Opening day wins are usually earned after brutal hard fought contests with each team trying to set the tone for the rest of the season. The statistics for game might persuade one to believe that this was an easy dominate win for the Leopards. That was far from the truth. Lafayette earned this one with skill and hockey smarts.
The Leopards outshot the Pride 12-2, with 10 of those shots on goal. Corners were even 2-2. The Hofstra GK, Merilijn van der Vegt was forced to make 7 saves, while Hailey Abbott from Lafayette preserved the shut out with a spectacular save in the third quarter. Lafayette did dominate time of possession for most of the first quarter, and delivered 4 shots “goalward”.
But Hofstra was to come up with the first corner with only 1:47 having run off the clock. The corner defense turned the volume, up blocking the shot, and Lafayette was to travel into the visitor’s circle several times in the quarter getting off 4 shots in the process. One of those shots turned into a goal came at 13:02 into the quarter, from Felicitas Hannes after a feed from Simone Hefting…..the scoreboard lit up, showing the Leopards with a 1-0 lead.
The second quarter was to frustrate Lafayette, as they used their considerable stick skills, managing to get 6 additional shots several hitting the post in the process. The half ended with the 1-0 advantage showing on the scoreboard.Hofstra came out determined to even the score in the third quarter but shots were still in favor of the Leopards by only 2-1. But one of those shots was to find the back of cage off the stick of captain Audrey Sawers. Sawers muscled her way into the center of the circle and delivered the strike unassisted.
The visitors tried valiantly to close the gap but the Lafayette defense stopped them multiple times. Neither team was to get off a shot but the action was still back and forth. Lafayette’s passing and stick work was a fan pleaser all game long. The depth and strength from the bench was reassuring.
It was Lafayette’s first athletic win of the season and Athletic Director Sherryta Freeman was in attendance, along with brand new President Nichole Hurd with her husband Bill. The Leopards will get one day’s rest before taking on the Wildcats of Villanova at Rappolt Field at 3 pm on Sunday. Villanova defeated Lehigh tonight 4-3. They came back from a 2-0 deficit in first quarter, to score two in the second. A 2-1 fourth quarter was to give Villanova the win. Lehigh outshot Villanova 13-12, and out cornered them 13-7. The score was tied with 5 minutes left in the game when Villanova’s Emma Schwarz was to deliver the game winner, her second goal of the game.
Around the Patriot League, American was to defeat VCU 2-1 in overtime, Boston won their opener 2-1 over Monmouth, and Holy Cross bested Merrimack 3-1. Colgate was to drop their opener 5-1 against Albany and Bucknell was to lose 0-3 against JMU.