Last night, I watched the Division One Championship between Liberty and Northwestern for at least the third time. It was a great game for fans as there were two teams who had never been NCAA Champs in field hockey. The intensity was palpable as players were diving to the turf and using every ounce of energy to bring the trophy home. Liberty pulled their goalkeeper with over 6 minutes left, down 2 goals which were scored by Northwestern late in the third quarter.
We had two coaches, one, the head coach from Liberty who had been on the job about 5 years, and Tracy Fuchs the former 2 time olympian whose time at Northwestern was in the mid-teens. My leanings were to Tracy who to my mind deserved it. She is well liked and respected by her peers, and I kind of thought the hockey “world” was on on her side. Not surprisingly in my third watch of the game, Northwestern still won, and demonstrated a championship determination that cou;d please most fans.
It’s now July. Yes, we have college camps, Nexus games and other competitions but its not the same thing. FIH games are over ( sadly without the US in the World Cup). But, I comfort my boredom with watching Lafayette alum Audrey Sawers playing on the big stage with the Canadian national team. Hard to believe less than a year ago, she was playing in the Patriot League playoffs.
In one month, preseason will begin for our Leopards, with the first exhibition game on August 17 against Monmouth. I imagine veteran players and first year players are starting to get serious about conditioning. I am excited to see out new first year’s, which have been described to me by another Division one coach as “really good.” Potential is not enough to win championships as a team must mesh together and that process begins with a well conditioned team.
On paper, this Lafayette team looks like an ideal mix of veterans and newcomers. but I know Coach Stone is actively thinking about how to get the best from this potential. Right now, July seems like a long time to wait!!!
The US women’s national team goes into offseason mode. Many of the senior members will play on club teams overseas, while the college age players will retreat to their NCAA homes. The FIH schedule resumes next spring but there are rumors of a game in December at their training site at Queen’s College in Charlotte,NC. By the way Queen’s College is moving to division one
USA Field Hockey has advertised a post for the Head Coach position. Resumes have been asked to be returned by July 22nd.
There will be a new Head Coach at Bucknell as the Patriot League continues to improve. There will be two players at Lafayette exercising their Covid option year, which should help with depth. I suspect there will be a third coach added by Coach Stone before the beginning of practice.
Players that return will see video review installed, new dressing up of Rappolt Field and capital improvements on the campus proper. ( Most noticeable, reconstruction of the parking garage behind Markle). During Orientation it appears the new larger than expected first year class will be encouraged to go to a soccer or field hockey game. ( Maybe there will be big crowds at those first games)!
Anyway it.s July….at least 30 days to wait. I guess I’ll go get my 2nd Covid Booster today to be ready for the fall!!!