As much as any fan observing their team, I really want them to “win” every contest. But springtime is about more than winning. It is in fact a time of reconstruction! We have lost a talented senior class and we have yet to see our new additions. So while observing any of the these spring “games” we must be cautious and look at them in a different way. For many team members they are in new positions, and are still trying to know their place as well as their teammates place on the field.
Passing at the high school level, for example is delivering the ball to where their teammate is, while at this level, division one, it is delivering the ball to where your teammate will be. It all about creating and finding space!
There is no doubt this edition of Leopard Field Hockey is individually talented, the question during this spring is how they are beginning to mesh together as a team!
Today, they were to be playing in Delaware, but unfortunately Delaware and Columbia were to come up with an insufficient number to field a viable squad. Temple stepped up and invited St. Joseph’s, Yale and Lafayette to play several 1/2 game simulated scrimmages. Each squad is trying to accomplish the same things, evaluate players, try different offensive and defensive sets, and give their team a chance to test their skills against another team. In this case, three other teams.
Not surprisingly, St. Joseph’s with their larger bench probably was the biggest challenge of the day. Temple, Lafayette and Yale were more or less equal at this stage of the spring.
I am still impressed with the underlying skill of our Leopards, but clearly there is more work to be done. The corner defense looked improved from last week and the midfield showed more cohesiveness as the games progressed.
Like many teams, there were several missing pieces. Two players were playing for the under 21 Canadian national squad and several minor injuries are keeping some off the pitch.
I am enjoying the determination and spark of Ellie Barton. She seems to leave it all on the field. Aimee Hoefnagel and Josephine van Wijk are showing more leadership every minute they play. Alex Farrah shows some confidence. I could hear Raffi Fragomeni directing her teammates from the cage. I could name every individual on the team who are playing more like the elite athletes they are.
Tuesday night they will meet last year’s Patriot League champion, the Brown and White of Lehigh. That, my readers, might be a good time to put it all together. GO PARDS