Kelsey Gula, from the class of 2014, has agreed to provide the color commentary for the fall broadcasts of home field hockey games of the Lafayette Leopards. The broadcasts are carried by the Patriot League Network which provides play by play in high definition for all Patriot League contests and other home games. Fans get to view the games via computer if they wish.
Kelsey is a a senior underwriter for Cigna, a major insurer in Philadelphia and she has agreed to provide expert analysis of the game as it is broadcast from Rappolt Field. Kelsey played in virtually every game of her career and started every game her senior season. Gula was a co-captain in that senior season. During her career she helped the Leopards to two consecutive Patriot League championships and two appearances in the NCAA championship tournament. During her time on the team, the Leopards received its highest national ranking ever of seventh in the nation.
Kelsey was a dual major at Lafayette majoring in art and economics. While at Lafayette she took courses in film and media and appeared in several broadcasts, including broadcasts on PBS devoted to current event issues. Kelsey continued to connect with the college after her graduation in 2014, attending alumni events and helping in career nights devoted to helping current team members in their career choices and searches.
Kelsey was recently elected to the Board of the Friends of Field Hockey. She is active in local charities. She lives near and stays connected to her former teammates. Kelsey’s expert commentary adds a new feature to the Field Hockey broadcasts. Both Coach Stone and the PLN team that broadcasts the games are delighted to have Kelsey on board and so will the fans!!
For many college field hockey fans we are entering the vast empty space of the summer doldrums, but ironically this is the period where champions get made or fail. In the coming weeks, there will be final exams, graduations and all that entails for young people at this time in their lives. However, there will also come the preparation for the coming season. They will soon receive training packets from the coach. Diligence to that sort of preparation is not only for them but a responsibility to their teammates. There will be only two weeks of extensive training starting August 11th and an exhibition game with Rutgers University six days after reporting on August the 17th.
For our first year student athletes there will be additional readings and class selections as well for their first academic semester as a college student. Yes, the summer is time to decompress a little but the next chapter can creep up with increasing speed. It is an exciting time filled with anticipation,trepidation and preparation. Each new team member will have already received contacts from the current team. Many current team members will remain in the area and captains practices will be scheduled. It would not surprise me to hear that many will arrive at Lafayette earlier than the 11th to practice and bond on their on.
Having gone through this as a student ( eons ago) and a parent ( a little less than eons ago) it is like turning a page and a different mindset is required especially for our first years. For the veteran teammates also,it will mark a period where they will take on new roles as leaders. For coaches there is preparation as well. College sports demands a 24/7 perspective, preparing for current contests, near future contests and recruiting for the following year. It is my understanding Jennifer has already received some interesting commitments for 2017.
For the team that reports for preseason, there will be several new changes, there will be new uniforms, new plays and strategies to learn, and an additional assistant coach. Hopefully, the team will have already been practicing together without coaches, attending and even instructing young players at camps and clubs. There will be high performance organizations, and for Amanda Magadan several international competitions with the US Team.( The first will be a game with Chile at the “Nook” on May the 20th).
Also congratulations to several members of the team on their academic successes, Katelyn Arnold our excellent rising senior goalie was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a national honor society for the best scholars in US colleges and universities, and Aliza Furneaux , our rising senior defender and chemical engineering major who has received a prestigious internship with the EPA this summer based on her academic work. There will be many as well who will make Dean’s list. When their final grades are posted, I will post them here when it is made known.
So perhaps the summer doldrums are not so dull after all!!
Several weeks ago I wrote about the objectives of the spring season for a division one field hockey team. Yesterday, April 23rd, marked the final competition for the Leopards and the Lafayette coaching staff can say “mission accomplished.” That doesn’t mean everything is ready for opening day August 28th, or even for the beginning of preseason two weeks earlier but these last weeks has certainly given the players an opportunity to sharpen their skills, and coaches a chance to evaluate players in new positions and roles.
In my opinion only, there were two players who took the most advantage of their playing time this spring, rising junior Kaitlynn Ewing, and rising sophomore Rachel Bird. Ewing scored the most goals this spring, so many in fact I’ve lost count. She has found a way to be in position to score with the result, scoring at least seven goals this spring including two yesterday. She obviously spent the winter getting ready, while earning the “Iron Leopard” award for her efforts. Her strength and conditioning showed as she was able to get most of her goals in close in the middle of opponents.
Rachel was able to demonstrate her big hits from the backfield. Not only is she able to hit the ball with strength but with tremendous accuracy. No doubt her efforts playing for her club team in Barcelona this winter enabled her to sharpen her skills. Both Leopards showed their devotion to the sport by the work they put in and it showed on the field.
That is not to say the whole team didn’t show progress but it really wasn’t until yesterday that it came together with the games against Cornell and Lehigh. The return of Amanda Madagan from the junior US Team demonstrated her ability to lead and lift the team as was the return of several previously injured players.
Goal scoring was spread around, from Ewing to Magadan, Colbourne,and Hunsicker. Corner offense looked good and the Leopards didn’t allow themselves to be trapped in their defensive end, while executing several fast breaks using Colbourne’s speed and Magadan skills. They were able to set up several three on one. and three on two situations during the afternoon.
So, the 2016 edition of LCFH retires to the summer, but I still see a work in progress. Progress will happen because there will be hard work, training and hopefully playing the game during the off season. They face a daunting schedule this fall, and for the rising seniors their last chance for a Patriot League title. and a trip to the national tournament. The melding of the newest players begins soon. As has been the practice in previous summers, many of the players will get together for captains practices, and many will be playing on club teams. Amanda Madagan will of course be joining the US team with her game on May 20th against Chilean national team at the national training center at the “Nook” in nearby Lancaster,Pa.There will be little time in preseason to get in condition first in the preseason, so the coaches will have prepared a summer conditioning regime. Testing will easily tell whether they were diligent in their tasks.
Personally, I can’t wait to see the impact of the newest Leopards, who promise to be a very talented class. Lastly, there will be an additional assistant coach, who I have promised not to reveal her name, but she will bring her national team skills and international experience to bear on the Leopard practice field.
With some sadness, but certainly with anticipation we all have to wait 3 1/2 months see how it all works out!!
The 2015 edition of Lafayette Field Hockey met for the last time at the traditional annual banquet. Marking their four years at Lafayette, seniors, coaches, parents and teammates recalled and celebrated the accomplishments of these remarkable young women. The awards were many, four all patriot league selections, two all region selections, selection to the national senior all star game, numerous patriot league weekly awards, academic all patriot league selections, twelve selections to the patriot league honor roll, five selections the Division one national academic squad, and one selection as a 2015 NFHCA Scholar of Distinction.
The Leopards made it to the semi-finals of Patriot League championships based upon their league play during the season. But it was their off the field camaraderie that garnered much of the attention of speakers this afternoon. The program started off with welcoming remarks by head coach Jennifer Stone and the 2015 captains Hannah Millen and Amanda Magadan. After lunch I gave some brief remarks on the support given by the friends of field hockey, noting that the support was a testament to the esteem in which this programs held.
Coach Stone then gave a detailed recount of the season taking time to mention the seniors and their accomplishments and contributions. It was then the turn for the senior speaker, Abbey Stefanides. She gave an emotional and moving speech expressing what their time as a members of the team meant to them.
The Seniors as group recounted their 4 years with an inside lighthearted look of four years as a member of the Lafayette College Field Hockey team. The audience of parents, administrators and fans were all entertained. It was then the turn of the remaining team members and Katelyn Arnold to extend their best wishes to the senior class.
It was at this point the annual awards were handed out by Coach Stone. The award for academic excellence went to Katelyn Arnold…there is no better qualification than perfection in the classroom for Katelyn. The award for overall fitness, the Iron Leopard was given to Caitlyn Ewing. Paige Macrae received the Unsung Hero award for her outstanding contributions on the field that went unnoticed by the public. The award for the person who personified the ideals of program went to Katelyn Arnold. The coaches award was given to Abby Stefanides for her attitude and contributions to team morale. Last but certainly not least was the Rappolt MVP award which was given to Amanda Madagan.
As always the participants appreciated the afternoon which cemented the connections between the past and future for LCFH!
It was a reunion of champions as the 2012 -2014 champions step onto the turf again challenging the current leopards in the latest edition of an alumni game today April 16. Sixteen members of that team showed that many of their skills were still there as these spirited veterans played a competitive game with the current edition of Lafayette players. The game played was in two 25 minute halves demonstrating much of the skill that earned them their rings and a place in the NCAA national tournament.
Deanna DiCroce scored the lone goal for the alumni in the second half while the current team using skill and stamina to control the game, scored four goals on their own. Ellen Colbourne opened the scoring and Rosie Shanks added two goals in the first half. There was a fourth goal scored later, by Amanda Madagan freshly returned from the Junior Pan Am games.
We even saw many parents and fans of the alumni as they peppered the sidelines as nostalgia reigned. After the game the friends and teammates retired for celebrations on their own!!
The important thing was that friendships were renewed, camaraderie reignited and memories returned of a time several years ago when championships were earned.
If you are, or plan to play division one field hockey in college, a year round commitment is expected. If you really think you can play softball in the off-season neither your softball coach or your field hockey coach will be happy with you. Even during the winter, time will be taken up with training and teaching skills. At all times, most coaches will take fitness as a given. You cannot play the game and execute on the field if you are not fit.
Lafayette College has make the league playoffs more times than any other team in the league, they hold more individual league records, and is the only team at Lafayette that received top ten division one recognition in the last ten years. That does not come from hope but hard work. The legacy is an important one to the current team.
For those players who did not see a lot of playing time in the fall, the spring schedule is the opportunity to impress the coach and improve your game. The NCAA is very strict on the amount of hours you may spend on the field, so our coaches will expect players to be ready to learn and impress.
To that extent, games and competitions are constructed so that our coaches will be able to isolate individuals and give them every opportunity to show their skills. It is also an opportunity for our coaches to try various new combinations. Because a player played mid-field in the fall doesn’t necessarily mean you will be there in the spring. I have seen many athletic careers “blossom” in the spring at scrimmages and practice games. There are only two weeks in the summer that are available to make last minute adjustments and to see where the new first year players will fit in.
Each team develops their own personality, and as this year’s first year players have now been around for six months, the team dynamic on the field is beginning to manifest itself. Are scores of games that important? Not really, but hustle and performance are. Teamwork begins to form and there begins to be a sense as to where the strengths and weaknesses are.
Coaches are loath to exacerbate chronic injuries of established players. Why risk a player with whom you are already familiar for that extra goal in a meaningless scrimmage? On the other hand, every “new” team needs to learn how to win and coaches need to see “where the bottom is.” In other words, how much can they ask of their team.
One other benefit is to be able to see how competitors are doing relative to yourselves and any coach that says that’s not what they are doing out of the corner of their eye isn’t telling you the truth. Field Hockey as a college sport is different in that its off-season games and scrimmages are against other opponents as opposed to internal scrimmages like in football.
Lafayette has had one spring game and an indoor tournament. My grade at the moment would be “work in progress”. The indoor games occurred during the flu epidemic and the team played well, but short-handed. The one outdoor game was against a team that already had 5 games under their belt.
In my articles in the coming weeks, I will leave you with my personal impressions. I am not privy to our coach’s deliberations, however I do have a general impression as to what they are trying to accomplish. There will be a structured competition this week-end with fall competitors Lehigh and Colgate, along with a pretty good Cornell team. Each pair of teams will play three 25 minute segments against each other, along with a shoot out. Lehigh will bring their new coach to lead them, and Colgate has always shown up to play their best against Lafayette. I would hope to see progress at our home field and would be lying if I said I was indifferent to the outcomes. ( I said in the above paragraph that the score doesn’t matter, but I am a fan after all).
As I wrote last week I was impressed with Rachel Bird’s strength at centerback ( a concern with the loss of senior Hannah Millen). It was obvious Katelyn Ewing has been working hard in the offseason and it shows. I was interested in Ellen Colbourne’s adjustment to the center mid position. In general, I want to see how our rising sophomores are performing, now that they are getting on the field for more playing time. As they practice together with new players in new positions, I will be interested to see them recognize where there teammates are and their ability to deliver the ball to them. I didn’t get to see much in the way of corner offense last week, so I look forward to see more in that area.
No doubt once this very talented group of new first year students are added to the roster this summer, it adds another variable to the calculus. The full class will be announced about April 13th, after all of the signed commitments arrive. It will be a class of eight, and I sincerely believe Coach Stone may have the strongest first year class in the league this year. I will justify my comments once the entire eight are publicly named. As had occurred in past years much of the team will get together in captain’s practices without coaches this summer. The whole team will receive a fitness regimen for the summer as well. Woe to the player who doesn’t arrive in August ready to play. Meanwhile, I will be there on Saturday to witness and record our progress.
Addendum: Because of impending snow the 4 way scrimmages scheduled for Sat April 9 have been postponed….date to be decided!!! The NCAA only allows a finite number of practices and competitions during the spring so the challenge for the coaches is to reschedule and keep an adequate number of practices to have a quality scrimmage. Therefore there is an incentive to reschedule as early as possible. Next week is a tournament at Columbia so April 23rd seems like a logical alternative for everyone. Sunday, our field is occupied with a pre-scheduled high school event.
Amanda Magadan scored two goals off of penalty corners in tuesday’s Junior Pan Am Games in the eleventh and twenty ninth minute. Playing for the undefeated US team Amanda played in the first crossover game helping the team earn a decisive 11-0 victory. The team seems to be headed for a showdown with top ranked Argentina. But first they must get by the other teams in the Argentine group including Chile. Saturday April ninth will be the date for the final games.
Meanwhile Amanda’s Lafayette teammates will be hosting rival Lehigh along with Colgate and Cornell in Easton on the ninth starting at 10 am.
Lafayette College traveled to Philadelphia to meet the Owls of Temple University for their first outdoor game of the spring. In the last two weeks the Owls had already met the Blue Hens of Delaware, Villanova University, American University, Penn State and James Madison. They used all that experience in their Saturday afternoon clash with Lafayette building a 3-0 lead in the first half and adding two goals in the second half before the Leopards were able to score their first and only goal in regular time.
Midway through the second half Kaitlyn Ewing added to her indoor total of 5 goals by punching in the goal during a scramble in front of the cage. The Leopards looked rough around the edges as the advantage in game experience showed during the afternoon. The one offensive corner the Leopards had, never got going and the young Leopards throughout the afternoon had difficulty finding open receivers. There were moments however that showcased some of the work during the offseason. Ewing seems to be getting more comfortable as she gets more game experience. Rachel Bird playing the center back position showed promise using her strong hit, as she found her teammates and was able to propel the ball downfield with strength and accuracy.
Those players who were hampered with injuries last year like Liza Welch got a chance for extended playing time. The Leopard’s captain Amanda Madagan was away at the Junior Pan Am games and defender Theresa Delahanty was nursing sore shins, but was on the sidelines cheering on her teammates. Goalie Gabrielle Ulery also got experience playing the entire second half.
I have to admit, Lafayette can play better, but considering the circumstances of a first game vs five contests by Temple the relative performances of the two teams is understandable. There is no denying that work needs to be done, and that’s why we have coaches and I just write and observe. In any case, it is ironic that 2016 field hockey for Lafayette is bookended by Temple. Having played its first outdoor game with the Temple Owls, the Leopards and the Owls will meet again on Oct 30, the last regular season game this fall. That’s when it will count!!
Next Saturday will be at home and Lafayette will host games with Lehigh, Cornell, and Colgate.
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.
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.
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!!!