US Women Field Hockey Plays Last FIH Game With Belgium

The biggest number to me during the last two games was the average number of caps….US 35 vs 110 for India.

After winning a hard fought game against China on Sunday, hopes were high about FIH games Tuesday and Wednesday against India. It was the India match last year that knocked out the US Team from contention for the World Cup. The high scoring two day affair, last fall, saw the US fail to qualify by one goal. Ironically, Janneke Schopmann the then US Coach is now the Indian coach.

This week’s contests saw a reconstituted US Squad depleted by retirements and in a rebuilding mode. The Indian squad will move on to the World Cup and the US will return home after a weekend match with Belgium to continue reworking and improving the squad.

Experience is a key factor in international hockey and as of last week Captain Amanda Magadan was the only player with over 100 caps. That is to say this team is not without spirit and talent. But after 3 years of pandemic and an NCAA structure that inhibited new, talented players to make a commitment to the National team, the opportunities for young women are finally becoming available.

The NCAA made it possible for college players to extend their careers an extra year and delayed a normal transition the national team. Many players decided decided to retire as well, adding to the task of rebuilding. USA Field Hockey has realized the need for retention and recently moved to increase incentives to stay.

Patriot League now has three players on the team…Amanda. Ally Hammel from BU, and Natalie Konerth from American.

Soon the cycle will begin again, after the World Cup games, competition begins for the Paris Olympics. For Lafayette fans Audrey Sawers is a member of the Canadian National Team who will play in the World Cup next week.

Meanwhile at Lafayette, camp and clinics will be in full swing in July getting ready for August preseason. The first preseason game is August 17 against Monmouth!!

100 Years And Counting

On Saturday June the 18th the field hockey world descended on the Union League of Philadelphia to celebrate 100 years of activity. It may have been 4000 years ago that the Egyptians played the game as documented on hieroglyphs. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that Constance Mary Katherine Applebee introduced the game to the United States. She was the co-founder of the American Field Hockey Association, founder of Sportswoman magazine and was the athletic director at Bryn Mawr for 24 years.

She lived to be 107 years old. In the summer of 1901 she took a tour of women’s colleges introducing the sport. In 1922 she established an annual 3 week camp for intensive field hockey instruction at Mt. Pocono,Pa.

She introduced the sport at a time when women were considered too fragile to play an intensive sport. She served many roles for US Field Hockey and was active for many years. Remarkably, there are still “Golden Girls,” who still remember “the Apple”, and many were in attendance Saturday.

Especially poignant was a gift in honor of Shelly Shellenberer by the estate of Grace Reynolds which I had the honor of being her executor. She left a legacy by, donating her entire estate of 2.5 million dollars to the US women’s national team.

The room was filled with US Field Hockey elite and all were attentive during which Steve Jennings ( Head Coach of American University) and “Char” Morrett- Curtis ( Head Coach of Penn State) spoke about the game.

Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey Executive Director presented annual awards to Stanford Field Team and Alumni and Friends for “Grow the Game”, as their efforts prevented the demise of the sport at Stanford.

The national coach award went to High School coach Jill Cosse who has over 500 wins in her career.

The National Umpire award went to Mallory Federoff

The Club of the year went to Gateway Field Hockey Club and Kate Yates

The humanitarian award went to Jeanne O’Brian who helped establish programs for those with phsyical challenges.

In addition, the Hall of Fame added five names to its roles, Barbara Longstreth, Aaron Sher, Larry Amar ( accepted by Abbey his wife), Rachel Dawson and Lauren Crandall Liska.

Pam Stuper, the Executive Director of the US Field Hockey Foundation not only organized the evening along with Amy Crandall, but MC’d the event.

The event was live streamed and demonstrated the strength of the organizations supporting Field Hockey, but charging everyone to help grow the game!!!

The US Team responded on Sunday with a 2-1 win against China, but more about that later!!

2022 Class Announced For Lafayette

Yesterday I covered the beginning of the announcement of the incoming class for Lafayette Field Hockey with Josephine van Wijk. This morning the rest of this group of 8 outstanding athletes have been revealed.

Mackensie Switzer

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Mackensie will add her 5’9″ frame to the roster. She has great defensive skills that were noted in the state championship tournament. She was mentioned in the Max Field Hockey watch list which list the top players in the country. She is celebrated as a first team all state player and just for emphasis, is a black belt in Karate and plays the guitar!!

Catalina Robel

Catalina comes to Lafayette by way of Atlanta,Ga but her roots are in Buenos Aries, Argentina. She attended the Washington School and played for the Atlanta FHC. She is advertised as a striker/midfielder and has exhibited strong stick and scoring skills. The 5’6″ athlete played for Gimnasia y Eqima de Buenos Aries where she no doubt picked up her strong reverse stick shot.

Aimee Hoefnagel

Amiee hails from Rotterdam and comes as a midfielder, but has demonstrated her versatility as a five sport athlete, Field Hockey, Tennis, Gymnastics, Alpine Skiing and Sailing. She was selected to train with the Dutch National U 18 team.

Peyton Guinter

Peyton attended Archbishop Spalding and played her club hockey at Freedom. At 5’7 she was a !st team all conference nominee, while cited as the 4th highest scorer in the state. Her coaches describe her as a driven team player, and will add to the strength of the Leopards this fall!!

Raphaela Fragomeni

Raffi will travel all the way from Mountain Lakes. N.J. to attend Lafayette this fall to be Goal Keeper in this first year class. She holds the county record for career saves at 393. This past fall she had a game in which she had 32 saves against Randolph, only to lose 1-0. She was an all state Group one selection and named a Max 100 selection.

We look forward to welcoming her this fall as she starts a career that will no doubt add to Leopard successes.

Hannah Findlay

Hannah Findlay will have the longest trip of this class. Hannah will come all the way from New Zealand and bring with her a host of on the field skills. She was selected for the New Zealand U 18 development squad as well as the best all around female athlete in senior High School.

Her stick skills were evident in her club play. I think she will find her place early this August as the Leopards prepare for the season!!!

Ellie Barton

Coming to Easton from Concord Massachusetts, Ellie shows a profile that is similar to her classmates. She is a multisport athlete also playing ice hockey and lacrosse. She loves the Bruins, and her Middlesex and club coaches describe as coachable and intense.

Viewing her videos certainly shows her intensity, intercepting passes, and taking shots. She is also disciplined, as she finds a way to get open or to pass to her teammates. No doubt she will enjoy the Leopards New England swing to Yale and Holy Cross as well as home games with Quinnipiac and Boston U.

Along with yesterday’s article on Josephine van Wijk, that is Lafayette’s class of 2026. They will all be traveling beginning in August…… a short 60 days away. The team has no doubt received a training schedule and along with the intense preparation in August, will be ready for the first pre season game at Lafayette against Monmouth at 1 pm on August 17. Start running everyone!!!!

Lafayette and Coach Stone Begins To Reveal New Recruits

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The first player announced is Josephine van Wijk from The Hague Netherlands. Her team won the Dutch National Championship recently. She is described by observers as quick, with very good passings skills. She also has a deadly, powerful drag flick which has developed over the years. A quick look at her videos confirms all that.

She is touted as a midfielder/ attacker which always fits into Lafayette’s needs, as they challenge for a Patriot League Championship. Her speed is an obvious asset which will drive opponents crazy along with teammate Leneke Spanns.

She plays the drums and this writer hopes beats the back of the cage with the same skill. Welcome Josephine!!