Magadan Makes Final 18 for U-21 Pan Am Team

Two years ago I was on the sidelines at Spooky Nook, Pa., the national training center for the US team. It was the national tournament where individual players would  be selected for the various national teams. Lafayette had several other players playing, and I took the opportunity to take a look at all the young hopefuls, but I wanted to see how our Leopards stacked up particularly. They had all been preselected to play from regional tryouts across the country ,and several of our players had make this cut.

Coincidentally, I was standing next to a college coach I knew who has had several national championships and she asked me who from Lafayette was on the field. Amanda Magadan was playing in that particular game and after several minutes the coach remarked to me,” What great balance and ability, how did I miss her??”  Amanda was entering her sophomore  year and I said, she is going to be a great player.

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Last year, her junior season, she was the leading goal scorer as a midfielder, captain of the team and was a first team Patriot League and all region selection. Since then  she has been selected to the  US Under 21 team culminating this week in the selection to the Junior US Pan Am Championship team to take place from March 30- April 10. She will be playing against like teams from Canada, Mexico, Trinidad, Tobago, and Venezuela. In all, nine countries will be competing for a gold medal.

Amanda has already played against teams from Holland, England, Canada, and Japan but  this is the first tournament for Amanda. ” Getting the opportunity to play in an organized tournament is different, adding a new level of intensity,”Amanda remarked recently. Coach Stone added, ” To be selected to represent the United States in the Junior Pan-Am games is quite an honor.” The senior squad won the title last year.

Interviewed last week during the half time of the Lafayette Men’s Basketball game she expressed her excitement and hope to bring back the gold, but also saw it as a learning opportunity,for when she returns for her senior year to her Leopard teammates, as they try to return to the Patriot League and NCAA tournaments.

When asked by the reporter how she sees her future in hockey and beyond, she said she takes in one day at a time. She is a psychology major with a GPA average over 3.5.  She returns to a very experienced team with what looks like a talented group of first year students with a broad national and international background. The new group of freshmen will be announced officially in April on the NCAA national letter of intent day for field hockey.

The team meanwhile will engage in an indoor tournament March 5-6 followed by the spring outdoor season and several scrimmages and tournaments on the east coast.

 

The Lafayette Field Hockey Team Returns To Training

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Katelyn Arnold stands tall in the goal against Bucknell and with her 4,0 average

Despite a significant snowstorm over the weekend the Leopards returned to their first series of workouts with Coach Stone and the strength and conditioning team yesterday. When asked how everyone looked, predictably Coach Stone said we have work to do to compensate for the wonderful Christmas and New Year’s festivities. They will not return to the turf for several weeks but I get the impression fitness will not be an issue …….by then.

Meanwhile it was announced today that the team as usual put in a maximum effort in the classroom last fall as 12 were placed on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. To be eligible for the Fall Honor Roll student athletes must earn at least 3.20 grade point average. Leading the team was junior goalkeeper Katelyn Arnold with a perfect 4.0 average in a double major of Economics and Government and Law. She was one of ten Patriot League Field Hockey players in the conference to accomplish the feat.

Aside from Arnold others listed in alphabetical order are freshman Rachel Bird 3.43 in economics, sophomore Kaitlynn Ewing 3.40 in economics, junior Aliza Furneaux 3.78 in civil engineering, Meg Lillis sophomore major in economics 3.43, senior Paige Macrae biology major 3.58, junior Amanda Magadan Psychology major 3.58, Hannah Millen senior History major 3.58, freshman Adriana Pero Neuroscience major 3.40, senior Abbey Stefanides Biology major 3.68, junior Ami Turner Economics major 3.35, and senior Kendall Weedling biology major 3.67.

Congratulations to all of these scholar athletes.

Time marches on and the weekend of February 6 will see most of the new Leopard recruits on campus as they get together for the first time with their new teammates. Welcome to all!!!

2016 Is Well Underway For Lafayette Field Hockey

It has been nearly two months since the end of the season for the Leopards but preparations for the 2016 season have already been put in motion as the team and its Coaches look to improve and challenge for the 2016 Patriot League crown. Lafayette returned to the playoffs last year, but fell in a hard fought contest in the semi-final round. Although they will lose six seniors the Leopards will return a strong group of experienced players to build from. Team captain and all league and all region player Amanda Magadan will return for her senior season with a full year of experience under her belt with the under 21 US team. Amanda is the “Vice Captain” of that squad demonstrating the respect she has earned nationally and internationally. Rising sophomores Kristen Taylor and Rachel Bird have been playing in Spain with their home Canadian team honing their skills as well.

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Coach Stone has been busy combing the US and abroad for new talent to fill in the gaps lost to graduation. She has signed six during the early signing period in November and has an additional commitment from an overseas star which will be revealed on the April signing date. She expects to add to that commitment with one additional to make the total new class eight strong!!!

A spring competition schedule is in the works for the returning veterans which will include an indoor tournament in Spring City, Pa on March 6-7, an April 2 game at Temple, and an April 17 game at Columbia. There is still an open slot on April 9th for a home game and the annual alumni game on April 16 followed by the team banquet.

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Ellen Colbourne powers her way through the Lehigh defense

In addition, the fall schedule has been finalized, which will include two early scrimmages with Rutgers and Columbia before an opening game at home with former Patriot League rival Fairfield University on August 28 at home, at noon. The Leopards will spend September playing out of conference foes Monmouth, Longwood, Yale, Quinnipiac ( now in the Big East), Towson,and Hofstra,before meeting Boston Uninversity at home at 7pm on Sept 23rd followed by Delaware on Sunday the 25th.

October as usual will be filled with Patriot League action with out of conference foes Albany, James Madison, Harvard and Temple mixed in. The Patriot League Tournament will be played at the site of the highest seed on Friday November 4th and Saturday the 5th. Followed by the NCAA tournament the next two weekends.

The team is returning to school at the end of January when preparation will begin to return to the field. My next article will focus on two initiatives at work by the NCAA. The first is to ease demands on athletes time and the increasing tendency for coaches to gather commitments earlier and earlier. In my neck of the woods, I have heard of commitments being given as early as the freshman year in high school to Division one schools.

Offseason Is Not Time Off For Lafayette Coaches

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Amanda Magadan is always a threat

Lafayette coaches have been busy reloading for next season by taking advantage of  the early signing period. The Leopards have a habit of graduating one hundred percent of their student athletes and 2016 will be no exception as six fine players will join the ranks of alumni this coming June. Abbey Stefanides, Hannah Millen, Paige Macrae, Kendall Weedling, Kirby Szalkowski, and Katie Birlie will grab their well earned diplomas in various disciplines and move on to new adventures and careers.

As quickly and efficiently as senior departure approaches, Coach Stone is beginning to add to her roster another highly skilled group of scholar athletes. As it stands at the moment, there are seven who have navigated the labyrinth of admissions and found worthy of acceptance not only as students but as members of the Lafayette field hockey team. Most are from New Jersey and Pennsylvania but at least one will come from as far away as the Netherlands. They are all stars in the classroom, and on the playing field. Many have known championships, and recognized for their athletic skills, but they are also talented students as well.

They have chosen to play in the Patriot League, known for its commitment   to having representative student athletes on the field. The first six have been identified through social media and one has given her commitment and will be announced in April during the next signing day. Lafayette and Coach Stone will announce the whole class at that time which could reach a total of eight by then.

However, the first six have been  named and a search of the internet gives me an unofficial peek at the this class. Here is the list with a short view of their athletic talents. No doubt there will be more information once the class is announced but this is what I have been able to glean so far.

First is Ana Buzzard from Haddenfield High School who captured the Central Jersey trophy, she was elected captain of her team.

Second is Cameron Costello who played for New Hope Solebury High School and Mystix field hockey club. She will see action in the attacking area or mid-field. She holds the school record for goals and points and also sports a 4.0 average in the classroom. She was Philadelphia area all-star.

Third is Jennifer DeLongis who  is from North Penn  was selected as an all league mid fielder who will add depth to the front line this coming fall

Fourth is Samantha DiMaio from Medham who had a strong 18-3 record,  ranking third in the state rankings in Group 3. Samantha scored 8 goals this year. She is a second team New Jersey Group 3 selectee.

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Sarah Park kicks the ball away

Fifth is Sarah Park a goalie, from Methatcon who sported a 86 percent save percentage this season. She is a highly sought after goalie who has had a strong high school career.

Caroline Turnbull is from Madison High School who had a 21-3 record and won the Group 2 title. Caroline has had 54 goals in her career and 38 assists. This year alone she scored 26 goals as she garnered first team State Group 2 honors.

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Caroline Turnbull shows her skill during the New Jersey State playoffs.

The seventh recruit has yet to be named, but she has committed and will be revealed in April with the whole class. This looks like a difference maker class that is used to winning and will add strength and depth all around.

The Leopards will return US under 21 team member Amanda Magadan, goalie Katlyn Arnold, defender Aliza Furneaux ( who really started to show her skill and ability this year). Rising Junior Ellen Colbourne returns with her speed and skill that often times attracts double and triple teams. Ami Turner will be a senior whose  distributions skills and intensity will impress opponents. Rosie Shanks is one of my favorite players, who finds a way to find the back of the cage is back for her Junior season as well. Cody Hunsicker will also be a junior was a regular, steadfast defender as that line will get a chance to learn to work together. Classmate  Kaitlynn Ewing will get spring playing time to refine her skills as well. In addition, there were a number of freshmen who I expect will have an impact, Kristen Taylor, Rachel Bird, Theresa Delahanty, and Adriana Pero will benefit no doubt from a strong spring experience.

Rising junior Meg Lillis had several starts and will no doubt see a lot playing time this spring and fall.  Liza Welch suffered leg injuries in her freshman year and will get a chance to show her skills this spring. Freshman goalie Gabrielle Ulery will also see more time in the cage this spring against division one competition.

I will stick my neck out and state that if this class is as good as I think it is the Leopards will not only qualify for the Patriot League tournament but could challenge for the League title and a spot in the national division one tournament. They will be deeper, well skilled, and there is speed to replace that asset lost to graduation. We will know more after the spring games and practices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lafayette Propels Into The Playoffs Behind Colbourne Goal And Arnold Saves

With only 27 seconds having run off the clock sophomore midfielder Ellen Colbourne sprinted down the sideline and headed to the circle. She took focus at the prize. Reversing her stick she launched a high shot reminiscent of a missile, as it streamed over the head of the Colgate goalie into the back of the cage. The Leopards were to follow that, during the 70 minute game with 19 more shots, a season high, but were stymied by 12 saves from the Colgate goalie, Maria Krull. The Leopards themselves came up with an outstanding defensive effort,  and Katelyn Arnold was to make key saves giving  her the third shutout of her career. After the game, Colbourne described her feelings scoring her first goal of season, and how excited she was to do it in front of her family, who had traveled all the way from Vancouver to witness her heroics

The game was typical of a Colgate/Lafayette struggle. Three years ago in the playoffs the Leopards had to get beyond the Colgate Raiders to reach the Championship game in an overtime struggle that ended in a 4-3 victory. That season ended with rings for everyone, when the foliowing day the Leopards played a second overtime game to win the championship. Last season Colgate put the hammer to Lafayette’s hopes for a championship in a one-nil game where Lafayette was to have over twenty shots to only low single digit shots for Colgate. Lafayette lost 1-0. The team was looking forward to this chance to avenge that loss but, it was to take a stout defense from the team and Katelyn Arnold’s key saves to bring home the win. The game ended with two Colgate corners with no time on the clock. The team was able to turn them away and preserve the victory.

Hannah Millen shows her offensive skill against a Colgate defender
Hannah Millen shows her offensive skill against a Colgate defender

The win put Lafayette into the Patriot League playoffs as a third seed. All week, fans were using the best of their math and logic skills to envision a path to Boston and a chance for a championship. Lehigh was to make the calculations easy as they defeated Holy Cross 2-1 in a game that started one hour before Lafayette’s game. This left Holy Cross 2-3 in the league and on the bad side of tie breakers. In the end, the Leopards were to put talk of tie breakers aside as the Holy Cross defeat got the Leopards the last place on won/loss record alone,  ending their regular season league campaign at 3-3 and firmly getting their ticket punched for a playoff spot. As they were tied with Bucknell, a Buckell loss to American during the afternoon moved Lafayette to the third seed on the basis of a head to head win against Bucknell earlier in the season. So the season has not ended for our heroes, and a trip to Boston to meet the American Eagles in an afternoon contest on friday for the Patriot League semi-finals is in the offing.

The Lafayette corner offense sprints into action
The Lafayette corner offense sprints into action

The team was not to learn of their fate until after the game when Coach Stone announced it. Hugs and cheers were the result. The regular season is not over as Lafayette is to play Yale in a non-conference finale this afternoon. It is also senior day, as the six seniors cap their careers with their last home appearance in a Lafayette uniform. I usually highlight the careers of the seniors at this point, but since there is still hockey to be played I will leave that until after the final game is played.

Lafayette Falls 3-2 In Key Match-up, Official Calls Remarkable 10 Minute Yellow Card At Key Moment

I have been writing this blog on this format and for a newspaper for years. I have also been an observer of college division one field hockey for 25 years, and yesterday I observed something I have never seen in the hundreds of games I have attended, including games ranging all levels of skill. At 58:30 into this important game an official called her first card of the day of a generally well played match. It was a yellow card against Hannah Millen,  Lafayette’s key defender and captain. OK, stuff happens, and the card was a judgment call. But then we found out she had assigned her a 10 minute penalty! Meanwhile Millen would not return until 1;30 was left, which she did, and scored on a penalty stroke. However, in the meantime Holy Cross was to score using the  extra player advantage which they had for almost the remainder of the final period.

I would assume a ten minute card would be reserved for the most egregious foul, with perhaps a player on the ground. Not so, as you will see in the enclosed video. You make the call. Games are better played when officials do not become part of the outcome. In this case this official became a factor in the eventual result. Not good, especially at this level. It was the first yellow of the game and only second card of the entire game which included a green for Holy Cross.

I don’t want to take anything from Holy Cross who played an inspired second half scoring 3 goals to win and stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, but there are 22 contestants on the field and it should be decided there.

Ami Turner breaks upfield in the first half
Ami Turner breaks upfield in the first half

Lafayette started off strong scoring after only seconds were run off the clock in the first period on a corner with a Magadan strike via a Turner to Millen assist. Things looked good for the Leopards as they used the speed of Ellen Coulbourne and Kendall Weedling to advance the ball upfield into scoring position . However, Lafayette had several scoring chances thwarted by Inch, the Holy Cross goalie.

Kendall Weedling cover all angles
Kendall Weedling cover all angles

The second half saw Colbourne double and triple teamed as the Crusaders during halftime planned to take away the Leopards speedy weapon. Having only gotten 4 corners in the first half Holy Cross managed to get 10 corners in the second and at one time 4 corners succeeding in a row were called against the Leopards. The Crusaders were tenacious guarding Lafayette closely and taking advantage of opportunities. Mauren Conolly was active scoring two goals in the second period while Michelle McNeil was to get the go ahead goal on a corner at 55:51. The all important insurance goal was made at 59:58 after the 10 minute yellow.

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Ellen Colbourne speeds up the field with a phalanx of Maroon and White

The game ended on Millen’s goal on a stroke called with five seconds remaining highlighting the importance of that insurance goal assuring there would be no overtime.

So where does that leave Lafayette and Holy Cross now rivals for the fourth and final playoff spot? Lafayette’s hopes lie in a three way tie in the league. If Lafayette, Holy Cross and Bucknell win their next games against Colgate, Lehigh and American respectively there would be a two way tie between Holy Cross and Lafayette and Holy Cross wins the tiebreaker based on head to head competition. If all three lose the same applies. If Holy Cross loses and Lafayette wins Lafayette wins on league record. However the most likely result, a Bucknell loss, and wins by Holy Cross and Lafayette presents us with a three way tie and this is the way it is broken according to the League with all three teams at 3-3. ” If there is a tie between Bucknell, Lafayette, and Holy Cross where all three team are 3-3 in the Patriot League, the teams would remain tied through head to head,and have the same breakdown within the League standings. There is no common opponent between the three, so the next step would be goal differential between the tied teams, In that case Bucknell and Lafayette would be +1 and Holy Cross would be -2. So Bucknell and Lafayette would make it the League tourney in that three way tie. Then we would look at goal differential in all league games to determine the 3/4 slot.”

So you got all that. To the players. just win and what will be will be. And I have become an American fan against Bucknell just for next week!!

The Leopards Still Control Their Own Destiny After 5-2 Loss To American

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Ami Turner introduces herself to an Ameican Eagle counterpart

The American Eagles came right out as expected with a high energy game and sprinted ahead of the Leopards, building a 3-0 lead in the first half. Getting behind early was not in the Leopards game plan as American was to use 23 fresh players during the game to keep Lafayette from coming back. The first three goals came after out shooting the Leopards 10-0 during that half and 5-0 advantage in penalty corners. Two of the three first half goals were off penalty corners . The Leopards were to close the gap early in the second period as Rosie Shanks was to get off a diving shot after a feed from Ami Turner with only 1:11 gone on the clock. But American was to respond with two goals of their own, the first coming 6  minutes later followed by another 3  minutes later. The last goal of the game was scored by Hannah Millen with two minutes to play on a penalty stroke.

Kendall Weedling's stick gets the attention of an American defender
Kendall Weedling’s stick gets the attention of an American defender

As I mentioned in a previous article the Leopards could win a place in the tournament by beating two of their last three opponents including American. Bucknell beat Holy Cross and now the Leopards need only to win next Saturday at Rappolt Field to secure their place in the post season. If they were to lose and still beat Colgate it would then go to a complicated series of tie breakers between three teams if Bucknell were to also lose to American. The tiebreakers might include everything including head to head outcome within the patriot league, relative scores, outcomes against out of conference opponents and even a coin flip.

Aliza Furneaux looks downfield as she carries the ball into American's half of the field
Aliza Furneaux looks downfield as she carries the ball into American’s half of the field

So ladies, just win next Saturday and put an end to it. It’s that simple.

After the game I was treated to Birthday wishes from the team and their moms and dads. I consider them my second family, so combined with felicitations from my own family, the good wishes were well appreciated by this now 70 year old body. Many thanks.

Bill Rappolt

There IS Only One Thing To Think About For The Next Five Days, BEAT LEHIGH

We are now into the meat of the Patriot League Schedule. So far, with a loss to Boston University, we are 0-1 in the League. Lehigh is 0-2, Holy Cross is 1-1, Colgate is 0-2 , Bucknell is 1-0, American and Boston University are 2-0. With a seven team league, 3 losses is virtual elimination in the four team tournament to decide the league championship.  So for the team,forget about past games, this is a must win game. A win keeps us in the hunt and probably eliminates Lehigh and that’s always a good thing

So we arrive at Lehigh’s field on Saturday and for 70 minutes we must tackle like demons, follow the ball, run like this a championship game, make every touch of the ball count and find ways to get to the circle and finish. And there is the fact;

Beating Lehigh is so much fun!!!! So bring your best game because Lehigh will bring theirs. Eleven o’clock on Saturday…bring it!!          GO PARDS!!

Reasons why we need to beat Lehigh:

  1. Their colors are brown and white..( who picks colors like that)
  2. They stole the sword from Lafayette’s statue sixty years ago and it still ticks me off.
  3. Their football fans are rude
  4. They are only 18 miles from Lafayette and that offends me
  5. They used to be called the engineers and now they are called the Mountain Hawks ( Is there even such an animal, I think its actually an eagle??)
  6. Their campus can’t be seen from Rt 22 unlike our school which is majestically visible as you arrive in Easton
  7. I don’t like their football team, basketball team or any other of their teams

Replies from all sorts of fans:

  1. Because WE like to paint Your leopard Brown and White

Lafayette Bows To Number Five Ranked Albany 3-1

Goleopards.com captures Ami Turner and team celebration after goal in the second period
Goleopards.com captures Ami Turner and the team celebration after her goal in the second period

The Albany Danes used only two substitutes as they depended on two first period goals and a third goal in the final period to prevail in a game with the Lafayette Leopards. Before a crowd of over 500 fans ( the largest of the season), the Leopards battled, hoping to outlast a skilled Dane attack and perhaps the best player in country Paula Heuser from Monchengladback, Germany. Heuser put on a clinic on the drag flick as she scored two goals, one in each period to lead the Danes in a three to one hard fought contest.

Meg Lillis shows strong skills during the first period
Meg Lillis shows strong skills during the first period

The Leopards had hoped to use their defense to stop the Dane offense for most of the game, to allow the deep bench of the Leopards to gain an advantage in the second period. It did work to an extent, as the Leopards were to use 6 players from their bench to get 4 of their five shots in the second half, only to be countered with five shots by Albany. The whole game saw Albany get a total 8 shots to the Leopards 5. The difference perhaps was the ability of Albany to get 8 corners to Lafayette being shut out with the officials not seeing a penalty inside the circle against Albany all game.

Amy Turner and Hannah Millen provide defense during the early minutes
Ami Turner and Hannah Millen provide defense during the early minutes

Ami Turner was to provide some excitement for Leopard fans, with about seven minutes to go by diving for the ball late in the game in the middle of the circle.  Seeing an Albany player out of position she was able to flick the ball over a Dane defender’s head and into the cage to close the deficit to  two.

Lafayette’s center back was injured after receiving a blow to the head from a stick, after a shot. The official needed to stop  play as Hannah Millen was helped off the field with no penalty called. Hannah was not to be held out for many minutes of her senior season and returned to the game about five minutes later. Despite the after game ice pack I have no doubt the plucky center back will be in the lineup on Monday against Drexel.

It has been a dreary three games as the Leopards have endured the toughest part of their schedule, but not their most important part. Lessons learned in the last week will no doubt be applied against a 1-5 Drexel squad and an all important league game against arch rival Lehigh next Saturday at Lehigh. Fans will be looking for some of that  offensive cohesiveness that carried them to their 5 wins earlier. The season is now half over and a winning sprint I believe could be in offing.

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The crowd was sprinkled with a fair number of fans from youth field hockey leagues from Forks Township, who put on a display of skills at halftime for an appreciative crowd.

The next game is at Drexel at 7pm on Monday.

It’s All On Penalty Corners And A Penalty Stroke As Neither Side Can Find A Goal From The Field In 3-1 Loss for the Leopards

Amanda Magadan chases down a lose ball against Boston University
Amanda Magadan chases down a lose ball against Boston University

Lafayette could not find consistent control of the ball, while Boston could not score from the field in a game where penalties played a huge role in the scoring chances. Both teams battled for 28 1/2 minutes before the first goal was scored. It was on a penalty corner by Boston University which from my viewpoint, and others should have been disallowed. During a penalty corner after the ball is inserted. the ball must exit the circle first. Then a shot can be taken once it is reinserted by the stopper.  From my angle it looked like the ball never exited the circle. A review of the play by the streaming video was not obvious because of the angle. So, the Leopards retired to the sidelines during the first half with a 1-0 deficit staring them in the face.

Rosie Shanks and Meg Lillis surround Ellie Landsman of Boston University
Rosie Shanks and Meg Lillis surround Ellie Landsman of Boston University

At 43:38 a penalty stroke was called by the official, because in her judgement the goalie took out the attacking player while not making a play on the ball. The judgement call resulted in a penalty stroke and Boston’s second goal of the game. The final goal for Boston came on a less controversial play, although again on a penalty corner, which seemed to ricochet off  a Lafayette stick into the goal at 46:38.

Ami Turner closes in against Boston University
Ami Turner closes in against Boston University

It was then after a timeout by coach Stone, the Leopards came to life, pressing, and moving the ball with more alacrity. They started to find open receivers and threatened several times. Finally at 57:56 into the game on a penalty corner of their own, Amanda Magadan got a feed from Rosie Shanks and Kirby Szalkowski at the top of the circle and blasted a beautiful shot to the goalie’s left lower corner.

Leopard fans were hopeful with 12 minutes left there would be a miracle finish to make it a good day. But despite several good attempts including another penalty corner, time expired and Lafayette could not get the satisfaction of closing the gap.

Kirby Szalkowski turns ball around against Boston University
Kirby Szalkowski turns ball around against Boston University

The closing statistics were hardly conclusive with Lafayette having 7 shots to Boston’s 11, four corners to Boston’s 3 and 2 saves to Boston’s 3.

This is certain to be a game Lafayette would want to play again and they might, if they get to the Patriot League playoffs. Boston is a very solid team and Sofi Laurito is the real deal. I did see improvement from Lafayette. especially in the second half and no doubt by the end of the season they will be even better, but Boston is a team that is justifiably  ranked in the top twenty and one that mistakes cannot be made against, or you will pay a price. This was the best team we have played this year, so far.

The Leopards now move on to the number one ranked team and defending national champion, UConn tomorrow at 2pm.