Bucknell Announces New FH Class

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 Apa

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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

Reanne Burgess

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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 Bush

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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 Fields

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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.

Kari Melberger

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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.

 

US Field Hockey Signs New Head Coach

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!

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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

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Audrey Sawers did what was needed all season and especially in these final two games. No doubt a future star!!

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.

Van der Geest Named All American For The Second Time

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Seniors will graduate having left a legacy

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??

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Steps and Van der Geest guard the circle

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.

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Molly McAndrews winds up against Boston

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?

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Freshman Simone Hefting was a welcome returnee for the playoff season

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.

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Audrey Sawers meets up with a William and Mary attacker

League Coaches Meet In End Of Year Consultations

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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

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Former Lafayette captain and US Team member Amanda Magadan

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.

Kim Stone ’00 Inducted Into Hall Of Fame Lisa van der Geest Named Scholar-Athlete

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Kim delivers her remarks accepting her entrance into the Lafayette Hall of Fame.

It was an emotional celebration of excellence, as  Lafayette athletics celebrated its best and brightest during the 2019 edition of its Hall of Fame Induction. Four individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dan Bengele ’98, football, Steve Feldman ’79, track and field, Bill Hogarty ’56, baseball and Kim Stone ’00, field hockey. In addition the 1948 football team was honored for its refusal to play in the 1948 Sun Bowl because one teammate, African American David Sowell ’51 would not be allowed to play because of his race.

In addition Lisa van der Geest was honored as the female scholar athlete of the year. It is an award given to the athlete who displays exemplary skills in the classroom and on the field of competition.

Kim Stone was a two sport athlete playing field hockey and lacrosse. She was named an all American in field hockey, In her senior campaign she led the team to a 19-2 record and a berth in the NCAA tournament. The midfielder was a three time all league selection and was honored to be on the all decade  Patriot League squad in field hockey. She was also honored as an all league selection in lacrosse while her team captured 3 Patriot League Crowns.

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Teammates and family join in the celebration for Kim Stone’s induction

In an eloquent and emotional speech, like her fellow inductees, she honored her teammates, parents,  sister (coach of the year Jennifer Stone)  and husband . A regular attendee at games this year she also congratulated this year’s team for their outstanding season. She had a special mention for her coach Ann Gold, and her parents for instilling a sense of hard work and spirit.

She and her husband own a design/build construction company called Homestead Design Build Inc.

Lisa van der Geest gets Scholar Athlete of the Year

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Anatomy of a goal… for Lisa and Lafayette

Lisa delivered her remarks via a recorded video shown to the audience. She was playing in the Senior Division One all star game at Wake Forest at the very moment her award was announced in the Kirby Sports Center. She, like the Hall of Fame nominees, credited her teammates, coaches and family for her success. She mentioned her parents who were present or watched her via streaming video  from her home in the Netherlands or as they traveled several times to see her in person.

She had a 3.75 academic average while garnering all league and and all American honors  during her career. This year she was named defensive player of the year in the Patriot League, while collecting all league honors for the last four years. No doubt her successes and ability will propel her to even greater accomplishments in the future, and perhaps in the Hall of Fame herself.

American University Ambushed By Fairfield 3-1 In NCAA Game

Fairfield University used their home field advantage, and a well thought out game plan to end American University’s season in a game that represented their 19-2 season. As expected, the game was a stalemate for the first half resulting in a 0-0 tie, but with Fairfield getting 3 shots to American’s single shot in the first half. Neither team substituted very much during the game, but if there was an index of bandage to player ratio, American would have won that statistic hands down.

The atmosphere was super cold, with a stiff breeze that make it all the more difficult. Zoe Rosen, the excellent Fairfield GK, made 3 saves on American’s four shots on goal. Fiona Minter the freshman GK for American wasn’t nearly as good, as she only stopped 3 of Fairfield’s 6 shots on goal.

If the first half was all about defense. the second half was about which offense was going to dominate. Fairfield came out smoking in the second half, and scored with only 37 seconds having ticked off the clock. Emma Matlack received a cross from Luzi Persiehl and delivered the goal to put Fairfield ahead.

The Eagles scrambled to find their footing, and wasn’t until 5 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter  were they able to tie the game off a play familiar to the Leopards,  Noor Coenen delivering the ball to Josie Formica to tie game at one to one.

American tried to push for the second goal but in the process left their defense exposed. Fairfield for the first time this year, used a long arial that caught the eagles without any defense. An NFL quarterback could not have made a better pass. Midfielder Malen Iglesias found Julianna Kratz perfectly who passed to Danielle Profita for the two on one break….Fairfield takes the lead again with less than 8 minutes left.

The proverbial coup de grace was a goal from Mackenzie Boyle from the Malen Iglesias with about 2 minutes left in the game. The last eight minutes saw American desperately trying to get into their rhythm, but never quite getting there.

Both teams are young, American will only graduate one starter and Fairfield has only two seniors on their team. I have to admit I thought American was the easy choice to win…I was wrong Fairfield was motivated and well prepared. They will now move on to play in state rival UCONN on Friday.

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NLI signings began rolling in yesterday at various Division one schools. Lafayette has not yet announced those early signings, but it has been their practice to announce when the class is complete. Max field hockey has been posting verbal commitments. They include Emma Garvey a GK from Massachusettes and Buckingham Brown and Nichols school, Ariel Schumacher M/F from Texas and Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Kelly Baitenger M/F Perkiomen Valley, Pa. Alden Bocella M/D from Gwymead Mercy Academy in Pa., Alexandra Conway F, the Hill School, Pa, All three Pa. recruits also played for WC Eagles.

Later on I will be reviewing all the Patriot League recruits as we move through this month and next. ln the meantime a hearty welcome to our new recruits and their families to Lafayette Field Hockey!!

Division One Field Hockey Teams Begin To Reload

There have been over 1300 Division One games played to date and the final 18 teams have been selected for the NCAA tournament but come Nov 13, there will begin National Letter of Intent signings providing teams with new players to replace graduating seniors and more. The recruiting process has no doubt been stressful but in reality many pre-NLI  commitments have already been made as long as a year ago.

The NLI is just the end of the process and no doubt head coaches already know what 80-90 percent of their class will look like. Although they are prohibited by NCAA regulations from announcing or disclosing recruit names until after the NLI is signed, recruits themselves, or their clubs have already revealed the plans of these recruits. ( I guess this is another example of NCAA minions discovering useless work for an industry of compliance administrators…but that’s a subject for a whole new article. Coach K from Duke was dinged last week by NCAA for revealing the name of a recruit by him in Chicago. The recruit had announced publicly for months he has committed to Duke).

It is easy enough to find the names of recruits, even in field hockey, through Club news releases or services such has Max Sports. So armed with my trusty computer, without relying on information from any Patriot League school or coach I will as I did last year report on commitments for these League schools. Foreign commitments are more difficult to find and they tend to commit later on in the process.

Lafayette has been hard at work replacing an excellent senior class and as you will see have commitments from Massachusetts to Texas. But I will also be looking at all Patriot League commitments in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile American University will be competing in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. They are playing Fairfield at Fairfield tomorrow and I expect an easy win for the Eagles. They will then return to Conn. on Friday for a much tougher game with UCONN.

Leopards Fall 2-3 In Championship Battle

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Cam Costello played key roles in today’s game

The Lafayette Leopards ended a dream season battling to the very last, against the American Eagles. The game started with all the momentum going Lafayette’s way. The first quarter saw Lafayette aggressively going after the ball, and blunting any counter attack by the blue clad Eagles. Time of possession was clearly in the Leopard’s favor as they entered the attacking third using interceptions. American was clearly on their heels and to drive the point home at 6:48 into the game Lafayette drew first blood. As is the usual scheme, the play started at the Leopards outstanding back line with Lisa van der Geest working into Audrey Sawers who quickly shed a defender and fed to freshman Tara Hamilton speeding into the circle. There she found senior Cam Costello who placed the ball to the left side for the opening score.

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Eva Kaplan makes her contributions fighting past an American defender

This was the first time in ten games that the Eagles have been scored upon first in the opening quarter. All looked bright entering the second period. However, 36 seconds into the second quarter the Leopards were to give up a corner. Upon looking at the video this evening the ball was launched clearly close to Grace Angelella waist which would result in the ball for the Leopards not a corner. ( PLEASE. PLEASE PATRIOT LEAGUE install video referral like NCAA, Big Ten, ACC, MAC and other leagues have adopted). In any case, the corner was converted successfully by American’s Josie Formica with an assist by American’s star Noor Coenen. It was at that point it looked like a little air went out of the Leopards play.

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Freshman Simone Hefting was a welcome returnee for the playoff season

The half ended in one to one tie. Three minutes into the second half the Eagles struck again taking the lead on another penalty corner strike, this time by Coenen assisted by Lauren Fredricks, and Gaby de Kock. The final goal for American came early in the fourth, on a strike by Atina Pagani on the right corner. American had multiple corner opportunities which were turned back by goalkeeper Sarah Park and the Lafayette defense.

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Audrey Sawers did what was needed all season and especially in these final two games. No doubt a future star!!

The Leopards were not done as they were able to get a final goal with 48 seconds left, on a Lisa van der Geest rocket to close the score to within one. The subsequent push off was controlled by American and eventually led to a final corner when Coach Jennings decided to play it safe putting 9 players back on defense and delivering the ball to the corner to be trapped and to run out the clock.

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Lisa van der Geest does it all and more

Sarah Park was to have six saves on nine shots on goal. Lafayette was to have two shots on goal which resulted in zero saves and two goals. Overall Lafayette had five shots to American’s 13 and American had 6 corners to Lafayette’s lone corner with less than one minute left. Given this statistic it demonstrates what Lafayette needed to do. American protected their goalie and shielded her from Lafayette’s strong corner offense. American’s third quarter with six shots was crucial.

Lafayette had 4 cards, three green and one yellow and American had two greens. All in all this was a worthy championship game. The game could have gone either way and had opportunities go either way.  This is an extraordinary senior class that has shown not only skill but leadership that may well be felt after they graduate. In addition, the underclassman stepped up when needed. Audrey Sawers to my mind, was the unsung hero scoring the lone goal on Friday and was involved in key plays in both games. A close second was Cameron Costello who showed all season her skill and importance to the team and who scored the opening goal of this game.

This was a team that was certainly qualified to be a champion and as a fan of these young women and of the sport I feel their disappointment. But there is no doubt this team will be remembered well, and can be used as platform for future success.

There were many alumni and their parents in the stands today, and I hope these emerging alumni return to see how they have contributed to future success. It is an eclectic group with numerous talents and will make their marks in whatever they do.

I also have to mention the leadership of Lisa van der Geest who now will play in the Division one all star game at Wake Forest. Lisa could be considered an on the field 5th coach directing play and as captain, mentoring the younger players. Something tells me we have not heard the last from Lisa as there will be more awards and would certainly be considered a Hall of Fame candidate at the appropriate time. She will certainly garner additional awards before she graduates.

I will certainly be at my computer to record and memorialize more Leopard Field Hockey news as we move to recruit signings, and the spring season. Meanwhile we wish those that have been injured a quick recovery and rehabilitation, as the next season will at some point begin.

****Just announced American will meet Fairfield on Wed. and the winner will play UConn on Friday in the NCAA tournament.