Congratulations To Lehigh….Patriot League Champions

It’s been 28 years since Lehigh last won a Patriot League Championship in Field Hockey, but they finally are able to claim the title after a worthy effort. The semi-final and final games both went to overtime and the Mountain Hawks dug deep in both games to get the win.

In the semi- final game it went all the way to a 9 person shoot out before beating American. It should be noted that due to a confusion by the official Sara Bothius’s first shot was disallowed. Other teams in other years would have been down after that, but their resolve seemed to redouble. Goalkeeper Maddie Kahn played magnificently and turned away shot after shot until the Mountain Hawks connected for the win in the ninth round!!

They continued their determination in the championship game coming from behind to tie the score in the fourth quarter with a Maddie Kandra redirection from Sara Bothius. It was in overtime, that sophomore Netherlands native, Hogandoorn on a penalty corner received an assist from Sydney White for the win at 67:14.

Special mention should to go coach Caitlin Dallmeyer who culminated this 7 year quest for the trophy. She used recruited players from far and wide and set goals that eventually led to the title. They were emotionally ready to play when needed.

The stats were not necessarily in their favor today. Boston out shot Lehigh 22-16, shots on goal were 14 to 11, and corners were 8-12. Maddie Kahn heroically came forward with 13 saves. Lehigh did it when they needed to.

For next years opponents…will Kahn and Bothius return?? A little bird says yes!

Lafayette had beaten Boston 2-0 and lost to Lehigh 2-3 during the regular season. This is all the more evidence that the League has become much more competitive and balanced!!!

Leopards Finish The Season With 1-0 Win Against Holy Cross

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Lafayette defeated the Crusaders on their new turf Saturday morning with Josephine van Wijk providing the margin of victory in an early third period goal. She was also the leading shot taker with 7 shots. It was a team effort as the defense played a key role by holding Holy Cross to no shots on goal. The Leopards had a total of 17 shots to the Crusaders 3. They had 6 on goal to the home team’s nil on goal production. The Crusader goal keeper was forced to make 5 saves. The Leopards also earned 9 corners to their opponents 2.

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It was a large team effort, demonstrated by the 20 Lafayette players who earned minutes compared to 15 on who saw action on the other side. The other shot takers were Felicitas Hannes with 3, Lineke Spanns with 2 and Simone Hefting with 1. The defense played magnificently led by senior captain Hefting who set up a wall all game long. Underclassman provided much of the offensive spark while seniors were active in the backline.

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The Leopards ended the season tied with Bucknell at 3-3 in the league and leading Holy Cross and Colgate in the final standings. Bucknell will appear in the playoff by virtue of their one goal win over Lafayette. The Lafayette season was highlighted by it’s win over league leading Boston University, and it’s win over 7th ranked Princeton in overtime. They also took the third ranked Penn State Lions to double overtime as well. They had 11 one goal losses during the fall campaign.

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This class of seniors will be missed for their skill and leadership, but the Leopard’s will reload with added incentive and no doubt will be a challenging group in 2023.

Lafayette Puts It All Together In 5-1 Win Against Colgate

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Paraphrasing words of the color analyst during last week’s telecast of the Yale game, ” this may be the best 6-11 team in the country”. After a slow start, the Leopards offense prodded the Raider defense with Lineke Spaans displaying why she may be the premier offensive talent in the Patriot League, as she sped through the Crusader defense. After taking the ball at the Colgate 35 she scored the opening goal at 8:48 in the first quarter.

After that it was all downhill as Molly McAndrew was to light the scoreboard for two more in the third and fourth quarters while freshman Hannah Findlay and Senior Tara Hamilton added to the Leopards goals in the second and fourth quarters.

It was not just the goal scorers who were on display, but the teamwork that let up to them. Every goal with the exception of the Spaans effort in the first quarter was assisted. Assists came from McAndrews, Felicitas Hannes, Catalina Rubel, and Spaans.

The defense shined as well as Simone Hefting provided the wall and the springboard for the offense, using her passing skills to ignite the attack. Coach Stone saw her game plan executed perfectly. She also had to be pleased with the play of Tara Hamilton, MacKenzie Switzer, and India Ralph who all made their contributions all over the field.

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In past years the long trip to Colgate and a senior day designation would have have given the Leopards fits, but not today. Leopard faithful were well represented and may have almost equaled the Crusader crowd even as a football game was played next door!

As pleased as they should be with the effort, there is one more game at Holy Cross next Saturday.

Leopards Sink On Tenth One Goal Loss Of The Season

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It must be some kind of record to lose 10 games by one goal. Sadly, that’s what happened to the Leopards up in New Haven against the Bulldogs of Yale. The early periods look promising for the Leopards as they were able to accumulate playing time in their part of the field. They had 10 shots but the Bulldogs started to build towards the end of the first period. Using a scrum after a corner they managed to poke one in at 25:28 in the second period.

From then on Yale pretty much shut down the Lafayette offense as they only managed to get off 3 shots to Yale’s 11 in the second half. The Leopards were also hampered by one green and two yellow cards meaning they played 12 minutes of the game short handed.

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McAndrews managed to get off two shots on goal, while Simone Hefting and Josephine Van Wijk did get 3 shots each. Yale and Lafayette had 7 corners each.

Yale’s defense played well in the second half, shutting down the Leopard offense and especially surrounding Lineke Spanns at every opportunity.

The Leopards will travel to Hamilton, New York next Saturday for a game with Patriot League foe Colgate.

Lafayette Shuts Down Boston University 2-0

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Leneke Spanns speeds through the Terrier defense

Lafayette enhanced its reputation as a “Giant Killer,” by knocking off the only remaining undefeated team in Patriot League play 2-0. This season is remarkable for the Leopards rising to the occasion against high ranking teams. Early this month they beat then ranked number 7 Princeton in overtime. Last Sunday number 4 ranked Penn State nearly fell in double overtime to an inspired Leopard squad.

This time it was Boston University who arrived at the Leopard’s Lair 4-0 in league play and left 4-1 after 60 minutes of play. No one can deny it’s been a trying season with 9 one goal losses. This afternoon they proved how dangerous they could be!!

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India Ralph turns it on in front of the Terrier bench

Boston had 9 shots during the afternoon with only 2 on goal. The Leopards showed their prowess by responding with 12 shots, 8 on goal. The Terrier goal keeper was forced to make 6 saves while the shutout destined Lafayette goalkeeper, Raffi Fragomeni made 2. Boston did manage 4 penalty corners (2 in the final period) which were turned away by the defensive penalty corner group.

The crowd of 221 fans were treated to an excellent game from both sides. The skills were on display. and the officials were on top of the game. In the first period there were 4 shots from each side. The quarter closed in a 0-0 tie. The first shot of the game was at 1:33 with senior Felicitas Hannes delivering the blow that went wide. One minute later Terrier Amalia Preece was to get off a shot for the red side, and was blocked by the Leopards.

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Simone Hefting lines up a pass

The intensity on each side was evident with the Lafayette defense led by Simone Hefting showing they came to play. Josephine van Wyck was to also get off a shot during a first period corner, as her presence was obvious all game long.

Two minutes later Lineke Spanns, who demonstrated her skill, speed and heart all game long challenging the BU defense, resulted in her first of three shots in the game. However, it was during a corner at 17:08 when the Leopards drew first blood with Molly McAndews finding the back of the cage during a scramble in front. She was assisted by Spanns and Felicitas Hannes. ( see the picture at the top of this article). Molly was to have a team leading 4 shots during the game.

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Josephine van Wyck defends

The rest of the period saw back and forth action with Lafayette getting off 2 more shots while blanking the Terriers for the remainder of the period.

Despite renewed energy by Boston, they got only one shot during the third quarter, while Lafayette got 4 more. One of those shots was to come from Lineke Spanns at 40:32 on a reverse stick to the right corner after dodging and speeding past several Terrier defenders.

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Six of our seven seniors are all smiles after a big win!!

That was to be the last score of the afternoon. In total Molly McAndrew had 4 shots, Leneke Spanns had 3, Felicitas Hannes had 2, Josephine van Wyck had 1, Simone Hefting had 1 and MacKenzie Hall had 1 on goal.

All in all it was a team effort which ended on stout defense of a corner by Boston and Simone Hefting being awarded a green card with 19 seconds left, I believe for putting the ball in play with delay.

Lafayette will be traveling to New Haven to meet Yale tomorrow at 2 pm.

Lafayette Takes Penn State To Double Overtime

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Sydney Woolston goes after ball against Penn State

With about 7 minutes left in the second overtime it looked like the Leopards may have taken down a top ten team for the second time this season. Lineke Spanns took the ball down the left sideline, and it was reminiscent of her play during the Princeton game. This time it was Molly McAndrew who was on the right side of the goal behind the Penn State defender. The pass to McAndrew went inside the circle and it appeared she had scored for the second time in the afternoon to give the Leopards the win. But a foot fault halted the celebration.

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It was not to be, as the Lions were awarded the ball and quickly moved to the Lafayette end of the field. Penn State was to get off a weak shot which dribbled in, ending in another one goal loss for the gritty Leopards.

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Yes, Penn State did have more corners and shots but they were repeatedly turned back by Simone Hefting and her cohorts on the back line along with goal keeper Emma Garvey who had an outstanding game.

It was Mc Andrew who had tied the score earlier with a beautiful flick into the upper regions of the goal, beyond the goalkeeper’s reach. After that it was heroic defensive stand after one after the other that ultimately led to overtime.

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Within the Patriot League American’s loss to Holy Cross today may be opening a path for the Leopards. The Mountain Hawks will take on the Eagles on Friday, as American has now lost 2 games. It might be the few times I will be rooting for Lehigh.

The Leopards on Saturday will be playing a surging Boston University team at home. An effort like today against Boston might bring some smiles to this fan!!

Drexel Stymies The Leopards For The Eighth One Goal Loss For The Season

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Lafayette has played eleven games decided by one goal…eight of them were losses which Drexel was the latest. It was a 2-1 loss in which the Leopards tried to rally back in the forth quarter. With the score 2-0 and less than 5 minutes left in the game, Josephine van Wijk took an assist from India Ralph and Catalina Rubel. Coach Stone had just pulled her goal keeper that reaped a penalty corner with which van Wijk delivered a goal, on a direct shot to right side of the cage.

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India Ralph finds some space

This was a typical Coach Denise Zelenak game with Drexel, using a swarming defense, setting up a fast break with open attackers sprinting and getting off one on one shots on goal. Drexel executed their tactics perfectly at 16:14 in the second quarter and 31:39 in the third quarter.

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Mackenzie Hall chases down a Drexel mid

However, Lafayette was to manage a rally in the fourth quarter getting all four of their corners of the game, and managing seven of their 8 shots in the final quarter.

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Lafayette goal keeper, Emma Garvey was to have 4 saves against Drexels 6 shots on goal. Coach Stone played 11 from her bench, getting 22 in the game.

There are number of Patriot games tomorrow including Lehigh vs Bucknell. The Leopards will be taking on number 5 Penn State in Happy Valley on Sunday.

Leopards Find Their Offense In 4-3 Win Against Richmond On Senior Day

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Seniors Felicitas Hannes, Sydney Woolston, and Simone Hefting played key roles in a 4-3 Senior Day win against the Spiders of Richmond University. In a back and forth game during a threatening cold, cloudy day, Sydney Woolston opened a lead with a goal at 5:42 in the first quarter. It was Sydney’s third goal in as many games on 4 shots taken. With seconds left in the same period Richmond took a rebound with midfielder Regan McCrossan knotting he score at 1-1.

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Leopard senior Felicitas Hannes duplicated the feat with a rebound from of her own putting Leopards up 2-1 at 19:01 in the second quarter. However, again with six seconds left in the half Richmond was to tie score at 2-2 with a reverse from the left side.

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Junior Emma Garvey took over goal tending duties in the second half. Hannes was to again be in the action by passing to first year player Catalina Rubel putting the Leopards ahead again, 13 minutes into the third quarter. The lead to was last eight minutes as Lindsey Frank found the back of the goal tying the game once more in the forth quarter.

The game winning heroics were reserved for senior Simone Hefting assisted by Hannah Findlay and Lineke Spaans who scored 6 1/2 minutes to go in the game. In addition, Captain Hefting was to have a defensive save doing the game. The Leopards accumulated 12 shots, resulting in 4 goals, 3 assists and 3 corners during the match.

It was a day of mixed emotions as we realized these seniors were playing their last games as a Leopards. However, they showed their mettle and character by not getting down and playing hard to the end. It also demonstrated the strong bench of the Leopards as 8 bench players saw significant action.

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After the game, the team, parents and friends were treated with a post game party where memories and gifts were exchanged to make the day more memorable.

Lafayette has games to play with three PL opponents as well as sixth ranked Penn State and Drexel next week end. Yale at Yale is also scheduled as the regular season closes.

Leopards Lose A Close One

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One team gets 20 shots, 12 on goal, 9 corners and forces the opposing goalie into 10 saves. The opposing team gets 6 shots, 5 on goal. One team had the better bench, evidence by 5 bench players making contributions, while the other team only substituted 2 players all game. One team had their leading scorer stymied the other team had 8 players taking shots. However, it was Lehigh who had the 6 shots etc. It was Lehigh who won 3-2. Abbe Brown, Lehigh’s second leading scorer had the hat trick.

The last five minutes saw the Leopard’s pull their goalkeeper in a vain attempt to tie the score but they were stymied by fouls and impatience! The Mountain Hawks used a high work rate and fast starts on fouls to keep the ball in play. The Leopards did what they needed to do only to be frustrated by shots hitting the post and other missed opportunities to score.

It was a frustrating game for this fan to watch as the game ended in another 1 goal short loss again this year and especially to the Mountain Hawks.

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Leopard freshman Josephine Van Wijk had a very good game tying the score on a corner early in the second quarter, assisted by Hannah Findley and Lineke Spanns. Abbe Brown from Lehigh put the Hawks ahead early in the first half but Sydney Woolston got the second goal of her career in the fourth quarter.The game winner was made by Abbe Brown with her hat trick about 5 minutes left in the game and seconds left on a Leopards yellow card. At that point the leopards pulled their goalkeeper.

Five Fourth Year Seniors Are Providing Leadership And Character For The Leopards

There are actually 7 seniors on the squad this year counting the two seniors to took a covid year. Both Molly McAndrews and Becca Harbert have been a part of this campaign and have contributed to the character of team. I did write about them last year and my words stand as written.

This Sunday we will be honoring the five, fourth year seniors who. have meant so much to Lafayette and the Field Hockey program. All five have been champions in the classroom making the all Patriot academic squad as well as the NFHCA national academic squad. Senior members of any team provide the anchor and set the character and personality of the team, and these five have certainly done that. So in order of their game jerseys…..

Number 3 Shea Balderson

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Shea is an economics major and an academic award winner 3 year running. She hails from Moorestown, N.J. bringing a sack full of championships and honors to Lafayette College including a Group 3 state championship. She has made an impact on the college turf in 3 plus years. So far she has had 4 shots 3 on goal while playing defense and the midfield.

She has appeared in 9 games this year for 217 minutes and is a key contributor. Like all her teammates she is intense and a winner as evidence by her athletic and academic skills!!

Number 4 Sydney Woolston

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A defender, Sydney may be one of the strongest players on the team. She plays healthy and hurt and is the consummate teammate. The civil engineering major is no slouch in the classroom having made both all academic squads, League and Nationally. A regular at the USA Field Hockey national trials she is force on the field.

The Berlin N.J. native has taken 5 shots in her career, none bigger than her only goal of her career against Princeton last week opening up scoring for the Leopards. There is only one word to describe this player….intense!!!

Number 12 Tara Hamilton

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I first met Tara outside of Kirby Sports center after a basketball game accidentally running into her and her mother during her official visit. I recognized her from her recruiting video and remarked how impressed I was.

Indeed I was, and she has not disappointed. Unfortunately she injured her knee in 2021 at a scrimmage with Delaware. But showed her character during rehab and returned to the lineup this year playing 163 valuable minutes in 8 games. So far she has 3 goals and 3 assists on 16 shots during her career.

Tara is a native of North Vancouver, BC. She demonstrated her team spirit during her injury rehab by helping in practice and encouraging her teammates. I was so happy to see her back on the field this year, contributing. She has shinned in the classroom as a League and National Honor Roll member.

Number 15 Felicitas Hannes

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There are those players who just seem to have a nose for the goal and the ability to place a shot in a vulnerable spot past the goal keeper. Felicitas is one of those players. The Cologne, Germany native, and all academic student athlete, has been a regular on the pitch during her career. She is an economics major.

This year she has appeared in 10 games with 9 starts and 3 goals, all at crucial times. But there was one, no more special than her game winner against Princeton in overtime.

In recognition of her skill and strength, she is the designated stroke taker having converted two this year expertly. You can be certain once her stick hits the ball it is going somewhere important.

Number 23 Simone Hefting

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From Den Bosch, Netherlands Simone is the heart of our defense. She is the commsumate athlete and student. Again, a member of the League and National Academic Squads, she was also named defensive player of the year, and on the second team mid-east region team and 1st team all patriot league team two years running. The International Affairs and Psychology major is certainly a topic of conversation in scouting reports by opponents.

This year, she has 3 defensive saves, anchoring the stout Leopard defense. She has 9 goals on 85 shots as the designated striker on corners during her career. No shot is more celebrated than her goal against Princeton as time was ticking away during the fourth quarter. It was a score tying the game, and sending the teams into overtime and an eventual Leopard win!!

One can only imagine what an imposing figure Simone is to Lafayette opposition. However, it is her leadership skills as co-captain that could be her most impressive feature. The replay of the Princeton game can demonstrate her urging her teammates on and directing play on the field like a quarterback in American football.

It has been privilege to watch her these four years….but its not done yet with perhaps the best yet to come!!

The Group

Together, all seven had to play through a pandemic, injuries, and the ordinary adversities experienced by any athlete. I feel there is even better to come in these remaining games. No doubt the experience has made them stronger, I look forward to seeing what they accomplish as alumni in the future!! It will be just as exciting to watch!! Go Pards!!