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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.