As the season progresses, I will give a more detailed account of each opponent as game day approaches, but I thought I would give a quick overview of the upcoming schedule. The overall schedule will have the Leopards meeting 5 NCAA tournament teams and two final four teams including the NCAA national division one champion. Out of conference games are usually constructed to give your team a chance to reconstitute itself, as old and new team members are integrated into a smooth operating unit. The Leopards have a small jump on that process with a successful trip to Spain, as the extra days of practice and games with good competition have helped the younger players gain confidence. That is a first part of the process as new first year players will join the team on August 13.
The first game will be with Ball State on on August 30 as they will arrive at Rappolt Field for the second time in four years. The last game with Ball State resulted in a 5-1 victory for the Leopards, but Ball State will come with a new competitive coach who will have a different outcome in mind. The Leopards will not enter the game cold turkey, as multiple practice days will be highlighted with two scrimmages, where the coaches will be able take a look at their charges in Division one competition. The first scrimmage will be a home event at 7pm on August 21 against Big Ten foe Rutgers University. Four days later the Leopards will board a team bus to New York to take on Columbia University on the afternoon August 25 for their final tune up. It is also the day before freshmen orientation and they will move into their new dorm rooms and participate in a series of meetings and events designed especially for them.
The next game will feature Siena College as one of the ten home games scheduled this year. The Sept 1 game will be a night game at 7 pm under the lights.The Leopards will then travel south to Virginia to take on Longwood University for the first time in many years. The Leopards continue their tour of Virginia to take on the tough Liberty University Flames who won their conference last year and lost to UNC in the first round of the NCAAs 2-1. The Flames will be looking to avenge a 4-2 loss last year in Easton. The Leopards will begin to get into the meat of their schedule against an always tough Monmouth squad before taking on annual foe Quinnipiac who will be trying to avenge a 3-2 overtime loss from last year. On saturday Sept 19 Lafayette again boards a bus this time to Boston as they open their league schedule against last year’s league champion Boston University. Lafayette will be out to get their first win against the Terriers since they entered the League. Lafayette in both contests lost by 1 goal despite out shooting and out cornering their opponent. It will be an intensive weekend as Lafayette will go to Uconn to take on the two time defending national champion on Sunday the 20th. It does not get easier as Albany, a final four team from last year arrive Easton for a game on the 25th at home at night. A game with Drexel follows in Philadelphia on Monday at 7pm.
October is dominated by Patriot League games which will decide which 4 teams will play for the Patriot League Championship and a coveted spot in the NCAA national tournament. There will also be games at the University of Pennsylvania ( the most played game outside of Lehigh by Lafayette field hockey), Temple, and Yale. The schedule provides the team with chance to blend together and contains opponents strong enough to give Lafayette an RPI high enough to earn a national ranking. In addition, it appears many of the Patriot League teams have likewise kept their schedules equally challenging, which should enable the league as a whole to advance Each team member has been provided a training regimen so that upon their arrival coaches can concentrate on orienting the team to game schemes and team patterns. It will be a challenging year set to begin in about three weeks.