabby DeKock will be back to challenge league opponents. Lenke Havas returns to Lehigh to raise their hopes as they become more formidable with each season. Of course Bucknell, this year’s champion and winner of one game in the NCAA’s will return a seasoned group of players with confidence.