Lafayette FH Stumbles In Third Competition Of The Spring

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Grace Angelella settles the ball in the first half

After last week’s showing what they are capable of, this week became shot of reality for our Leopards, after losing to Columbia University 6-2.  Lafayette gave up more goals today, than they had all spring, giving the Leopard coaches plenty of fodder to review with the team this week. This team is certainly capable of challenging for a Patriot League title, but winning championships is as much mental as it is physical.

Lisa van der Geest returned to turf after a week’s absence, and was her old self. Molly McAndrews was absent due to a bout of mononucleosis, Kara Tiedtke and Sophie Carr are still nursing knee surgeries. So there  was moving around with some players in unfamiliar positions. But there was a spark missing, which manifested in Columbia’s ability to defensively jump on the Leopard players , almost seeming to know where a pass was to go.

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In addition, Columbia was to dominate the second half getting more corners and shots which eventually resulted in scores. Lafayette’s scores occurred in the second half with a penalty stroke by Van der Geest and a nifty deflection by Anna Steps. Whereas, the second half had limited scoring  opportunities, the first half was marked by missed opportunities.

Perhaps it was overconfidence, which should be a cautionary tale for the regular season. You must respect each opponent, lest you can lose games that should have been competitive. The Leopards seemed hesitant on passes, and failed to move after receptions, allowing the powder blue Columbia  players to take advantage.

The game was played in a light rain virtually the whole contest, only to let up with a few minutes left to play. As the saying goes, it rained on both teams so the weather could hardly be blamed.

This is an opportunity to leave in the minds of the team, the reminder to play every game like a playoff game. There is nothing wrong with confidence but a lot wrong when confidence turns to being desmissive of your opponent. Spring is a learning period to learn a variety of lessons, perhaps this lesson might be one of the more important lessons to take into the fall campaign!!!

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Two on one in front of the Columbia goal

There is one more competition next Saturday…we shall see how well our Leopards absorb today’s reminder. Quinnipiac, Drexel and Villanova will travel to Rappolt Field for an 11:00 am start. I would not want to be any of next week’s opponents!!

 

 

Leopards Make Progress In Towson Spring Contests

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Cam Costello controls the ball against a Maryland defender as Jen Delongis clears out for a reception

In the third spring outing for the Leopards, one could see the progress being made as the 2019 version of “Pard Hockey,” is developing a personality. There was a modification for the afternoon due to injuries for VCU personnel and a very short bench. They really could not field a full team so it was decided that in the games with VCU, Lafayette,  Towson and Maryland  would play 8 v 8 and a shortened field for the two 15 minute quarters.

However, all the teams were showing signs of vigorous spring training. Maryland came with four players unavailable ( I did not see Niki Lorenz on the field). Lafayette was missing 3 wounded, including their all American Lisa van der Geest who was sidelined as a precaution after suffering a mild concussion in the Penn game last week. Cam Costello was nursing a sore hip and shortened her time on the field. Sophie Carr was still rehabbing her knee and was in Florida representing the Patriot League at a NCAA student athlete conference and Kara Tiedtke was still rehabilitating her knee but was present  walking without any noticeable impairment.

Despite the difficulties the Lafayette coaching staff had to walk away pleased with the afternoon. The Leopards scored 5 goals and gave up 2. They showed the ability to get second shots and used tip ins and redirections to great advantage. I was especially pleased with the hustle and tenacity on defense. Sarah Park may have had her best effort as a Leopard in goal which should have brought a smile to the coaching staff. On the afternoon Sam Di Maio  had two goals, one against VCU and one against Towson. Audrey Sawers, Grace Angelella, and Ana Steps added one each against Towson.

The game against Maryland which ended 2-0 in Maryland’s favor ( the same score from 2012 when Lafayette and Maryland last met) was highlighted by a strong defensive effort in front of the goal by a determined Lafayette defense. Lafayette had several chances to score but in many cases missed by inches, a defect I am sure will be worked on this week.

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The coaching staff was not happy with the effort in the first game and the energy showed  in the first Maryland half as it ended in a 0-0 tie. The Maryland coaching staff turned up the volume in the second half getting several corners and converting two. The Lafayette side had several fast breaks that saw good chances go awry as connections were not quite made.

The last game was with Towson and lessons  from the Maryland game were applied in a 4-0 ending with numerous scoring opportunities bearing fruit. I have to hand to the team. They rose to the occasion and at least in this fan’s eyes demonstrated promise for the fall season. DiMaio of course had a good game but I must note a good effort from Eva Kaplan who had not seen any action in her previous two seasons and seems to be taking advantage of her opportunities. She contributed on the last score as she delivered a nice cross to Sam who tipped it in for the score.

Grace Angellela had a good game bringing the ball up the field and scoring as well. She played at a high level the whole afternoon. I wouldn’t want to diminish the effort by the whole team, especially after a slow start against VCU. The weather like the early play was a little cloudy but it brightened up as the afternoon progressed.

Next week, Columbia arrives in Easton for what I believe will be a regular four quarter game. I look forward to Saturday and seeing it all come together!! Go Pards!!

 

Leopards Test Themselves Against Towson, VCU and Maryland This Sunday

It what appears to be their most challenging weekend of the spring, the Lafayette Leopards will load the vans again to travel down I-95 to Towson Maryland to play on Towson turf to take on three challenging games.

First up at 11:45 will be VCU. I can’t remember the last time we played them but it could be when Ann Gold was still the coach. Since then they have had several coaches. Their most recent coach is Stacey Bean who will be in her third season this fall and may be their most successful. She has had two winning seasons so far, last year getting to the conference final in the A-10 against a very good St Joseph’s team. They were 12-7 on the year and 7-1 in the conference. Last year they lost close games to American ( 3-2 in double overtime) and Bucknell by the same score. They had two big wins agains ODU and Wake Forest. It appears they like to score as they got the ball in the net 55 times but only gave up 29 goals. They have only 12 underclassman including two rising sophomores in the goal. Perhaps we shall see some of their seniors play??

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Nike Lorenz

It certainly doesn’t get easier with National Finalist University of Maryland. The first push off will be at 1:15, and daunting would be an understatement. The Terps will bring their usual excellence to the Towson turf in the person of 19 underclassmen. On their way to Louisville and the National Championship game last year, they were 22-3. They scored 81 goals while only giving up 33. They had 142 penalty corners. They took an average of 16 shots per game  against 8 for their opponents.

Their schedule was tough, meeting 19 nationally ranked (top 25) teams. Behind it all, is the 31 year veteran coach Missy Meharg who has been the national coach of the year nine times.  She has coached 6 olympians and 51 all Americans. She has won 8 national championships and 23 conference championships. ( Two conference championships and won a national championship with my daughter in 99-00, where ironically they played Lafayette in the first round).

The last mutual outing was in the 2012  NCAA tournament, Lafayette was ranked 10 and Maryland was the defending national champion ranked 7. Maryland beat Lafayette 2-0.

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The third game will be against host Towson University @ 2:45.  Towson is in the grips of a building program highlighted by the addition of their new field. They are working hard to improve on their 1-17 record. Only one game was played on the their new turf field against Lehigh last year ( they lost 2-3) Their other Patriot League opponent was American who showed no mercy  with a 0-7 final score.

The good news here for their coach, E.A. Jackson, who is entering her third year, is that she has 16 returning players  including Haile Abbott’s (Lafayette GK) twin sister. They will only lose 2 seniors. Towson scored only 19 goals and gave up 67. and took 107 shots but gave up 253. It’s a game that would be easy to overlook, but given it’s the last game of the afternoon I would be cautious.

 

Other News:

Holy Cross has announced their new class, and the additions since I last reported includes Rachel Perry from Holden Mass. She is an all state forward and Captain of her team. The second recruit is from Sarasota California, Isabella Henderson who appears to be a midfielder. As reported earlier Holy Cross did reach across the Atlantic for a South African Sinead Walsh from Port Elizabeth. All three seem to be excellent athletes playing several sports. So Holy Cross brings in a total six recruits. We will meet them this fall on Rappolt Field.

 

Why Do Student Athletes Make Good Doctors ?

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There is a constant dispute within academic circles about the value of competitive athletics in colleges and universities. Many academics see the activity as a waste of time and resources, however that argument is not fact based. Do you have to be a student athlete to be a good doctor, lawyer, banker or anything else? The answer of course is no but, there is increasing evidence the best of each of those professions has benefited from their experience as a student athlete.

As a treasurer of a bank I always leaned to former student athletes when I hired… all other things being equal. Successful student athletes learn the skills of time management and teamwork. I couldn’t care less what team sport the applicant played but the demonstrated ability to juggle sports and academic requirements  was a valuable skill to consider in a prospective employee.

There is now additional studies available that confirm my more intuitive findings. The “Association of American Medical Colleges,” in an article published on February 8th in AAMCNEWS written by Jen A. Miller answers the question, ” Athletes are known for their drive and determination. So are doctors. But can you excel at both?”

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Amanda Magadan takes to the air as the Boston Goalie tries to take her out..the result was a goal

Miller relates the story of Brian Hainline MD as he interviewed for a neurology residency  at New York Presbyterian/Wiell Cornell Medical Center. The last part of the interview focused on a perceived conflict between his obligations of a students athlete and need for study.  In the end,” he was going to be the person who teaches everyone the sense of discipline and persistence.”  Hainline is now the chief medical officer of the NCAA and wants to formalize the pathway from student athlete to a career in medicine. He is partnering with the NIH to discuss a pilot project that encourages student athletes to consider professions in the medical field and attract a more diverse group of students to medicine.

There is data to suggest that students athletes who studied medicine became very successful clinicians. A 2012 study is pointed out by Miller done at the Washington University School of Medicine that studied clinicians ranked by the faculty.  I am quoting from the article, ” those who got the highest faculty ratings were those with an established excellence in a team sport.”

The AAMC Executive Vice President writes, ” So much of medicine is really about personality, or the ability to deal with people effectively, and the ability to lead people. Those are characteristics we see in student athletes who have been successful in team or individual sports.”

However, these same attributes are valuable in most any profession. A 2015 study by espenW and EY found that 80 pct of female Fortune 500 executives played competitive sports at some time in their lives , and that 65% of those on the 2017 Fortune List of Most Powerful Women played sports competitively in either high school, college, or both. Only 1% of student athletes go on to play professional sports. They become leaders in many professions.

Hainline states, “Some people believe you can’t be pre-med or be a STEM major and be an athlete at the same time.”  Hainline would be glad to know that at Lafayette we disprove that statement every graduation. It does however, beg the question are we doing our best to provide athletic experiences equal to our academic experiences?  Are colleges in general providing the resources to hire and retain excellent “coach-mentors” and is there a cooperative effort between the academic and athletic side of the institution to make the student athlete experience a valuable one? Is care taken that coaches are the equal to ALL faculty- teacher mentors?

Strong graduates eventually make strong and generous alumni, a benefit to the entire institution. This is a lesson administrators and BOT members must take to heart.

2019 Field Hockey Roots Leopards To Victory

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For the first time this year the 2019 field hockey Leopards were together in one place. New recruits joined the current team at a basketball game and the basketball team responded with a hard earned 69-67 win. The game was nationally broadcast on CBSSN as well.

Practice has started for the field hockey team and already our young women are looking forward to the late March and April spring games. Most that had injuries last season looked fit, there is still some rehabilitation to be done and one surgery was recently performed on Kara Tiedtke who hopes to return by the fall season. There is still a chance we may see more recruits before we close out the roster this June.

The team was into the whole game and during half time Hailey Abbott, one of our goaltenders, was picked for the $1,000 half court shot!  Let’s just say it doesn’t look like Hailey has a future as long shot basketball player!! Great effort though!!

The weather has been kind to the team as they have been able to get on the field already but, as Northeast weather tends to be, snow from last night is covering the ground again as I write this.

Spring is only 5 weeks away, meanwhile its time to get out my tractor to plow away some winter from my driveway.

Go Pards!!

Is The Patriot League Improving?

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Molly McAndrews chases a Terrier

Each year Field Hockey Corner does a statistical analysis of the records of all 77 division one schools and ranks them using variables such won loss records, strength of schedule and margin of victory. Although they have several methodologies the most used is RPI. We can use this as a proxy to look at the Patriot League in total, and to individual programs.

Here are the RPI’s of all the Patriot League Schools and their RPI by year. The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) is calculated by .25 win/loss record + .5 strength of schedule +.25 of opponents’ SOS.

TEAM 2014   2015  2016   2017   2018    5 year average

BU         19        13.      15.     20       24          18.2

AM        37        30.      18.     39       34          31.6

BUC       22        40.      29.     38       40          33.8

Laf         38        43.     45.      53      50          45.8

HC.        77.       66.     54.      60       69          65.2

Col        62.       77.     73.      73       73.          71.6

Leh.      66.       68.     55.      65       74.          65

AVG.    45.8.    56.7    41.3.  49.7     52.          49.1

 

As can be seen, the trend for the league has not been favorable in recent years. It should also be noted that the rankings are bifurcated with a spread of approximately 53 places on average between the top and bottom teams. The rankings over the past 5 years have been fairly consistent. The bottom three teams have coaches that have been there 3 years or less. The top four team range from 38 years for BU and 6 years for Lafayette.

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Does RPI matter?? If our best team wins the PL tournament and they are then seeded by RPI, it can diminish the chances of a PL team advancing. For the bottom teams the goal is to get to the league tournament, so coaches would naturally concentrate on those games between the bottom four. The top teams would like to do well in the non conference schedule to raise the league’s and it’s own RPI. Even if they lose with a small margin in tough non-conference games, their SOS can favorably effect their RPI.

It seems to me, the league can improve their RPI and their individual RPI’s by improving their results in the out of conference schedule. Losing badly to a non-conference foe can reduce  the League’s RPI and reduce other PL team’s strength of schedule once they get into the Patriot part of the season.  Another way to improve, is to search out other decent teams and take them on as associate members of the Patriot League.

All the patriot league teams are in different stages of development and one can only wonder what team has been helped by this recruiting season. I must admit I am a homer and think Lafayette has a good mix of talent ( recruits and veterans that can produce significant wins). I see no reason why Lafayette cannot get into the mid-20’s in 2019. In 2013 they finished the season in the high teens.

Lehigh has 8 recruits at the moment, seemingly with an emphasis on scoring talent. Colgate will return a significant number of veterans.  For Holy Cross this will be a crucial class. Bucknell will need to restock next year as well, and will use local talent to do it. American will rely on a lot on their veterans but they seem to always get a key foreigner to fill in the blanks. I am impressed with BU’s recruits and my sense is that they are not finished.

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Sam DiMaio and Audrey Sawer line up agains a Monmouth player

Spring training is approaching and that is when veteran players develop the fastest. I am looking forward to it, as I am sure the players are!!

 

Lehigh Looks To A Reported Eight Recruits To Bolster 2019 Roster

Max Sports is reporting six commitments for Lehigh in 2019 but last week Lehigh added on their twitter page two more. The two they reported would certainly fill some gapping holes in this 3-15 team. Lehigh had 19 players on the roster and lost 3 to graduation, so by picking up a net of 8 , it would bring their roster to 24, a reasonable size for a division one program with 18 regular season games. However, that 24 will only include two seniors.

The Mountain Hawks and Leopards met in the first league game of the season and the game was worthy of the rivalry as  for the second time in as many years, it went to overtime. This time the Leopards prevailed 3-2. Lafayette had 20 shots and Lehigh goalkeeper was forced to make 10 saves. Regardless of the record, head coach Kaitlyn Dallmeyer appreciates the importance of the “Rivalry.” Next year if the Patriot League rotates the schedule as it has in previous years Lehigh will be the last league game and many of the underclassmen will be veterans at that point.

The two recruits announced by Lehigh and presumably signed NLIs are Maddie Kahn a goal keeper and Abbrianna Gatto an attacker. Last year Lehigh suffered several key injuries, one to their starting goalkeeper, who was lost for four games. Their only replacement was a walk on sophomore.

They also only scored 24 goals against 74 scored against then. They took 180 shots but saw 331 shots in response. Dallmeyer seems determined to improve on that record.

Maddie Kahn:

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Maddie is a goalkeeper from Ocean City High School and played for WC Eagles as many good recruits have. She seems to be an intense athlete and has impressive physical assets, At 5’10″she has reach and her personal statement reflects her determination. She describes herself as “smart, physical, aggressive and vocal on the field.” She also says one v one she is ” not afraid to go to  the ball then use the body to take out someone and protect the net.” Coach Dallmeyer a former all 2007 American GK at Duke should appreciate that.

She was an all league and all American watch list player and a Junior Olympian. In 2018 she made 131 save including 29 saves in her final game in the state tournament.

Adrianna Gatto:

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Gatto passing to an open team member

She is a forward with amazing statistics. She comes from Upper Perkiomen  and played for X-Calibur. If you count the goal she scored in a senior all star game she has scored 100 goals in her career. She is a 3 time all state selection  and all conference selection. At 5′ and 115 pounds she is speedy and elusive on the field. She also plays lacrosse which is alway good to see in elite athletes as they can use their athleticism in various sports.

The following were listed by Max Field Hockey as Lehigh commitments

Paige Schaefer:

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Paige is an all state midfielder from Pierson High School on Long. Island. She plays club field hockey for East End. The future engineering major is one of two division one recruits on her small high school team.

 

 

 

 

 

MJ Schwab:

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MJ was the top defender for Bishop Eustace in Haddenfield while also playing for South Jersey Edge. I could not find any additional stats except to say she is 5’4″ and also ran track. She will be a defender for the Mountain Hawks

 

Anna Piecuch:

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Anna comes from the Selinsgrove Area HS in Pa, and played for the PA Power field hockey club. She an All state AA selection as well as all conference. She listed as M/F. Her local paper reports she has scored 41 goals and 28 assists in her career. Anna featured her search on the Patriot League schools before settling on Lehigh.

Sophia Hartman:

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Sophia played her field hockey at Broadneck High School in Maryland and SPARK field hockey club. She was an All Met  defender, all league and multiple all state selection.

 

 

CeCe Slaughter:

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Also hails from Maryland and the Bryn Mawr School where she was an all conference selectee. She played her club hockey at TNT. She will probably be penciled in as a defender

 

 

 

 

Sydney White;

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Sydney completes the contingent from Maryland coming from the Annapolis Area Christian School as a defender. She played her club hockey at Spark. I will try to add her stats as they become known.

 

In coming days I will have a summation and impressions of these Patriot League recruits with a general comment on the status of the League. I will also first post some impressive  video of. Lafayette recruit Tara Hamilton who did not appear on the Max Hockey list.

If anyone has comments I will gladly see they are posted appropriately.