The Future Is Now As USA Field Hockey And Partners Break Ground In Charlotte

USA Field Hockey used the opportunity of a “High Performance Summit” to break ground on the new field for the US National Field Hockey Team. The field is expected to be ready for use this fall, in time for several international games against Canada, South Africa and others. For about a year, the team has been practicing at Queen’s College in Charlotte, N.C. The new field will be 25 minutes to the north on the campus of the University of North Carolina Charlotte. The Belk family, UNCC, and the State of North Carolina in partnership with USFH have been working on the project for several years. This is an effort by all to encourage the attracting of Olympic teams to the city of Charlotte. There are several sports already training full time.

Field Hockey will be the first team olympic sport to set up permanent residence in the city. The United State Performance Center co-founded by Ike Belk and David Koerner have provided the management and development expertise to attract the resources in North Carolina to make it all happen. In addition, they are providing medical and training staff for the team. The campus already houses the strength and conditioning staff for USPC which is directing the US Field Hockey women’s team in its daily fitness and nutritional efforts.

So it was on May 18, 2023 the first phase of construction was marked by a ceremonial ground breaking attended by USFH officials, Chancellor Sharon Gaber, various political officials from the State of North Carolina, members of the Belk family, the team and coaches. Shovels in hand with appropriate hard hats….work was ceremoniously begun!!!

The turf will be made of Polygras Paris GT Zero, which will be the same turf used for the Paris Olympics next year. The material used is a derivative from sugar cane which produce ethanol that is used in the production of the plastic artificial surface. It will need significantly less water to play on and is recyclable. It will be the third new surface installed in the world to date.

There were words of inspiration and instruction delivered by Ike Belk, and David Koerner. Chancellor Gaber noted the partnership and cooperation by all. Coach David Passmore and team Captain Amanda Golini thanked everyone for the facility and were humbled by the inspirational teamwork that brought us to this point and how proud they will be representing the state, the city and the country.

Simon Hoskins the Executive Director of US Field Hockey remarked how this moment is a step into the future for the game of Field Hockey.

The Patriot League was well represented with national team members Amanda Golini, Alex Hamel and Natalie Konerth.

High Performance Summit

All during this the week the women’s and men’s national team coaches met with the top coaches in the country to discuss training methods and the “game” in general. In residence were coaches from all over the country, many of whom provided the training for our current National Team athletes.

Coach Stone was in attendance and I was to visit with my good coaching friends that Pam and I have acquired over the many years that we have been connected to the sport. Our roles as Chairman and Trustee has allowed us to share our enthusiasm for the the game. We were pleased to attend events with Coaches Missy Maharg Carla Taglienti and Pam Stuper and made some new friends like Tracey Fuchs. The enthusiasm of all these Coaches and their dedication is amazing. We all shared our determination that US Field Hockey will have the best chance to succeed in the Pan Games,the Paris olympics and beyond.


Leopards Get In High Gear With Two Goals From Rubel

In their third competition of the spring season, ” The Rivalry” was renewed on Lafayette’s home field. Originally scheduled to be played at Lehigh, the meeting was rescheduled to Lafayette due to the fact that Lehigh’s watering system was broken.

From the first push off, this had the feeling of a regular season game. In fact, the Metzger weather cooperated by giving us a deja vu of conditions in the late season. A chilling wind blew in from the west forcing fans to wrap themselves in warm blankets, but the players on the field seemed to ignore it as they battled for all sixty minutes.

The first half was a back and forth affair as both sides had their chances. Each goalkeeper turned away multiple shots. Raffi Franomeni withstood several penalty corner chances and several follow up shots.

The second half was to see the Leopards take charge. Emma Garvey was to get her first minutes of the spring, and preserve the shut out. It was the offense, with some excellent mid field work that was to finally “break the ice.”

Midway, in the third quarter Lafayette was to get their chance with a penalty stroke. Alex Darrah delivered and the Maroon was to go up 1-0. The team became energized, and Catalina Rubel was to deliver two more goals, the first off a left side base line circle entry and putting a hard sweep into the far corner. Later on she was to add to her first goal by receiving an Ellie Barton pass, after Barton carried it on the right side baseline, finding Cata at the stroke line, who touched it into the goal.

The last goal of the day was delivered by Hannah Findley during a penalty corner on a sweep from the left side into the far corner!!

The leopards were aided by some outstanding play in the field. Peyton Guinter thrilled with a nice interception, Mackenzie Hall made her self known on mutiple occasions, while Hoefnagel and and van Wiik were solid in the midfield. Spanns was a threat all evening while Darrah and Findley found themselves open on several attacking opportunities. India Ralph looked comfortable directing the defense from her center back spot!!

Although a sparse crowd, both Lehigh and Lafayette parents retreated to the warmth of their cars to watch the game but there were brave souls wrapped in blankets who were to lend their support to both sides from the sideline.

I benefited from standing next to several senior players, but was especially appreciative of Felicitas Hannes who provide her expert observations of the action on the field.

The last competition of the spring will be at Lafayette this Saturday at noon against Drexel!

Spring Games Are A Work In Progress

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

There Is Growth In The Spring

Lest I be accused of being a “homer,” I sampled some opinion from some of the fans at the spring game with Temple last night. Yes, some were parents, who no one can expect to be unbiased, but there were alumni, fans and others in attendance. The consensus was this team is improving and beginning to show some real personality.

Temple is a competitive team and one of those that Lafayette lost to by one goal last year! One parent was pleased to see some real growth in their daughter’s confidence and skills. One alumna said there seems to be some real skill on this team which was revealed in the shoot out at the end of the game. I saw real reason for confidence in the play our goalkeeper, perhaps the result of the coaching received from our newest assistant.

The details of the evening reveal even more. The game was played like a regular game, four quarters with officials ( but no instant replay review). Both teams had small benches due to lack of graduating seniors and incoming freshman. Lafayette had two players missing who are playing in the junior Pan Am games in Barbados, and a small number of injured sideline players.

Temple started the scoring with a goal in the first quarter, followed shortly thereafter with a goal by Carly Kreytak. The score stayed knotted until the second half when Temple opened up a two goal lead. Lafayette started their comeback on the shoulders of Lineke Spaans, who brought the Leopards within one with a slashing sprint to the goal and a reverse stick shot. The tie was delivered by Californian Mackensie Hall who dug out the ball during a scrum in front of the Temple keeper, and delivering it to the back of the cage.

Lafayette easily won the shoot out which in season would give the Leopards the win. After a first half that showed some tentative passing, the team seemed to come alive in the last 20 minutes. The passing became crisp and hard. There was less finesse, and more confidence and power in their play…all characteristics needed in the regular season.

Coach Stone had seen improvement by many players in the scrimmage last week at Monmouth with Rutgers, and to my mind and observation, much of that came together in second half against Temple.

As an aside we could see in the distance, ground has been broken as reconstruction of Metzger Field is beginning with a new soccer venue. Eventually, the refurbishment will include an upgrading for Lacrosse and Field Hockey.

The Leopards will travel to Delaware next Saturday for a playday format with Delaware, Drexel, Temple, St. Joe’s, Columbia and Bucknell.

Lafayette Field Hockey Reveals Its 2023 Spring Squad This Sunday

Lafayette returns to the pitch as it begins a reloading process this spring. There is much to do as senior team members look to graduation and freshman, sophomores and juniors will discover where they fit best for a fall championship run. The team will be looking to improve on their record and will be looking to move past its 11 one goal losses. Most importantly, Coach Stone will be looking to fill the shoes of a very talented senior class.

The biggest challenge will be to reconstruct the very stout defense, but Stone will have two experienced goalkeepers to form that foundation. On the offensive side, will be the swift Lineke Spanns who may be the most exciting player in the Patriot League this year. The Leopards proved last year they could play with anyone in their overtime win against number 7 ranked Princeton and their close double overtime loss to Penn State.

The Leopards will have rising seniors Ariel Schumacher, Carly Kreytak, Alexandra Conway, and Emma Garvey providing an anchor of experience. There will be rising juniors of India Ralph, Lineke Spanns, Laine Delmontte, Alex Durrah, and Mackenzie Hall who were all contributors last season. To round out the experience there are 8 rising sophomores, Mackenzie Switzer, Catalina Rubel, Hannah Findley, Ellie Barton, Aimee Hoefnagel, Josephine van Wiijk, Peyton Guinter, and Raffi Fragomeni who have all proven to be valuable contributors. All will bring that extra year of training and exposure. Many will have international experience to add to the team.

By all indications the freshman recruits will also be a quality group as well when they arrive in the summer!

The spring schedule looks to provide experience and challenges. The first spring games will be at Monmouth against Monmouth and Rutgers on March 26 th. The Leopards will return to Easton to meet Temple on April 7th at 6pm. On April 15 the Leopards will travel to Delaware for a play day against multiple opponents, Yale, Drexel, Temple, St. Joe’s Columbia, Bucknell and Delaware! Three days later on the 18th, Lafayette will meet at Lehigh at 6:30. The Leopards will finish their spring training at home against Drexel at 12 noon on April 22nd!

Meanwhile, division one has seen a plethora of coaching changes. The most notable for Lafayette, are changes at long term opponents Lehigh and Quinnipiac. Meanwhile Syracuse, Northeastern, Rider, Penn State and UNC will be under new leadership. The biggest surprise being 22 year old all American Erin Matson switching roles from player to coach at UNC. Former Patriot League standout Maura Schimp will be a Lafayette asst Coach and will no doubt be coaching our two GK. There is still a need for a third coach to be added to the staff!!

Lafayette alums Amanda Golini and Audrey Sawers will be playing for their respective national teams in the Pan Am games, ( an olympic qualifier). The Canadian Junior Pan Am team will see Leopards on the roster. Rising junior Laine Delmotte and incoming freshman Katie Gibbs are on the team.

There is a talented mix of players returning, and this spring will be the the initial effort of blending it into a competitive unit. I for one will be interested in the meeting with Lehigh.

US Women’s Field Hockey Nails Opening Win In Pro League

Match 5 - USA vcCanada

The US women’s national team opened the FIH pro season with a gritty win that needed to be decided by a shootout at the end. After taking the lead in second quarter which was maintained until 41 seconds left in the game, New Zealand tied it with a penalty corner. Unfortunately, the US women suffered two yellow cards with less than three minutes left, and the number 8 ranked New Zealand pulled their goal keeper. Overwhelmed by the numbers the US women withstood one corner but finally gave up the tying goal on a final corner of the game.

The game then went to an overtime shootout in which the US outscored the NZ Blacksticks 2-0 with the outstanding goalkeeping of Kelsey Bing. Leah Crouse and Ashley Sessa scored the 2 goals in the shootout.

The US fielded a young team with Co-Captain Amanda (Magadan) Golini having the most caps of 111. New Zealand had three players with over 200 caps. David Passamore the new head coach noted,” Our young midfield started to dominate in the second half and all performed, which is exciting for the future. It’s always hard when you concede so late in the game to rally yourself for a shootout, but we were excellent in that respect, and our attitude and commitment to our team values was at the forefront of this gritty performance.”

The first half saw New Zealand spending the majority of the game’s minutes in the US end. But the US team made the most of their opportunities. In the 21st minute, an overhead ball by Ashley Sessa was received by Sanna Caarls in the left corner of the New Zealand area. Caarls then moved to the circle finding Amanda Golini near the goal. However, the pass ricocheted off a New Zealand foot and into the cage, scoring the goal !!

The US will take on number 10 ranked China on Sunday Feb 19 at 10:10 pm EST.

Stone signs Maura ( Jacobs) Schimp To Be Assistant Coach


Maura Schimp joins Lafayette Field Hockey as an assistant Coach. Coach Schimp may be better known by Patriot League fans as Maura Jacobs, the stand out goal keeper for American University who graduated in 2018 as the PL goalkeeper of the year. After graduation she was selected as an asst coach for the St Louis University Billikens where she has been ever since!!

Aside from her regular duties at St. Louis she coached goalkeepers, tournament club teams and gave private lessons with the AIM Field Hockey Club.

She is a native of New Cumberland Pa. and earned her bachelors degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications. She also has a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel Administration. She holds a level one certification from USA Field Hockey.

This is a key hire for Stone and welcome addition to Lafayette Field Hockey. Schimp added.” I am very grateful to join Coach Stone and the incredible team of field hockey athletes at Lafayette College.” She is excited to return to the Patriot League. Welcome back Maura!!!!

Now What??

Spanns flies through the Crusader defense

On Monday January 23rd students will begin classes at Lafayette and we will be seeing our favorite college field hockey players returning to campus this weekend. Soon after, they will begin training for the spring practices..beginning with intensive strength and conditioning work with the athletic training staff. This will be the first spring training for our first year players, and will also be an opportunity for many to get extensive playing time in the spring games.

By May, they should be getting idea where they will best be needed, and to work together without the seniors who were key players last fall. No doubt coach Stone will be looking to restock the Leopard defense who performed so admirably over the past seasons. There will be strength at the goalie job as the two remaining goal tenders come with strong minutes in the cage last fall. No doubt the mid field will be a strong feature of the Leopard attack with returning Leneke Spanns. Leneke will be the inspiration to this team as she was last year!!


During the summer months there are several team members who will be attending clinics or playing for clubs in Europe and Asia. All that effort will indeed turn many of those one goal losses into wins. One thing this team needs, is to imprint in their minds is that Patriot League regular season games are a first level for the end of season tournaments.

Coach Stone has not let grass grow beneath her feet as she has been busy recruiting domestically, and internationally. She has returned from European clinics with some potential recruits ( and maybe scouted the possibility of an assistant coach too??). The NFHCA just finished their convention last week, and that may be where future out of conference games are arranged!

President Hurd continues to be very supportive of enhancing the athletic capital infrastructure. My suggestions would include, bathrooms, press box, and video scoreboard. This is in addition to the instant replay technology installed last year! I would believe there are one or two PL schools that will follow our lead next year! Patriot League home games will include Colgate, Bucknell, and Holy Cross. ( That game with Bucknell is one I am especially looking forward to).

Lehigh will be a target away, and we are due for a win. Boston will be on their rebuilt field and we need to get over our record with American and play like I know we can play! Princeton will come to our house for revenge and I expect to see several other teams repeat.

Aside for our need for an assistant Coach, several head coach positions remain open in division one. UNC, Syracuse, Northeastern and Lehigh are open as of this writing. The Towson position has been filled. I may have missed one or two others.

Even though Coach Stone has not named her class for the fall, this might be an indication that the class is not completed yet. What has been announced, is that Lea Good from Oak Knoll School and New Heights club will be a Leopard this fall. I have seen video on her and she will be a contributor. It was announced on twitter by Lafayette Field Hockey and other places that she was named a first team High School all American.

Lea Good named HS All American

Max Field Hockey has revealed three others who have committed to Lafayette for the fall, Emma Maher from Villa Maria in Pa. and the Mainline Mayhem, Ines Araulo from Sacred Heart in Grenewich Conn. She played for AGH, and Madison Evans from Severna Park in Maryland, she played for Spark Club team.

All in all the cycle begins and we get a peek at the future this March and April

Lehigh Head Coach Steps Down

Caitlin Dallmeyer, Lehigh University head field hockey coach has decided to take a position with the Social Institute. While it affords her the opportunity to support young students, it means she will step down from the position she has held for seven years. Her last season culminated in a championship for the Brown and White. She took over a losing team in 2016 and gradually made it a champion. Included in that run is a 4-3 record against Lafayette.

Lehigh announced they will immediately begin a national search for a new coach. Dallmeyer will depart Lehigh at the end of January.

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.


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.