Lafayette Senior Leaders Set Themes For The Fall Season

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Amanda Madagan on her way to two goals in the Junior Pan Am games

It’s a little over one month before the team reports for the official preseason camp. In the meantime, the independent team camps are due to start. Open to all high school and college players, many of the rising first year players will take advantage of the extra instruction, while the veteran players and coaches will act as camp councilors and teachers.  In the meantime, captain’s practices will be in full swing as the melding of the team begins to take place.  All the players will have received a regimen from the strength and conditioning staff to make sure that on August 11th the team is ready to get on to the serious business of designing schemes and lineups.

Six days after reporting in August, the 2016 Leopards will travel to Rutgers for its first taste of collegiate competition, and 6 days after that Columbia will be the final tune up before the team will tackle the regular season with Fairfield University, on August 26 at 6pm at Rappolt Field.

Senior leadership is important as they will set the tone and help bring the team together, leading by example and encouragement. This is the first class in four years that has not experienced a championship in their previous three years and they will want to do everything possible to earn that championship ring.

I contacted two of those leaders several days ago and asked them to write to me and explain what this coming season means to them, and what the team must do to have a successful season. Amanda Magadan, a first team league selection who for the past  year has been playing for the US under 21 team was the leading goal scorer for the Leopards, and her skill is quite evident on the turf. Kaitlyn Arnold is not only a Phi Beta Kappa student but is also an all league performer in the goal for the Leopards. She had the most shutouts of any goalie in the league.

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Katelyn Arnold stands tall in the goal against Bucknell last year

Amanda wrote, ” If we want to be successful in the upcoming season, we need to work hard, be persistent, and believe! Our goals will be accomplished not by luck, but through our hard work on the field and our ability to learn from our mistakes. There is no doubt that as a team we will be faced with obstacles in the upcoming season. Maybe we are down 2-0 in the second half, but how will we react? Will our bench get louder? Our players sprint faster? Our choice to unite, believe and overcome the challenges in front of us will define our success. As a rising senior, I sincerely look forward to beginning our journey as a team and watching us grow and accomplish tons!”

Katilyn struck a similar theme in her response,” I think this can be a huge fall for us. We have a really strong group with a lot of talent. Even more than that , we’ve made huge strides as a program on developing out culture and I think that can pay dividends in the fall season. In the offseason, we’ve worked on creating an environment that breeds and encourages hard work. To be successful in the fall, we need to keep this environment as cornerstone of our team culture. If we work hard and play tough and with grit, I think we’ll be able to play with anyone.”

Along with their fellow seniors they will lead the team and will dare  their teammates to be a winner. Coach Stone remarked to me at the end of the spring season that this team didn’t want to leave the field after the last practice. The “journey” begins!!!

Championships Are Made And Are Not Inevitable

On a cold November 3rd in 2012 Deanna DiCroce lifted a penalty stroke into the top of the cage, delivering a second straight Patriot League championship to the Leopards. The win solidified Lafayette’s national ranking and gave them a ticket to a game with number 2 ranked Princeton on the following tuesday. Princeton was to become the eventual national champion and both teams were to advance to the National Collegiate Athletic Association division one tournament. In both years, 2011 and 2012, Lafayette was not the preseason pick by any of the selectors in the League. The Leopards, in fact did not get any national attention until midseason, after games with nationally ranked Drexel and Albany!

In June of 2013 at the end of the school year the Lafayette Field Hockey Team and Deanna DiCroce ’13 received the Patriot League Women’s Team of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year respectively. The team had earned an at large bid to the NCAA tournament, a first from a Patriot League member. They finished with a 17-3 overall record and went 5-0 in conference play and undefeated at 10-0 at home!!  They scored 70 goals for a 3.5 goal per  game average and only gave up 1.3 goals per game for a total of 26 goals. All league goalie Jessica Deutsch and the defense allowed only 26 goals, while earning a  71 pct ga average. Dicroce  had a league leading 18 goals while defender Jenna Seybert had 10 goals. Yes, it was a “magical” season, but the effort, talent, and team work was anything but only “magic”.

DiCroce’s goal would have never happened if there wasn’t a win in the semi-final game the day before. Scoring was spread around with DiCroce, Machalick, Seybert, and Haley Keenan scoring the overtime goal, sending the Leopards onto the championship game. It was teamwork that prevailed in that game with Machalick, Seybert, Valeo, DiCroce and finally Seybert again, who provided the assists. At that point Lafayette had won 14 consecutive games.

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DiCroce finds a spot between the legs of the American goalie

The championship game was played in a cold and windy environment and both American and Lafayette battled in one of the best games of the season. A  corner with no time left on the clock successfully converted by American, at the end of the first period gave the Eagles the first lead of the game. Lafayette had led in corners 4-2 but it was American who was to open the second half with a 1-0 lead. However, 16 minutes into the second half DiCroce found a spot between American’s goalie’s legs to knot the score at 1-1. The Lafayette defense tightened and held American to no shots as the game went to overtime.

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Emily Valeo flies into the Colgate circle

Early in the overtime American’s Rebecca Treharne had a reverse stick shot from just inside the circle, but Lafayette goalkeeper Deutsch kicked it away ending the threat. She came out two more times thwarting American scoring attempts. With a minute left to play and the thermometer dropping by the second, Lafayette senior Emily Valeo was cut down by an American field player as she was taking a shot setting up the penalty stroke. After a conference at the sideline it was decided that DiCroce would take the shot and the rest is history. Ironically it was her first score on a penalty stroke that season!! The stands emptied and bedlam ensued.

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DiCroce receives the long pass against Ball State

The point is this was a team effort, not magic. There were strong efforts during the season and everyone contributed .There was a great game against Bucknell where the Leopard’s 2-0 win, and goals by Valeo and Seybert set up a regular season championship and home field advantage. Games against JMU, Albany and Drexel established their credentials and even their one goal loss to Penn State after a 500 mile bus trip to Penn State after the overtime JMU win, set a tone for grit this team was to develop. There many others that contributed and I would run out of time and space in adulation.

The pictures tell it all. The eventual losses to national champion Princeton and past national champion Maryland 2-0 didn’t diminish what this team accomplished.

Coming up next will be this year’s senior leaders and their list of requirements and goals to make THIS season “magical.”

 

 

 

Coach Stone To Help With US Team In June

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Coach Stone encouraging  Haley Keenan during NCAA tournament game against Maryland

The US national and olympic team will be quite busy this summer and Coach Jennifer Stone along with Jeremy Cook, Head Coach for  the Bucknell field hockey team and Joppe de Fries, Assistant Coach for the University Maryland will be keeping those members who remain at home sharp and ready to play. The eighteen member US team is traveling to England next week to play in the Champion’s Trophy tournament. However, those who were not chosen will remain behind at the national training center at Spooky Nook,Pa ready to be a substitute in case one of the eighteen will not be able to travel to the Olympics later this summer.

Coach Stone has already been busy at the national championship games at the “Nook.” It has become an event not only for coaches to serve but also observe the up and coming young talent in one place. Recruiting is a year round process for coaches and being able to see great talent is an advantage. Although her class of eight for fall entry is complete, she already has four commitments for 2017 entry!

She also has two camps in July which will be attended by her new first year players and many prospects for the future. Many of the current Lafayette players will work the camp. The team will also be busy keeping in shape with captain’s practices as well.

The full team will report for preseason on Aug 11.

 

 

Why Competitive Athletics Belongs In Higher Education

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of competitive athletics. But I think I have never explained why I think it should be part of the educational process. We all know how it has been abused by some universities. The recent scandals at UNC where high profile athletes were allowed to take basically no show courses, and remain eligible, is only one example. The influence of professionalism in many of the sports that generate huge sums of money for the “revenue” sports of football and basketball has caused distortions in the good that competitive athletics can do.

I am a big fan of the Patriot League, who has managed to keep everything in perspective. Looking at our own athletes, who graduate with degrees in economics, chemistry, and engineering along with a plethora of other legitimate rigorous offerings, is a source of pride for many alumni. I do get annoyed from time to time with a minority of those in the academe who berate and diminish the contributions of our athletes and the rigor and discipline they demonstrate during their four years.

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I was amused during the period when Lafayette was considering joining the rest of league in offering athletic scholarships. Members of the joint committee that studied the issue were astonished ,that all things being equal, athletes received higher starting salaries than other graduates at the end of four years. I must say when I was hiring, I was much more impressed with the athlete’s 3.5 GPA than a person who spent four year planted at a desk in the library to get the same 3.5.

Athletes at Lafayette have over a 90 percent graduation rate, their GPA average is higher than the general student population , and they perform on the field. But there is even a better reason for its inclusion in the education process. It is an anchor to the real world. There is always a score that you can’t walk away from. I look at the academe today and there seems to be a sort of an Orwellian shift. Students are demanding a fundamental rethink of their education.

There is a demand by English majors at Yale to abolish classes that feature white male poets. So Chauser, Spencer, Shakespere,Milton, Pope and T.S. Eliot would be purged. At many colleges and universities some students feel they don’t like to have  to spend time with people that are not like them. Demands for segregated “safe” places are popping up all over the country. At Oberlin College, Asian students complained the General Tso’s chicken was not up to real asian standards. This is the same college where students believe no one should get less than a “C.”

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At Johns Hopkins, administrators do not count first semester freshman grades. Low and behold, it discouraged new students from studying as hard as they should….duh. It  is now being phased out.

The athletic field is different. No one really cares about your background, just what you bring to the game. If you don’t do well in your studies you can’t play…. period and you have let down your teammates. Athletes have accepted a harder path and they get more out of it in the end. It is for that reason, I am proud to support our Lafayette College field hockey team…..because they earn it. The members of the team were chosen  because they are the type that have the potential to succeed.  Those new recruits who arrive this fall begin a journey filled with obstacles, but that’s just the point……isn’t it??

 

 

 

Time Machine: Oct 20,2001 Monahan and Stone Score In 4-0 Rout

It was Oct 20, 2001 and Lafayette has an 11-3 record and 4-1 in the Patriot League. The game took place after the dedication of brand new Rappolt Field. There was a nice crowd of nearly 750 fans. The roster consisted of many outstanding players, including Megan Monahan, sophomore player and now head coach Jennifer Stone. Also on field were goalie Amy Cohn, Erica Bartch, Carolyn Rodichok, Mellissa Hoh, Merideth Hahn, Kelley Maiers, Stephanie Goldman,  and Kristen, Chiusano.

As goleopards reported, ” The Lafayette Field Hockey team extended its winning streak vs. Lehigh to seven as they blanked the Mountain Hawks 4-0…….Megan Monahan notched a hat trick in the win..   Monahn opened the scoring in the second minute to notch her a-monahan-102001 11th goal of the year off a pass from Meridith Hahn.”

” Monahan tallied her second goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first half off a pass from sophomore Jennifer Stone to put Lafayette ahead 2-0. The Leopards remained strong  offensively in the second half including Stone who knocked in her fifth goal of the year after dribbling past two Mountain Hawk defenders in the circle.”

“Monahan completed her hat trick off a pass from Melissa Hoh. Hoh put on a dribbling display through the right side of the circle before finding Monahan at the far post for her second assist of the year.”

Cohen was excellent in the goal making 8 saves that night and the shutout, her fourth of the year.

Fortunately we do have some tape of the game. Here is Monahan’s first goal off a Hahn assist. Gary Laubach, voice for Lafayette athletics has the play by play and Kalee Salber hall  of fame field hockey player has the analysis.

Late in the first half Monahan scores her second off a Stone assist. Here is the slow motion  review by Kalee.

Early in the second half Stone scores on a nifty reverse stick shot after dodging two defenders

Finally Monahan finishes after a brilliant sprint by Mellisa Hoh to get her hat trick

 

 

Lafayette Time Machine Sept 16, 2009

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Kelsey Andersen

Memorable wins  build  winning traditions,  and it is fair to say the successes of the present are built on the shoulders those who passed by yesterday. Lafayette players still hold  a myriad league records, unbroken even today. The rosters from yesterday are replete with stars that have carved their place into the record books. Lafayette has had its share of all-Americans and all-Patriot League performers. But as a fan it is individual games that stand out to me and keep me interested.

During the next month I will feature several team efforts that stick out in my mind in no particular order. The first is a game on Sept 9,2009. Penn State arrived with their national ranking to Rappolt field. In the first half a stingy defense holds Penn State to just one shot. During the game Lafayette collects 11 shots, 4 from Kelly Hilovsky, 2 each from Amanda Saber and Deanna DiCroce and 1 each from Caitlin Titus, Meghan Ciccci and Cara Lyons. Kelsey Andersen, our goalie, puts on a clinic turning way 4 shots during the game. After a 0-0 tie in regulation, then freshman Deanna DiCroce,  within two minutes into overtime, scores an unassisted reverse stick shot breaking the tie and winning the game.

Here is an account of the game from a local TV station.

DiCroce was to go on to receive numerous honors in her career as did Kelsey Andersen. This was no fluke win, as the Leopards out shot Penn State 11-8 with each team getting 3 corners. In recent years Penn State has not played Lafayette ( the only Pennsylvania team to beat them). Maybe we are a little  too dangerous for the Lions??  Perhaps in the NCAA playoffs we can renew the rivalry.

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Kelly Hilovsky delivers a shot

If there is anyone else that either played in this game or watched it please comment below!!

I will continue with more memorable games in the coming days and weeks!

 

 

Lafayette Alum To Provide Color Commentary For Field Hockey Broadcasts

Kelse6845296y 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!!

 

One Hundred Days

 

DSC_0751For 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.

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Richael Bird looks upfield in spring game against Temple

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).

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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!!

 

Spring Competitions End On High Note

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.

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Ellen Colborne moves the ball upfield against Lehigh

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.

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Rosie Shanks shows her defensive skills

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.

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Aliza Furneaux breaks upfield

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!!

 

 

 

With Laughter, Tears, And Friendship The 2015 Lafayette Field Hockey Team Gather For The Last Time

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2015 LCFH poses for their final picture

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.

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Coach Stone announces the annual awards

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.

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Abby Stefanides was the senior speaker

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!