Half Way Through The Season

Lafayette played their 10th game on Sunday and they are more than half way through the regular season. I thought I would revisit the pre-season SID and Coaches picks, and compare them to my initial impressions.

Right now the Patriot League standings are Lafayette first at 2-0 and 5-5 overall, American is 1-0 and 5-4 overall, Bucknell is 1-1 and 5-4 overall, Boston is 1-1 and 3-5 overall, Lehigh is 1-1 and 5-4 overall, Holy Cross is 1-1 and 4-4 overall while Colgate is 0-2 and 2-8 overall.

The Lafayette defense is in fine form as we all have seen, but the offense is starting to catch fire with 2.3 goals per game average against a 1.9 gpg average after 10 games. Impressive!!! In addition it is being done with arguably the League’s highest strength of schedule.

As predicted, I believe and continue to believe that Lafayette is strong enough be at or near the top of standings at the end of the regular season. Boston has hit a rough patch which make this weekend’s home game with Lafayette important to both. Like Boston, American has probably performed worse than expected in the out of conference games, but last Sunday’s  win against Bucknell proves as far as the Patriot League is concerned they are ready to compete.

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Corner defense goes to work

Looking at the ratings American enjoys an RPI of 28, Lafayette a 29, Boston is at 41, Bucknell at 48, Lehigh at 56, Holy Cross 60 and Colgate at 69. One of the interesting numbers, is Lafayette’s strength of schedule which stands at a league high of 20. When I first took a look at the schedule, it looked like an average schedule if you used last year’s RPI. As it turned out, the out of conference schedule proved to be a challenging one. Also our two scrimmages with Albany and Fairfield turned out to be against two current top 25 teams.

My one surprise was Colgate, who had a lot of returning veterans, but at the moment are having a tough season. Lehigh is still dangerous, especially for Lafayette, when the two meet on a Friday night in a renewal of the intense rivalry.  However, a win this Saturday for the Leopards, against Boston would be a big step toward post season opportunities. More about that tomorrow. Lehigh hosting American has obvious interest. Colgate will make the trip to Holy Cross in an attempt to stay in the hunt for a post season berth. A loss could be devastating to their chances.

Lafayette Defeats Number 25 Monmouth In Double Overtime

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Lisa van der Geest delivers the ball downfield

McAndrews Scores The Winning Goal In Overtime

In probably the most exciting game of the season to date, the Leopards stood tall, and in a combination of a good game plan by Coach Stone and her staff, great execution by the players on the team, and some outstanding individual effort the Leopards overcame fatigue, and an worthy opponent to win 2-1.

The winning goal from Molly McAndrews, last year’s rookie of the year, finished a bruising and hot afternoon of field hockey in the second overtime, as each team looked for an advantage in the 7 v 7 format. The winning goal came from a feed from team captain Lisa van der Geest. ” I saw Molly open in front of the cage and I could see she wanted the ball. I was able to get it to her on a one timer and she finished.”  Van der Geest, who last year received all-American honors , switched to center mid, after conferring with head coach Stone several minutes before, and it was that change that was to put the Leopards on track for the win.

Cameron Costello Gets The Tying Goal

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Cam Costello drives past a Monmouth defender

It was Costello’s first goal of the season that put the Leopards in position to get into overtime. Monmouth had scored 13:04 into the game and the tie stood up through the first half. However, four and half minutes into the second half Cam found the ball during a scrum and got the unassisted goal tying the game. The tie was to remain  for the  rest of regulation time, setting up the overtime.

Park Makes Multiple Strong Saves

Park had 3 saves during the contest, but more to the point, they were crucial if not spectacular, coming out from the cage and cutting off potential attackers before they could get off a shot. In addition, Audrey Sawers playing defense had a defensive save as well!!!

The defense was evident as they were to turn away Monmouth again and again, as they tried to mount an attack.The Leopards had 16 shots to Monmouth’s 10 shots. They had 7 shots to Monmouth’s 2 in overtime alone. Lafayette had 10 corners to Monmouth’s 3, including a 3-0 edge in corners during the overtime.

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Sydney Woolston is part of the stout Leopard defense!!

This was the first win over a ranked opponent since 2016 according to goleopards. The Leopards will now move on to Boston to play league pre-season favorite Boston University in Boston on Saturday. The Terriers lost to UConn today 4-0. On Sunday, the Leopards will have another back to back weekend playing another game with Bryant, at Brown in Rhode Island. No doubt the team will have  put this weekend’s triumphs behind them as they prepare for this important league game.

Lafayette Goes 2-0 In Patriot League Play After 4-0 Win Against Colgate..Van Der Geest Gets Two Goals In Win!!

 

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Lafayette wasted little time lighting up the scoreboard on the southwest corner of the field with a strike by Molly McAndrews assisted by Anna Steps 2:45 into the game. The goal was preceded by strong play, and control of the tempo against the Colgate Raiders. Whenever Colgate seemed to take control of the ball, the Leopards were there, with  tackles, and subsequent power, to drive the ball past the 25  into the circle. In  fact, the Leopards scored three more times during the half. The second goal occurred at 14:57, as Lisa van der Geest scored her first goal of the season off a corner assisted by Simone Hefting, and Anna Steps.  It was a typical Van der Geest rocket  set up by her countryman and stopper Simone Hefting.

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Grace Angelella speeds down the middle of the field

The Leopards would have to wait for the second quarter, when at 18:34  Caroline Turnbull delivered for her team. Van der Geest was in on the goal, as she assisted Turnbull for her 3rd goal of the season.  Van der Geest found the back of the cage later in the half with her second goal of the game and year,  assisted again by Hefting and Steps.

The stats for the half tell the whole story.  The Leopards had 9 shots in the half to 0 shots for Colgate. In addition, the “Pards” had nine penalty corners to Colgate’s one. In fact Colgate was to generate only 2 shots the whole game and Sara Park didn’t have to make a save all game.

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Cam Costello pursues the ball

The 4 goal first half was enough to get the win, and Colgate was able to slow the scoring with renewed aggressiveness, and one on one play. In many cases the Leopards were so anxious to continue their domination in the game, they often were ahead of passes and rushed their offense sets. However, they did get an additional 6 shots in the second half and 3 more penalty corners.

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Molly McAndrews, Lisa van der Geest and Caroline Turnbull account for 4 goals

The defense had a good day turning Colgate away, and the first half transition game was awesome. Give Colgate credit, they never gave up, but the Lafayette defense was to stymie them for 60 minutes. Early on, they tried to press but Lafayette was to break that up, which led to scoring opportunities and circle penetration. Going to a zone defense did slow the Leopards a bit, but they adjusted, but  couldn’t find the shots to find the back of the cage during the second half. The Colgate goalie was forced to make 7 saves.

 

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I was delighted for Lisa van der Geest get her first goals of the season after several close chances earlier in this year. However, this was a team effort as 18 of the 24 players make it on to the turf.

In other Patriot League action, American beat Bucknell 3-1, and Holy Cross held off Lehigh  4-2. This leaves Lafayette on top of the League undefeated, followed by 1-0 American, 1-1 Bucknell, Lehigh, Boston and Holy Cross, and 0-2 Colgate.

The Leopards will face their 3rd top 25 team in Monmouth tomorrow at home at 2 pm. They also had two other pre-season games with top 25 credentials.

Colgate Arrives On Saturday

It’ll be homecoming at Lafayette this week end and what better time to have a Patriot League matchup at home. Last year, Raiders made a spirited and motivated effort against the Leopards as they jumped off to a 2-0 lead. The final winning goal was not delivered by Lafayette until the fourth quarter which ended in a 5-4 win for Lafayette. This game is just as important this year for both teams. It falls into to the category of a must win game.

The Raiders are 2-6 and Lafayette is 3-5 but the internals are more revealing. The most revealing are the respective RPI’s and SOS’s.  Lafayette’s RPI is 31 and Strength of Schedule is 14 out of 78 teams. Conversely Colgate has an RPI of 68 out 78 and a SOS of 64.

 

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Grace Angelella is swarmed by the Colgate defense

Lafayette played their last game at Cornell on Monday and Colgate had their last game on  Sunday with Syracuse…both were losses. More importantly Colgate lost to PL rival Lehigh 2-1 and Lafayette beat Holy Cross on 8-0 last Saturday.  I am not arguing to forget the current records, but these PL games have an added importance in that it can provide a second chance for a championship!! In terms of specifics, Colgate has scored 14 goals 6 of which were scored by 3 each from Taylor Cassmass and Nichole Salamone. Lafayette has scored 17 goals 4 from Sam DiMaio and 3 from Felicitas Hannes. Save percentage for Colgate is 67 percent and Lafayette is 70 percent.

Colgate is certainly under the gun, but a loss for Lafayette would be disappointing and have implications for chances to get into the playoffs. Colgate proved last year it can be competitive, but Lafayette should be well prepared, rested and motivated. However, Lafayette should not be overconfident…this is an important game. Disappointingly, it will not be televised. I hope we see a “sea” of Leopard fans in their seats!!!

Cornell Comes Out On Top 4-1

Cornell had not played a game in eight days, and has yet to play a league game. The Leopards played their first league game on Saturday, and it looked like Cornell took full advantage of the prep time to take advantage of miscues by the visiting Leopards. Lafayette took the unusual Monday bus ride to Ithaca for the second time in as many years, but if they are to be successful they may have to play as many games in same number of days in the playoffs.

Despite the wind and rain Lafayette took 17 shots versus 5 for Cornell, had 6 corners vs 1 for Cornell, and had a.penalty stroke that was not successful. The score of course is the only stat that counts making those 4 goals on 5 shots all the more interesting.

The game was played in the rain with about 50 fans on the stands. It was the smallest crowd of the year to watch a Leopard game, home or away. In any case, the Leopards left the field 3-5 while Cornell faces their first League game at 3-1.

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Molly McAndrew, Audrey Sawer and Jen DeLongis close on Colgate

The first quarter was to foretell the outcome of the game, as Cornell was to take advantage two errant passes to steal the ball and find an opening and score at 6:50 and 12:55 in that quarter. That 2-0 score was to remain at the half. After the halftime break, it looked like the Leopards were to mount a comeback when Sam DiMaio had a nice shot that scored the Leopard’s first goal two minutes into the 3rd quarter. That 2-1 score would remain for all of one minute when Cornell again would score making it 3-1.

With less than eight seconds left in the 3rd period Molly McAndrews was taken out by the GK and the GK was called for not going for the ball, and the Leopards were awarded a penalty stroke. Lisa Van der Geest attempted the shot, but was to be denied by the Cornell  GK leaving the score 3-1.

Cornell was to finish the scoring 2 minutes into the 4th quarter. making it 4-1.

The Leopards will now begin preparation for their league game this Saturday against Colgate, in another must win game. That will be followed on Sunday with a game from the very accomplished Monmouth team at 2 pm. ( broadcast on LSN). The Colgate game will mark the 1/2 point in the regular season for the Leopards and will be homecoming for the College.

Lafayette Shows They Are For Real In 8-0 Win Against Holy Cross

The Leopards displayed every weapon in their arsenal and put the league on notice that they are ready. Twenty-one players make it onto the turf getting goals from 7 different players with 34 shots to only 7 from the Crusaders. The leopard defense was a stone wall as Sarah Park collected her first career shut out. There was no doubt the Leopards were ready to play as Grace Angelella got the first shot of the game with only about a minute having rolled off the clock.

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However, it wasn’t until the second quarter when 19:52 had been expended on the clock that Molly McAndrews collected a rebound and scored the first of her 2 goals for game. The pressure on Holy Cross’ excellent goal keeper was not to let up as the Leopards were to collect 19 shots in the first half.

Scoring was to reignite in the second half as Felicitas Hannes used a rebound to notch Lafayette’s second goal of the game. With that breathing room and an excellent half time analysis by Coach Stone, the offense began to click on all cylinders as we had been waiting to see all season. At 41:34 Sophie Carr deflected a pass from the left and lit up the scoreboard in the 3rd quarter to make it 3-0.  Caroline Turnbull followed a minute later on a corner assisted by Ana Steps with the 4th goal of the contest.

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In the 4th quarter the Leopards continued to roll as Sam DiMaio got revenge for a near goal that hit the post by using a deflection to score on a pass from Hannes. Audrey Sawers got in on the action with a hard shot from the right at 53:22. The eighth and final goal was to come from Hanna Lewis with her first collegiate goal at 57:15.

Head Coach Stone got as many as she could into the came and by my count had 21 players on the field for this Patriot League opening game.

The Leopards will travel to Cornell to meet a strong Ivy League rival on Monday evening.  This will give Cornell plenty to think about. Next, the Raiders from Colgate will come to town for the Leopards second league matchup. Colgate lost to Lehigh 2-1 as Lehigh came from behind in the last 4  minutes to win the game. Bucknell surprised Boston with a 1-0 win in Boston.  American also lost, to UC Davis 1-0 on Thursday not playing a PL team this week.

We missed all the live action, as Pam and I are at a family wedding in beautiful Santa Cruz, Ca., but we were cheering every goal and stop, as we followed along with livestats. We supplemented it with some description from Leopard fans who were there. Go Pards.

Lafayette to Greet Holy Cross On Saturday At One PM

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Lexi Tilton has 3 goals this year

Lafayette and Holy Cross will meet at Rappolt Field to open their Patriot League Schedule  on Saturday. Recently, this has been a crucial game for both teams in regards to a playoff position. There are seven teams in the Patriot League and four will qualify for post season action. So, to assure a place at the end of the Patriot League season a team must have four League wins in all probability. Recently these games between the Crusaders and Leopards have been very competitive, and both teams will be pulling out all the stops to win this game.

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Lisa van der Geest chases down Richmond attacker

Holy Cross loves to fast break, and the Leopards have displayed a strong wall on defense. Holy Cross, at 2-3, has their two wins against first year Division One team Merrimac and 1-6  Sacred Hart. Interestingly, Holy Cross had 62 shots combined in these two games out of the 101 taken so far this season. Their shot percentage is 8 percent. Their loses have been to Northeastern, New Hampshire, and Dartmouth. Their highest goal total was against Merimac in a 3-0 effort with senior Lexi Tilton (number 4), their leading scorer, getting the hat trick! They have scored 8 goals in their five games.

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Corner defense goes to work

It would appear Lafayette has played the tougher schedule, with  Field Hockey Corner scoring the Leopards with second toughest schedule in Division one to date. Holy Cross was ranked 76/78 in strength of schedule to date. The other Field Hockey Corner stats has Lafayette at 44 vs 66 for Holy Cross in ACR, and 21 vs 74 in RPI.

It has been defense, that has been the hallmark of Lafayette’s record to date. They have played two ranked teams, Syracuse and Liberty. Losing in overtime to Syracuse, and Liberty  5-0 in Lynchburg on Sept 8. The other two loses were at the hands of Appalachian State and Providence in a shootout.  Lafayette’s two leading scorers are Sam  DiMaio and Felicitas Hannes, each with two goals.

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Simone Hefting, Patriot League rookie of the week

Lafayette’s shot percentage is 12 pct while Holy Cross is 8 pct as I recorded up above. Holy Cross has 36 penalty corners in five games, Lafayette has 27 in six games. No doubt, the coaching staff at Holy Cross likes to attack and set the tempo early. Lafayette runs a structured and disciplined game. Fans will appreciate  that the early going will  prove to be crucial and a good start by either team, will be critical to a win.

Unfortunately. it appears there will be no live stream . So come on out. An army of Leopards  in the stands could make the difference in this important game.