In an impressive display, the US under 21 team opened the Junior Pan games beating the host Trinidad-Tobago team 10-0. After an initial period of feeling each other out, the team began an onslaught of goals opening up a 5-0 lead by half time. Play did not slow down as the team scored an additional five goals to end the contest at 10-0. Amanda Magadan started for US side.
The US team will play Canada on Saturday at 2 pm. The top two teams will get invited to the Junior World Cup!!
In the inclosed video alumna Kelsey Gula explains how to use the experience as an athlete to sell yourself.
The Lafayette College Field Hockey Team boarded vans in Easton, this time not on their way to play a game, but to make connections with alumni and get advice on career planning and job hunting. Traveling to Philadelphia they arrived at about 6pm at the iconic 150 year old Union League. They were greeted by Jim and Tina Gula, parents of alumna Kelsey Gula and were treated to a tour of the venerable club. They toured the club, adorned with pictures of past US presidents and notable business leaders.
Meanwhile a group of alumni assembled in a nearby room to plan and organize the evening activities with head coach (and alumna) Jennifer Stone. The evening began when the current players arrived from their tour at 7 pm and were able to enjoy open networking and immediately were able to establish a friendly connection with their older cohorts. They then broke out into small discussion groups concentrating on specific topics, selling yourself, resume building, and being a successful female professional. Each alum was to share there experiences in entering the workforce and how they used their experience as a D-1 athlete to aid themselves.
The second part of the session was devoted to small group industry focus, Economics/Finance/ Business, Medical/Pharmaceuticals, Marketing/Sales/Fashion, Engineering, Education, Law. Each alumna was able to connect with players who had an interest in their field. There were doctors, lawyers, business people, engineers, and entrepreneurs who were able to explain life after their athletic careers and their journey following a four year Lafayette education.
The evening ended with an extended opportunity to network and more importantly connect to make new friends and mentors. It was clear both alumni and undergraduate enjoyed the evening.
Lafayette entered two teams into the Big Apple Tournament, but ran into an obstacle on the way to the Pottstown Pennsylvania site. Unfortunate for the team, four of the team members came down with a flu-like illness and a fifth is nursing a leg injury. That left coach Stone with ten healthy players to play six 40 minute games. If all had gone as planned, Lafayette would have played with two teams of six players with two substitutes. Coach Stone left the solution up to the players. Play all 6 games and forfeit three of the games since the original entries were not there, or play 3 games forfeiting the 3 games that would have been played. The players decided to take the hard way….play 240 minutes of hockey (6 games), shorthanded, practically back to back. What I saw was the determination and competitiveness that will represent Lafayette College in the fall.
The first two games were difficult, against nationally ranked Maryland and Albany. It was in the third game that they began to find their heart and skill. It was against McMaster University from Canada. They began with an early goal from defender Cody Hunsicker in the second minute of the game. Katelyn Arnold was magnificent in goal playing every minute. Sophomore Katilyn Ewing found the back of cage for the first of her four goals ( at least) during the day in the 19th minute, to seal a 2-0 victory.
The Leopards then moved on 10 minutes later to Rutgers University, playing a game that would officially be recorded as a forfeit, but was actually a 4-1 win. Hunsicker, Furneaux, and two more goals from Ewing were the highlights, in a strong overall game, which demonstrated a total team effort.
There was one more forfeit game with Drexel which I did not witness ,and was closely followed in 10 minutes ,with Rutgers’ second entry. Our Leopards managed 5 goals and tie at the end of regulation. Ewing got her fourth, Magadan another, Hunsicker with her third, Ellen Colbourne, and Ami Turner also got on the board by the end of regulation. Unfortunately, an overtime goal from Rutgers, as our team was playing past their 240th minute, gave Rutgers the win.
To me, this showed the heart that this team will bring to the turf in the championship season this fall, as the team personality has emerged. The next competition will be at Temple University in Philadelphia, outside on the turf. Hopefully Lafayette will be there with a full spring roster. Also the new recruiting class of eight will be announced very soon in April. They will certainly add to the depth and bring their own skill set to this courageous group.
Addendum: In the second day of the tournament, Lafayette, playing a remarkable 320 MINUTES OF HOCKEY over two days, lost to Rutgers 2-1. Colbourne scored to tie the game in the second half but Rutgers scored with seven minutes to go. Still, a remarkable effort for the Leopards this weekend!!!
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.
It is less than a month before the Lafayette field hockey team returns to actual competition. On March 5-6 they will participate in an indoor tournament at the home of the WC Eagles in Spring City, Pennsylvania. After that ( and hopefully a spring melt) they will again be on the turf for an outside game April 2nd in Philadelphia with Temple University. There will also be a “play day,” at Lafayette with many of the Patriot League teams on April 9th where we will get a peek at the rest of league for the first time in 2016.
Meanwhile, recruiting continues for our coaches, as it appears the final class will have eight or nine new “pards” to replace the six seniors who will be moving on to jobs or graduate school next fall. This is the time for our returning stalwarts to improve their skills as they get additional playing time in the spring. Process and preparation are paramount before the practical on field experience can be maximized.
It is at this point that the strength and conditioning staff play a key role in that preparation. Yesterday, I was on campus and decided to get a peek at a mid-week lifting session. Strength sessions occur three times a week with the Wednesday session being a “light day.” Sessions are scheduled at a time that fits the academic schedule of these student athletes, and it is typically filled with 4 or 5 field hockey players under the tutelage and watchful eye of Steve Plunkett, the Asst. Strength and Conditioning Coach. Steve is assigned to the Field Hockey team and is responsible for supervising the progress of the players, and to ensure they are ready to perform at the highest level. Steve is an athlete himself, having competed in the 140 mile Ironman Louisville Triathlon.
With a degree in Sports and Exercise Science, Steve uses the latest in technique and facilities to see that our players receive the greatest benefit while under his supervision. Each player is wired with a heart monitor to record their effort during the 45 minute session. He explained that it’s not his goal to make “weight lifters.” but to guide our young women and men in “sport specific” training to make them stronger and faster on the turf.
When asked what he concentrates on, he said in field hockey lower back exercises are important, since players spend most of their playing hours directing the ball with a stick in a bent position. However, he is also interested in the overall strength and endurance of every athlete.
I asked if he found differences coaching men or women. He said no, they tend to get competitive mostly as upperclassmen as they begin to realize the training is not necessarily to build large muscle mass but improve performance. But there are amazing accomplishments as he cited sophomore Kaitlyn Ewing’s squat exercise performance of nearly 200 pounds as a team leading effort.
During the afternoon I watched Adriano Pero, Liza Welch, Ellen Coulbourne and Kristen Taylor train under Steve’s watchful eye. Their performances and cardio-information were communicated by computer to the coaching staff to be reviewed individually and in team meetings later on.
Later in the day, the team had a meeting to review their overall progress and to participate in a classroom exercise reviewing and breaking down game films from last year. Breaking into smaller groups, field hockey strategies were discussed, which hopefully will make it easier to recognize opportunities during a game, improving the team’s performance.
Preparation is the key to success on the field and the Lafayette field hockey team is practicing all that to produce wins this fall. GO PARDS!!!
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!!!
Lafayette field hockey returns to the familiar surroundings of the College next week, along with their classmates, to begin classes for the spring semester. Unlike their friends who are not athletes, the team will begin its preparations for a spring season that will be a period of experimentation for the fall. The coaches will be evaluating their returning talent, and without the graduating seniors and new recruits, this will be a period of competition where many will see far more playing time than they did in the fall.
Many of our Leopards have not been wasting the December-January period but playing and honing their skill as well keeping fit. Spring is always a challenge that many of the youngest players have not seen before. However, upperclassmen as well have been hitting the turf to be the best they can be. Amanda Magadan is playing with the US under 21 team, getting ready for the Junior Pan Am games by playing against tough international competition. Freshmen Rachel Bird and Kristen Taylor spent early January in Barcelona playing with their Vancouver Team in the 68th Torneo de Reyes tournament. Kristen was the captain of her team leading them to a 1-1-1 record against teams from Holland, England,Belgium, and Spain.
This period can be extremely important especially for the younger players. Arriving on campus in shape and ready to play is extremely important. The first order of business will be conditioning, as the coaches plan to have the team ready to hit the turf in a month when the snow and ice leave the field. They will be using the field house in the meantime to play indoors, and Coach Stone has planned to attend an indoor tournament March 5-6 where the Leopards will meet against some of the top teams in the country, including Maryland and Syracuse. The indoor game, played on a hard floor with a different stick is faster than the outdoor version, but is a welcome break to the monotony of early training.
The spring schedule, time wise, is less demanding than the fall schedule, but in many ways doesn’t lack for intensity as everyone is trying to impress the coaches with improvement. In the meantime, classes remain a primary focus and there are less travel issues, as all the games are weekends and at local venues.
The NCAA is weighing ideas to limit the hours athletes devote to their sport. Many of the ideas, are already current practice for Ivy and Patriot League schools. One idea calls for a ban on practices and other mandatory athletic activities from 9pm to 6am. I can’t remember a time where that was that issue at Lafayette. Another proposal is to create a three week break at the end of the traditional season. Again that is a practice for Patriot and Ivy schools. Some colleges at the “elite” level spend 40 or more hours a week on sports. I have heard of cases where coaches have discouraged players from majoring in the STEM area, because of time limits at some schools.
The above proposals are a starting point, as described by the NCAA, but to my mind do not touch on the most important consumer of time, and that is travel time. As many large university athletic conferences have merged and enlarged, the regional nature of athletic conferences has disappeared. Unlike the Patriot League and Ivy League, it would not be unusual for a soccer team, field hockey team or worse a baseball team to travel thousands of miles during the week to meet their conference foes, missing valuable classroom hours in the process. This is especially acute for the “non-revenue” sports. The Patriot and Ivy conferences remain regional conferences with no foe more than a bus ride away.
This does not make either of the conferences less competitive, but certainly more in the line of supporting the term “student athlete.” I have written about this before and more that ever I believe young recruits should take that into consideration in their school choice. Even the big power conferences are beginning to realize there is a limit. One conference is considering including travel days as part of a 20 hour restriction on athletic time. Jack Swarbrick, the athletic director at the University of Notre Dame agrees, and was quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, ” If you’re really concerned that student athletes have enough time, you ought to focus on scheduling and traveling. Nothing is more important than that,” he opines
Time will tell how this eventually gets sorted out, but the Patriot League model continues to be a pretty good template to follow in my opinion. Perhaps in the future, conferences may be more sport specific and regional, to rationalize the travel time issue. That’s my suggestion but, highly unlikely to be adopted anytime soon.