Colgate University will only be graduating two seniors and as of today they have commitments from two for the incoming class of 2020. The coaching staff has traveled to Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to add to their, what will be a veteran squad. Colgate won three games last year and only scored 20 goals, so coach Cornell will be looking for her squad to improve their goal production next year. She has two commitments both of whom come from winning programs and both midfield/forwards.
Aaliyah is from Exeter Township in Pa. and was schooled at WC Eagles. She expects to be a Biology major while playing forward for the Raiders. According to reports she was an all county selection and showed her athletic diversity by playing gymnastics and basketball. In 2018 she scored 11 goals and had 3 assists.
Ella hails from Massachusetts. and the Bromfield School. She played her club hockey at North East Elite. In 2018 she scored 22 goals and is going to help Colgate at the midfield or forward position.
There are no other commitments announced for Colgate but we will keep alert for more as the spring commences.
After having a down season and not making the PL playoff for the first time since joining, Sally Starr is replacing two seniors with four recruits for the 2020 season so far. She will have a veteran team highlighted by all league and all region selections in Alia and Jodie Conolly ( no relation) who together accounted for nearly half of the 35 goals scored last year. The recruits are spread close to home in Massachusetts and as far away as New Zealand.
It was thought that last year’s class was among the best in the Patriot League and I am sure Coach Starr is hoping that potential shows itself next year.
Kate is a goalkeeper who last year played for Samuel Marsden Collegiat in New Zealand. She was selected for the U 18 capital squad after playing in the first 11 at Marsden. After that I had to do a little digging. Kate moved her Junior year to New Zealand and was playing for Windy City in Illinois where she was on the travel squad. She will now be returning to the states to Boston. It looks like Coach Starr is creating competition for her freshman starter from last year.
Brook looks like a great “get” for Boston. If the name sounds familiar around Boston it should be. Ainslee Lamb was the former Head Coach for Boston College and her Dad is the Asst Coach of Harvard’s Football team. The 5’6″ midfielder was lauded by her coach at Natick High School as a once in a lifetime athlete. She cited her stick skills and devotion and hard work. Brook was a Bay State all star four year running in addition to being named MVP for her division. Brook also played for Northeast Elite Club team. She is her team’s captain and a consistent honor roll student. She looks like an ultimate impact player for Boston University
Tess played 3 sports at Amity High School in Connecticut, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey and Golf and excelled in all three. She was got MVP for her conference tournament in light of her outstanding play at forward. Her club hockey is with HTC. She will no doubt compete for playing time at the forward position at Boston.
Another Bay State native played her field hockey at Central Catholic and the North East Elite Club. She was selected as the MVP for her conference by the Eagle Tribune and was identified in the Top 50 by Max Field Hockey. The 5’4″ M/F has been active in the USA Field Hockey pipeline.
Holy Cross will be graduating five seniors this spring but none more important that Marcia LaPlante their excellent goalkeeper. Coach Lindsey Jackson seems to have a strategy to go to very successful programs to pick recruits that know how to win. To do that there are reported commitments from Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts. She will also need to improve her goal production since they only scored 29 goals last season. The Crusaders have not yer reported their NLI signings yet, which indicates to me there may be more coming. There big goal scorer is junior Micke Kooman from the Netherlands who scored 1/3 of the goals all season. Jackson has tabbed another GK who hails from the Boston area which means she again will carry three GK.
Ryleigh hails from the very successful Garrison Forest School in Maryland and also played for the Freedom Hockey Club. Garrison plays a very tough schedule even going out of state from time to time. They always seem to be in the hunt for the IAAM championship which they won this past season. They were ranked 24 in the nation by Max and 4th regionally.
Aside from Field Hockey Ryleigh runs the 800 meter in track during the spring. But Field Hockey is where she excels. The midfielder was the team captain of these champs, and was second team all metro selected by the Baltimore Sun. She started every game for Garrison.
Haley is another midfield defender from Maryland. She was first team all conference and a Maryland all state selectiion. She will graduate this spring Severn High School and played for the Sparks Field Hockey Club. She is a two sport athlete playing Lacrosse as well.
Brook will be a freshman Goalkeeper. She went to Winchester High School in the Boston area. She was also Captain of her team and a League all star. She highly competitive and has play field hockey even before high school. She says she likes the GK position because she likes to be in middle of important plays.
Kylie is a New Jersey native who played for the Oak Knoll School, another very successful program. She hails from Summit New Jersey and will be a midfielder or defender at Holy Cross. I was unable to find more stats on her but I am sure the coaching staff in Worchester will be providing details soon
Having taken a huge class last year I have only been able to find two commitments for Lehigh to date, Abagail Brown M/F from Ridgeway Regional in New Jersey and Jujia Gatelein M/F from Bishop Eustace also in New Jersey. Although only two have shown up it is not beyond comprehension that Lehigh could add several more before the class is closed out. However, Lehigh is returning a veteran squad who will only graduate one senior this spring. The highlight last year was the upset of Boston University in the last game of the season! Lafayette was able to beat the Mountain Hawks at their place in a 1-0 night game earlier in the season.
Abagail hails from New Jersey and will graduate from Kingsway Regional High School. She is a 5’4″ M/F all conference player who scored 22 goals last season and 22 assists. She was also a third team all state mention. She was also team captain. She was with the Uprise field hockey club.
Julia M/F also come from New Jersey will graduate from Bishop Eutace was also team captain and first team all conference as well as all south jersey. She scored 31 goals last year and 20 assists. She is also a player for WC Eagles.
The Bucknell coaching staff actually announced their class of 2024 recruits on December 10th. They will be adding 5 new recruits, forward Rachael Apa, Reanne Burgess a defender, Olivia Bush a forward, Mia Fields a defender and Kari Melberger a Midfielder. The five will be replacing a senior class of six that led the Bison to another appearance in the Patriot League tournament. Games between the Bison and Leopards have usually been competitive affairs. Last season Lafayette played Bucknell twice, both times winning by one goal.
Coach Jeremy Cook is getting a very geographically diverse class with an incoming freshmen class from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Missouri. One big issue will be the replacement of Gk Olivia Harris, however Cook looks like he will stick with his two underclassman he had last season. In addition, he will be returning his two highest goal scorers. Despite that he will be looking to improve on the 37 goals they scored all last season. No doubt with the addition of this class he hopes to improve his goal production.
In alphabetical order here is some more information on each new player.
Rachael will be traveling the 90 miles from Lewisburry to Lewisburg,Pa. The 5’4″ forward from Red Land High School played field hockey and lacrosse. She was a first team all conference and a second team 2018 all state selection. She scored 37 goals in her career and also played club field hockey for Central Penn. Cook sees her as super competitive, with great tenacity and benefit to his team culture
The Holden, Massachusetts native went to the Governor’s Academy and played defense. She also played lacrosse and was a three time all league selection and a two time captain. Even as a defender she scored 24 goals. Cook remarks, ” We’ve had fun watching Reanne’s development as an attacking defender. Her club team has prepared her well.”
Olivia is a 5’3″ forward from Providence R.I and the Wheeler School. She is a two time RI Interscholastic League Division 2 Player of the Year. She scored 48 goals and 49 assists in High School. Cook describes her as fast and has “grit.” He thinks she will grow quickly in the Bison system.
Mia played for Nerins Hall School in St. Louis Mo. The 5′ 4″ forward was a four time all conference selection. Her team had two state championships.semi final appearances. She scored 28 goals and also played for Aim Field Hockey Club. Cook says her skills match his system perfectly.
The 5′ 3′ midfielder is from West Pittston, Pa. and Wyoming Area High School. She was a three year team captain and four year starter. A two time all state selection she led her team to two district championships and was a state semifinalist. She had 39 goals and 37 assists. She played for Electric Surge Field Hockey Club. Cook describes her as having a “big hit,” which the Bison can use on their offensive corners.
Simon Hoskins, Executive Director of US Field Hockey sent a Christmas message of his own to the field hockey community, by announcing the appointment of a new Head Coach for the US Women’s Team. Caroline Nelson-Nichols, currently the Head Coach at Columbia University was appointed after an international search. The US team is about to begin their second year in the FIH Hockey Pro League in about a month. The first game will be against the Netherlands and will be played at UNC!
Nelson is a former USWNT athlete and two time Olympian and has been the Columbia Coach since 2015. Prior to that she was an assistant at the University of Iowa. She has been serving on the BOT of US Field Hockey and will step down to fulfill her new responsibilities. She has been active in the futures program and currently holds a Level 2 accreditation..
She has earned 165 caps and was a two time Olympian. Nelson was on the National squad from 2007-14. Her olympic experience was earned in Beijing and London. She had an outstanding career at Old Dominion from 2003-06 where she was an all American, and an academic all-American. Nelson additionally, was the defensive player of the year in the CAA as well as. player of year. It was the first time anyone received these dual honors. She is a member of the ODU Hall of Fame.
Columbia will begin a national search for a replacement immeadiately!!
Additional Patriot League News
Patriot League meetings occurred recently, and the subject of video review was on the docket. However, there is no news to announce. I have my fingers crossed, but like most decisions inside the academe, the decision apparatus grinds slowly!!
Bucknell has announced five new recruits and the other Patriot league teams have had new recruits appear on Max Sports. Lafayette still has not announced their new player for 2020, but internet reports have revealed 5 new Leopards so far. Coach Stone usually announces her new class, after the class is complete.
The Patriot League had a number of very young rosters last year, and I expect some will be looking for specific holes to fill. I do not expect the other league teams to have large classes this year. More about that in the new year.
Bottom line is, I expect the Patriot League to be much improved with a number of quality hold over players.
Lisa Van der Geest, the Lafayette senior captain added another award to her growing list of kudos. At this rate her parents will have to hire a private jet to transport all her hardware. She was a first team all league selection, defensive player of the year in the Patriot League, all region, and the Patriot League and Lafayette Scholar Athlete of the year. But perhaps her most coveted skill was enumerated by her coach, Jennifer Stone. ” Most importantly, her leadership on and off the field kept our team focused. She will graduate in the spring as one of the best players to ever come through our program.”
After graduation she has told me she wants to continue to play field hockey. Perhaps we shall hear more about Lisa in the future as as Dutch national player?. Meanwhile rumor has it she is a very good tennis player. Could we see her on the courts this spring wearing a Lafayette uniform??
Movement never stops as the Patriot League is reloading, as recruits continue to announce their commitments. Bucknell has recently announced five new recruits. Lafayette typically waits until the class is complete before an announcement but an internet search has identified 5 commitments to next year’s class who I have already identified in a previous post. For the coaches, they continue to beat the bushes for qualified players with the hopes of fielding another team that can challenge for a championship. Replacing this senior class will be difficult.
Returning next year will be a lot of experience and skill. Molly McAndrews a first team PL selection will return for her junior season at forward, Sydney Woolston a defender and only a rising sophomore returns, Kara Tiedtke will be returning from recovering knee surgery, Audrey Sawers is on the under 21 Canadian team and will certainly be a team leader, Sophie Carr, another rising senior will be marking her senior year, Grace Angelella a midfielder will provide an exciting element to a talented senior class, Anna Steps will also be a senior contributor, while Simone Hefting returns for her sophomore encore, perhaps filling in the empty center back position. Haile Abbott will step up in the goal cage. Who can forget her save last year on a penalty stroke in the Patriot League playoffs against Boston University?
The spring will be challenging for coaches and a players alike, as they will be reaching to improve on the 12-7 record this year and hopefully gaining that coveted spot in the NCAA tournament. It will be an interesting spring season!! Needs will include the all important center back position. An improvement in overall team speed will be looked for. The Leopards will also sport several players near or over six feet tall with skill. No doubt the team will be there competing for a tournament spot.
League Coaches Meet In End Of Year Consultations
It is typical for Division One League coaches to meet this time of year to discuss how their respective leagues can improve performance within the division. The Patriot League is no exception. Could video replay be a topic of conversation?? There are ten leagues playing division one field hockey, six are using video referral for regular season games, or championship games. The Patriot League is not one of them.
The NCAA has mandated in order to host a playoff game, video referral must be provided. The coaches will not make a final decision, but it must eventually be brought to League AD’s. Video referral is in effect for basketball and football at the moment in the league.
It is my belief video referral will improve officiating and provide confidence that official calls will not be a determining factor in wins or losses. I hope the league will do the right thing.
US Teams Will See A Change In Leadership
The US team will see a change in coaching and as I understand it has already begun a search. It is 45 days until the pro leagues start and the national team is scheduled to meet the team from the Netherlands at UNC in January.
Change is always difficult in any organization and especially for athletic teams. The US women’s team did not make this summer’s olympics, having not been successful in various Olympic qualifying events. I have no doubt these women will rise to the challenge to see them in Paris in four years. They are a dedicated and talented group. We are all rooting for you!!
Meanwhile, US Field Hockey has designated an interim coaching team led by Pam Stuper of Yale. I would expect new coaches to be in place before the game with the Netherlands.