If there is a field hockey equivalent to the NFL, Major League Baseball, or professional soccer it is the National and Olympic teams. Unlike the aforementioned professional sports teams the field hockey national team players must compete with their entire nation for a spot. There is a professional league in field hockey which at the moment pays very little, so the players are really playing for the honor and glory of their country.
Recently, the Patriot League has been making its mark by having their athletes selected for their respective national teams. Some of the teams of the Patriot League have been playing more competitive schedules and its players are being noticed. American, Bucknell, Boston, and Lafayette in particular, have been filling their schedules with high ranking teams, intensifying the competition they regularly play with. Lafayette for example played Rutgers last year ( in some rankings were rated the number one team in the nation at the time) to a 1-2 loss in the last game of the season. Penn State appears in the Bucknell and Lafayette schedule this year. ODU and Maryand are regular opponents for American. Duke and Princeton have recently appeared on the Boston schedule. When the last three PL schedules are announced I will attempt to compare the RPIs of all 7 Patriot League out of conference team opponents.
Recently there were 3 Patriot League field hockey players named to the US Team, 2 to the under 21 team and development squads, and two were named to the Canadian National squad. Some have already appeared in the World Cup, and Pan Am games, and our Canadian athletes are now appearing in the Commonwealth Games.
Amanda Magadan, a 2017 Lafayette graduate from Randolph,N.J. and a third team all American, now sports 108 caps. She first started playing internationally her junior year while on the Junior National team. She is now the Captain of a very young US squad that will be shooting for the 2024 Paris Olympics. She has appeared in the Pan Am Cup and Pan Am Games scoring a goal against Peru. She was selected again this year and will lead our team going forward.
Alexandra Hammel was a standout defender at Boston University, class of ’19 earning first team all American honors. A Duxbury, Mass. native she has already earned 26 caps as a starting member of the US Team during the last FIH season. She is an intense competitor who worries less about glory than by playing her best!! She seems to love playing her best and no doubt will make an impact in coming years.
Natalie Konerth is a 2016 graduate of American University who seems to have the middle name “persistence”. She was named to the US Team for the first time after the Nexus tryouts this month. She was a 2 time first team PL selection during her college career. However, she has earned 5 caps playing on the under 21 squad and has appeared during the FIH season as a sub. Perhaps what best shows her intensity and intelligence is her 4.0 average while at American!
Meanwhile American goal keeper Bryn Underwood and Lehigh Graduate Maddie Kahn will or have made their marks on the US under 21 team.
Looking beyond US shores, two ex Patriot Leaguers, Audrey Sawers from Lafayette, and Marcia LaPlante from Holy Cross are members of the Canadian National Team. Both were on their team during the World Cup recently!
Audrey was named the PL offensive player of the year having graduated after her fall covid year. She was a key player and earned second team all American in the process. She led the Patriot League in shots, shots on goal, assists and points!! As one of the youngest members of a very experienced Canadian team she will no doubt be a asset in future years. She played against former teammate Amanda Magadan in the Pan Games in Chile.
Marica LaPlante was a standout goalie for the Holy Cross Crusaders. Most noticeable was her 78.6 pct save percentage ranked sixth nationally in college. She has 4 caps and 2020 graduate of Holy Cross. Interestingly, she came to Holy Cross Field Hockey via the ice hockey team. She was asked if she’d like to be the Field Hockey GK and the rest is history!!
The story of the these athletes speak well for the PL and the level of play!!