To Say The Least It’s Been An Unusual Year
It’s been a year, first of all with two championship seasons. 2020 was cancelled due to covid, and a season was put together haphazardly in the spring. It was short, random and unfair. All teams did not play each other, although Lafayette was to play a full six games unlike some others in the Patriot League. There was an ill advised policy at Lafayette that sent some 4 players home for the spring which basically left the Leopards with one substitute. However, we can now call this the time of development. It resulted in the development of depth for the fall and the discovery of talent that might not have risen to visibility!!
The fall season reaped the rewards of that spring opportunity. It was a winning season with some close losses to very good teams. It ended in a championship tournament that was the closest in years. There was a thrilling series of one goal games that demonstrated the competitiveness of the Patriot League. The Covid year allowed Audrey Sawers to compete for an all American season. She eventually was asked to be on the Canadian national squad and she has already earned several caps this past month.
An additional unusual factor going forward is the use of the transfer portal. It did not effect PL field hockey, but we did see some very good players move, not only for their fifth year, but laterally as well in other conferences. The Ivy League in particular was ineffective in retaining talent for an additional season and they did not play in the spring.
Lafayette to my knowledge has signed at least five new recruits with more to come this spring, This should renew and invigorate the already deep roster. It will be enhanced with one fifth year holdover adding to an already solid veteran team. To me, this makes Lafayette one of the favorites to end up in the championship tournament in November. I look forward to a productive spring.
Moreover, the conference looks stronger which should help in the final seeding in the NCAA tournament. Lafayette played a stronger out of conference schedule, and all indications are that next fall will see a repeat of that schedule’s strength.
Hopes For The 2022 Season
I am hoping all Patriot League teams would strengthen their schedule, especially Lehigh. Lehigh has indeed improved, and their athletes and the League deserve to have their players tested and ranked better, rather than by playing the bottom half of the Division one pool.
Almost every Patriot League game will be played like a post season tournament game. Lehigh has now won two games in row against us and the next game will be at Lafayette. That streak must end. Hopefully Lafayette will be playing with a full squad, unlike the last two times when injuries and an unwise covid policy shortened the Lafayette bench. I really am getting tired those posts in their social media, touting their wins in the last two seasons.
I would hope late season injuries leave us alone next year. They were indeed a factor. I would hope that Lafayette’s one goal losses can be turned into wins which could give us a least a top 20 ranking!!
The spring season will give answers in the filling of holes such as in goal and replacing Audrey Sawers.
I would hope that the influence of Covid is behind us. Clearly, the college seems to have things under control and the latest iteration seems less threatening to those vaccinated. Hopefully, the League as whole will show some common sense.
Finally, I would hope that instant reply will be acquired, as the funding for that is already secured at Lafayette. It is time to move and its establishment should improve disputes on controversial calls. The time is now!!!!
I am excited for the spring season which is only 8-10 weeks away. After that, things should be clearer. The team clearly will be one of our best ever. American, Lehigh and Boston will be at Rappolt Field and success in those games will no doubt be a factor in the final seeding and determination of who will host. I am tired of trekking to DC…. hopefully not next year!! You know who I am rooting for. The League rarely chooses to favor Lafayette in the preseason, but that’s ok. I am confident where we will be in the end.
POST SCRIPT: To the patriot league….please include the article written by go leopards regarding Audrey being a second team all American on Dec 14. I noticed the two other articles about the other two but not for Audrey.