To Vaccinate Or Not For Collegiate Athletes

As reporting day fast approaches, colleges, are beginning to form a policy position for student athletes who will soon be reporting for class. Athletes may be traveling to areas of the country where Covid is starting to surge, and public vaccinations are slowing. There is serious doubt that the US will soon approach herd immunity.

Most the of worry is with regard to variants, but if vaccinations were universal, the variant would not have a chance to emerge. There is good evidence that the two multi-shot vaccines ( Pfizer and Moderna) provide excellent protection against getting the virus and secondly, if you get it, prevents serious outbreaks.

It is in this environment schools are evaluating protocols for the fall. At a large state school the field hockey coach said to me that vaccinations are optional but unvaccinated student athletes must travel and live separately. Team meetings will be done virtually for those students as well. For all practical purposes the unvaccinated will not really be participating fully.

Harvard. Princeton and Yale have stipulated all students must be vaccinated by August 1, and provide evidence of that fact to the school. In the past week, that mandate has been extended to faculty and staff. At all three schools, vaccinations are provided on campus, but a student in residence can not move in without being fully vaccinated. Medical exceptions are granted as are religious reasons judged by a health committee.

In an email to all students, Lafayette College is requiring a completed copy of the Covid 19 vaccination card be submitted to their health portal by August 1, before they will allowed to move into residence halls. Those not in compliance risk their fall enrollment status. If the second dose is after August 1, students are asked to email covid-19.lafayette.edu/covid-19vaccinations. Exemption request were due yesterday July 21. Failure could jeopardize course selections and housing assignments.

Oddly, unlike the Ivies, faculty and staff vaccinations are not required. I think students should be aware of faculty who may not be immunized for their personal safety. Perhaps that will change in the future.

I have been vaccinated and I believe those who are able should be vaccinated for their own safety, the safety of the community and their own family.

Less Than Three Weeks Until Reporting Day

It’s less than three weeks until the Lafayette Field Hockey squad will report, to begin the rigorous preseason preparation for the fall 2021 season. I am sure the squad is doing all its pre season conditioning regimen, to be ready to assemble and play as a squad, pointing to a championship season.

The first test will occur on August 19, slightly less than a month from today, at one o’clock in Newark, Delaware, the home of the always competitive Delaware Blue Hens. Three days later it gets no easier when the University of Albany arrives at Rappolt Field at 2 pm to test the Leopards in a exhibition game. Five more days later the real fun begins at Rappolt, for a 4 pm game against an improving Hofstra team.

The period between August 10th and the 27th all the effort will be to mold a group of fine athletes and skilled hockey individuals into a team. The hope from the coaching staff is, that all will arrive in shape in order to spend the maximum time on learning to play with one another, and to allow a true evaluation of talent. It will be hot, and double sessions will tax the most earnest team member.

For we fans, it means we still have a little time to wait for some real competition. Meantime, as fans we look at schedules and rosters and try to handicap the season. There are still three Patriot League teams who need to post fall schedules and rosters. Colgate, American, Lehigh and Lafayette have done that, and it’s allowed this writer to start speculating on the coming season.

I still believe Lafayette has accumulated one the finest recruiting classes in the league, but they still need to be put to the test. The first Patriot League game is with American on September 18th at 11:00 am in Washington,DC. By then, American will have played VCU,Georgetown, Old Dominion, Delaware, William and Mary, Richmond and UMass. Lafayette’s schedule is no less daunting with Hofstra, Villanova, Ohio State, Indiana, Yale and Quinnipiac. Both teams will have had six competitive games under their belt to be prepared. Last spring the Leopards went to overtime in both games…..they have something they owe to American, for those two loses. A win in DC would be sweet!!!

The other two teams appear to have slightly easier schedules but no doubt both will be ready to play come their dates with Lafayette. Lehigh has been getting better and they seem to measure their success by their rival game. Oct 22 is another revenge date at 7pm in Bethlehem!!!

Meanwhile The NCAA Struggles

No one seems to like the NCAA these days, and they are making their lawyers rich in the process. They reported recently they spent nearly 68 million dollars on legal bills losing the Alston case in Supreme Court. Despite this the President, Mark Emmert continues on, having had his three million dollar contract renewed.

The large football playing schools seem to be ready to split off, on their own to be regulated by their individual conferences. NCAA seems all but conceded to a bifurcated structure where big time college football is its own animal. This will leave a regulatory structure overseeing basketball and the olympic sports at best. 

The NCAA has only itself to blame, as they left large regulatory problems behind, and contented themselves to be a harassing supervisor with an outdated 460 page rulebook.

Leopards To Play Four Big Ten Schools In Challenging Fall Schedule

Alix Talkow blocks pass against American

The fall schedule was posted on twitter but with a couple of changes needed. It was incorrectly reported that Lafayette will play 20 games. ( The article incorrectly reported the first two scrimmages with Delaware and Albany as official games). However here are schools and dates for games as reported.

The two scrimmages are Aug 19 and 22. Delaware will be away at 1pm and Albany at home reportedly at 2 pm. The first official game will be home August 27th with Hofstra @ 4pm,  followed by an August home contest with Villanova on the 29th@ 3pm. Then, the following weekend will be the first two games away with Big Ten opponents, Ohio State on September 3rd @. 4pm and Indiana on September 5th @11 am.  The Leopards will return home on September 10th to host Yale in a game under the lights @7 pm. They will then hop to a bus to travel to Quinipiac on Sept 12th for a 1 pm game.

The first Patriot League game will be with the likely Patriot League favorite American University in DC on September 18th @12 pm. The Leopards went to overtime in both games with American this past spring including a controversial call in the second game which led to a game winning stroke. The Patriot League schedule continues the following weekend at home against Holy Cross on September 25 @noon. Lafayette will stay at home for the next two games on October 2 and 3rd against Colgate @ 11 am and Fairfield @2pm respectively. 

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Eva Kaplan sends a pass downfield

The next week the Leopards will again hit the road against Boston University on Oct 9th@ 12 pm and Brown Oct 10th @ 1 pm. The following friday, Oct 15th @7 pm will see the Nittany Lions of Penn State at Rappolt field, followed by Drexel on Sunday October 17 @ 1pm. The Patriot League schedule resumes with a game against arch rival Lehigh on Friday October 22nd in a game under the lights. @ 7pm. Temple will host the Leopards on Sunday Oct 24th @1 pm.

The Patriot League final regular season game will be marked by a visit by the spring league champion Bucknell on Oct 30th @12 pm quickly followed by a visit to Piscataway for a game with the fourth Big Ten rival Rutgers @2 pm.

This is an ambitious schedule which if successfully navigated could certainly lead to at least a top 20 ranking. A Patriot League championship by winning the Patriot League tournament would amount to an automatic slot in the NCAA national tournament.

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Audrey Sawers will be back to challenge Patriot League foes

One half of the Leopards had an intense spring game experience, the other half which includes a very talented freshman class will have not played a single division one game. The early games will be good experience and preparation for the latter part of the season. Audrey Sawers will be returning for her covid season bonus and should be a key leader on a team that saw each game played this spring to one goal margins as well as a number of overtime games.

American will return two for their bonus season and Lehigh will return two as well. Grace Angelella will be playing for Temple, a late season game as she will studying for a masters degree at the Philadelphia school. In addition, Teressa Delahanty a Lafayette  graduate from several year ago will be a volunteer coach at Drexel.

NIL Starts To Kick In

Lehigh University softball player Carley Barjaktarovich has signed an endorsement deal with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the minor league team. The July 22 theme night will feature a paid appearance at the Iron Pigs game. Last Monday the Iron Pigs announced that she has signed an endorsement deal. The Iron Pigs say it is the first professional sport deal since the NCAA decision to allow college athletes to accept endorsements for the use of their name, image and likeness while still competing for their school. Terms were not disclosed. Under Pennsylvania law, schools and leagues cannot sanction college athletes for deals like this.

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Meanwhile Erin Matson who plays for UNC has reported that she has signed a deal with Longstreath and other equipment companies for an undisclosed amount of money.

PS. I have just learned the game with Indiana will be at Ohio State in Columbus!!

Managing Change

The March To A “Normal” Season

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Audrey Sawers moves upfield

It’s only six weeks away, as coaches are preparing for a “normal” fall, where they will be returning to seasons dealing with restructuring, and building their teams for a run at championships. Players, fans, and parents are trying to adjust fall schedules to be in attendance, to watch any number of sports.   Student athletes will eventually be back to live classrooms and hopefully leaving the words like “zoom” behind them. In one and one half months bags will be packed and delivered to new dorm rooms. and college athletes will step on the field with their teammates. As the time approaches, all should all be increasing their off season training. Coach Stone believes in a fit squad, and quite logically the task of molding a squad that plays better as group than as individuals, can’t begin with a team more concerned about their next breath than their next pass, shot or defensive assignment.

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Emma Garvey and Mary Gould of Lafayette stop Bison attack at the goal

The past year has brought new changes as well. Lafayette will have a new president who will no doubt have her own idea about structure. By all accounts she and her spouse are committed fans of college athletics, given their experiences at Notre Dame, Virginia and UNC. In the world of NCAA athletics, it’s interesting how change that was unneeded or unwise has force schools and institutions back to the middle. Many schools, who had tried to drop sports, have now reversed their decisions. William and Mary not only reversed their decision to drop sports, but fired their AD and hired new talent. Stanford, who only 9 months ago decided to drop field hockey altogether will welcome Roz Ellis as their new coach. The Ivy League lost the chance to retain seniors who were deprived of their final  season.  They will see their graduates play somewhere else. Juliana Tornetta having graduated from Princeton, as an all american and now a member of the US Team, will play at Maryland this year! The Patriot League is preparing to deal with NIL and perhaps they have finally given up their aspiration to be “Ivy Light.”  The Ivy League certainly did not demonstrate any superiority of management last year. .

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Leopards get ready in Maroon Club weight training center!!

The NCAA is managing itself to irrelevance, as they seem stuck to managing minutia, as opposed to dealing with real problems. Their efforts seemed limited to changing small elements of the language in their regulations than addressing real problems.

Hopefully, Lafayette will emerge stronger, chastened by over zealous administration of rules, but keeping what is good. I expect athletics will emerge stronger as  Intercollegiate Athletics gets new attention, starting with a change in the reporting structure. All indications seem to be moving in that direction.

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A traffic jam in front of the Lafayette goal

I am ready to get down to the nitty gritty of fall competition. Lafayette will soon have on campus one of their most talented classes ever. Certainly it can be said individually, they can be as competitive with any team in the league. The question is repeated here, How will they mold together as a team?.

With many teams returning players for additional seasons, it will be challenging. Audrey Sawers the Lafayette captain, will be returning for her senior plus season and will be a threat to Patriot League foes. But Lehigh will return Lenke Havas and Drew Pecora, and American will return Noor Coenen and Gaby De Kock.

The League will be improved, and perhaps a better performance in out of conference games will get the League a better seed in the NCAA tournament. Bucknell’s performance in the national tournament certainly helped. Schedule’s are being finalized and Colgate already has reported a schedule that includes Albany in August. a late game with Syracuse. and two games with Cornell. Lafayette will host Colgate on Oct 2 at Rappolt Field. By my count, having reported only 15 games Colgate will have room for more games. There are reports that Lafayette will be playing  Yale on Sept 10 also at Rappolt.

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I will be interested in those early games and scrimmages, as experience must be gained. There will be 10 players for Lafayette who have never played in a Division one game. All manner of challenges, as the season approaches and certainly fodder for us fans!!

Leopards Make Heroic Effort, But Fall In Double Overtime

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Audrey Sawers gets ready to launch one against American

It was a game that deserved to be in the Leopard column, given the extraordinary effort by the team and especially the senior class. Yes, shots were 6 to 7 in Lafayette favor, saves by freshman goalkeeper were the same at two ( Garvey, the Leopard goalkeeper had a great outing as her debut in division one), but penalty corners were 12-4 in favor of the Eagles. However, many of those corners came in bunches as they were called one after each corner in succession.

In fact, the first goal by American came on the fourth attempt at a corner by Merel Dupont after an assist by Noon Coenen at 7:43 into the game. That gave the lead to American until Audrey Sawers found the back of the cage at 46:42 nearly bending back the glove of Bryn Underwood, American’s freshman GK. The score remained at 1-1 until regulation time ended.

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Sophie Carr sprints to get in position

There were several calls for corners by the umpire outside of the shooting circle which was noticed by the partisan crowd at the side lines. In many cases the. Eagles were to draw multiple penalties on several occasions in regular time and the two overtimes. Finally at 75:32 Gaby de Kock received a hard crossing pass from Coenan which was delivered to the right side of the cage.

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Eva Kaplan sends a pass downfield

Coach Stone highlighted all five seniors Eva Kaplan, Audrey Sawers, Sophie Carr, Grace Angelella, and Anna Steps. Coach Stone cited the five seniors for their leadership during the game. Sawers especially was to make several length of the field runs that nearly set up scoring chances inside the circle. The whole team showed remarkable heart even though the score ended up in favor of American in the end.

They all left it on the field with their heads up, because there was nothing to be down about. It was an outstanding effort. There will be a second chance in DC in the last regular season game at the end of the season. Next week it will be Bucknell at Bucknell!!!

It’s All About The Points

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As the Patriot League League Spring/Fall Season reaches the half way point the question for most fans (including myself) is how the field is picked for the League Championship. Four teams will succeed to the tournament to be decided by a predetermined scheme decided by the League.

Patriot League field hockey consists of seven teams with the top four making the 2021 PLFH Championship Field. All games played count toward standings. Each victory is worth 3 points and an overtime loss is worth 1 point. A team losing in regulation does not receive a point. A points per game system would be utilized if teams do not compete in the same number of contests.

To me that gives an advantage to teams playing less games and especially since teams do not have the same schedule eg. Boston was to play Colgate and Holy Cross twice but does not see American. Colgate does not play Lafayette or American. Last Saturday Boston beat Colgate and was to play them a second time on Sunday but didn’t because they had no subs. As most third graders are aware, if the denominator is smaller, but the numerator is the same, the number with the smaller denominator is larger .

The League defines its calculation as Points per game is defined as the number of points compiled though the season divided by. the number of games played.

So does that mean each team has a different denominator?? So far American, Lehigh, Boston and Colgate will only be playing 5 games. Lafayette, Bucknell, and Holy Cross will have played 6 games.

The league has added this in # When comparing records against a single or group of tied teams ( before tie is broken ) the higher winning percentage will prevail even if the number of games played is not equal among the tied teams.( e.g. 2-0 is better than 1-0, 4-2 is better than 2-4,and 0-1 is better than 0-2)

Confused??? Join the club!! It could be fixed by just playing make up games. There is enough space in the week to get that done…other leagues are playing multiple games during a week’s period.

The current standing are Boston University 3-0 9 points, Colgate 2-1 6 points, Lehigh 2-0 6 points, American 1-1 4 points, Lafayette 1-2 4 points, Bucknell 1-3 3 points, and Holy Cross 0-3 1 point.

Several teams could be in precarious positions after this weekend’s game. A win by Lafayette would be extremely helpful for placement in the tournament. Losses by Bucknell, Holy Cross and Colgate in regulation would be disasters for those teams with the ability to only gather 3 more points for Bucknell and Colgate and 6 more for Holy Cross.

Seniors Prepare For Last Regular Season Game At Home

In the bizarre background of a Covid season, the 5 seniors on the Lafayette squad compete during an abbreviated season with the goal to return to the Patriot League Championships for the third consecutive year. This has been an especially character revealing year. The season began without a spring season last year, no preseason, and no out of conference games. They have had to put it all together without a large bench, leaving it to the seniors to provide leadership on and off the field.

I don’t know if this will be the last chance to see these remarkable young women compete at Rappolt Field this year but I know it will be their best effort yet of their four year careers. Eva Kaplan, Audrey Sawers, Sophie Carr, Grace Angelella, and Ana Steps, will be announced as seniors at this weekend’s match with American University. The NCAA allows for an extra year of eligibility and this fan can only hope we shall see at least some of them next year, but whatever happens, I know they have set the foundation for great things in the future. So this Sunday I salute Eva Kaplan, Audrey Sawers, Sophie Carr, Grace Angelella, and Anna Steps!!

Eva Kaplan

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Eva Kaplan Sweeps the Ball away

Eva comes from Montclair, N.J. with outstanding credentials. The Economics and International Affairs major was a four year letter winner at Montclair, selected as an all- conference and all state player. In addition she was an outstanding Lacrosse player demonstrating her all around athletic ability. As a four year honor roll student, she showed she was well prepared for Lafayette.

She has demonstrated her dedication, team attitude and patience having to wait two years before getting on the game field. As a fan I could not be more struck by her intensity and situational awareness. Her strength, speed and athletic ability were evident in every situation she was placed in. I was especially impressed with her performance during big games fearlessly defending against the best of the Patriot League and division one.

She waited patiently for her chance during her freshman and sophomore year and by her junior year became an important contributor. I was especially impressed with her performance in the championship game last year!  But her best could be her last, as she spent over 50 minutes on the field in each of the last two games gaining confidence and displaying leadership. We still have half the regular season left and I am anxious to see what memories she will leave us with as we move forward!!

Audrey Sawers

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Audrey Sawers moves upfield

The moment Audrey stepped on a Lafayette athletic field her appearance just screamed elite athlete. Coming from Handsworth school in North Vancouver, BC she was part of long string of western Canadian athletes to head to the Lafayette Field Hockey program. While at Handsworth, she was a five year starter on the Field Hockey team, and achieved MVP and first team all star in provincials. Not surprisingly she was female athlete of the year for two years participating in soccer, volleyball, basketball, and track and field.

More recently she made the national under 21 team traveling to Ireland two years ago. Her strength, reach, and speed made her a natural at midfield and a feared opponent. As a fan it was exciting to see her develop a skill set to go along with her natural athletic assets. It was evident in the semi final league championship game with Bucknell as she weaved through defenders to score the winning goal. We saw more of that this year against Holy Cross as she was involved in both scores. Spotting space inside the circle she delivered a beautiful shot to put the Leopards up early. She used much of the same skills to find her teammate Simone Hefting as she assisted in the overtime winner.

There is no team member this year who has more minutes than Audrey as her presence on the field is important both offensively and defensively. Her leadership abilities strike me as leadership by example, and her strong competitive spirit get more evident as the game progresses. She is a team co-captain.

I would hope she considers an additional year but I see nothing but success, and maybe even an Olympics in her future!!!

Sophie Carr

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Senior Sophie Carr shows her defensive form

Sophie is just one of those people that light up room when she enters. Always, with a smile, she faces competition and adversity with determination and courage. Looking at her resume one would assume she is a native Irishman. In fact, her mother comes from Pennsylvania and as result she is a US citizen. Her entire secondary school experience is in Ireland. Her brother plays on the Irish national team.

Sophie, like most good athletes succeed in a variety of sports. She is an excellent golfer, and played on a winning cricket team. On the academic side she represented the US at a model UN conference at The Hague.

Coming to Lafayette, she had an excellent freshman year delivering impressive goals. Her performances against Fairfield demonstrated her readiness to play at the division one level. But she was to face an unexpected challenge the spring of her freshman year when she injured her knee. She promptly accepted the challenge of rehabilitation with aplomb and courage. Her sophomore year had her on the sidelines, cheering at games and encouraging to her teammates at practice.

She returned to the playing field, knee brace and all, her junior season, and resumed her impact as a team leader and an important part the program. As an elected leader of the team, she helped to maintain morale, while being a contributor on the field. She has 103 minutes in three games this year and can often be seen sprinting down the field making an important tackle or moving the ball into the opponents area!!

As in the case of most great athletes, she has great character and is an inspiration to her teammates. I would have wished a full season for her, but it’s a privilege to watch her in person perform!!

Grace Angelella

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Grace Angelella moves the ball into Lafayette territory

You had to know Grace was a very special athlete as she endured several orthopedic surgeries in high school just to be in a position to play. She came highly recommended from former Lafayette players from the Harding, Pa area and Wyoming Area High School. She didn’t disappoint Coach Stone because in the first three years she was on the field for virtually every game. In her freshman year she tied for the lead in goal scoring and had several multi goals games. She was rookie of the week several times.

In her sophomore season she just rolled on with goals against Temple, Lehigh, Villanova and Bucknell. She accomplished all this while succeeding in the classroom as a Biology major. She was named to the D-1 academic squad and the Patriot League  academic squad as well.

Like her classmates there is a determination in her play that makes her a dangerous foe on the field. Extraordinarily humble, her engaging manner hides the competitive spirit of a winner. She finds a way to be in a position to score and her ability to deliver a strike as something fearsome.

This year, she already put in 138 minutes and its disappointing we won’t see more of her because of this shortened season. However, we have the meat of the season coming up and I am sure she will contribute to the diversity of  our attacking options.

Anna Steps

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Anna Steps leads the midfield again this year

Anna has an outstanding career to date. Her most individual memorable year was in 2018, scoring six goals. But getting to the Patriot championship game must have been one of her biggest thrills. For three years she was found in the back line directing play and initiating an offense that had one of its best years. She named preseason defensive player of the year.

She comes from Hamburg Germany where she went to the Children’s International Summer Village program. It is program that begins for 11 year olds which promotes good international relations starting with children. It is there she got the bug to study in the United States. She is still in contact with people who went through the program with her.

A leader on the team Anna was elected co-captain and was crucial to keeping the team connected during the covid pandemic. To date she has played 1054 minutes for the Leopards and I remember her role in beating Temple last year scoring a crucial goal. She is now in the midfield, a position more familiar to her and her hustle and determination as well as her obvious skills are put to good use.

Her affect is pleasant and is obviously very smart excelling in her major of Neuroscience at Lafayette. She is always there to help a friend, and has volunteered to help those studying German and enjoys philosophical writings.

She is an exceptional young woman and no doubt is in line to accomplish great things in the future.

Lafayette Loses 2-1 In Overtime

Lafayette put in a determined effort, but slipped to 0-2 in the Patriot League standing, tied with Holy Cross who lost to Colgate 1-0 today, but ahead of Bucknell who is now 0-3 after losing to Lehigh 0-4 in Bethlehem. All tied are American, Boston, Lehigh and Colgate who remain undefeated. Colgate and Boston will meet twice next week, on the 27th and 28th, American will meet Bucknell, and Lafayette will travel to Worchester in a must win game.

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Felisitas Hannes and Anna Steps close in

Lafayette showed sparks of determination and heart, after falling behind one goal in the third period, but not quite 4 minutes later Tara Hamilton slipped the ball past the laid out Boston goalkeeper to even it up. Both the Leopards and the Terriers stepped up their efforts. Whereas each team had recorded  one shot each in the first half, shots by the end of regulation were 4-3 in favor of Boston. Penalty corners were in Boston’s favor 3-1 for regulation and the game.

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Simone Hefting clears the ball

BU’s defense was marked by an aggressive press, but as they acquired possession their passes were crisp and accurate. Lafayette started out slowly but picked up intensity as the third period progressed.  Audrey Sawers was all over the field on offense and defense and Grace Angelella appeared whenever needed for a defensive play. Sydney Woolston was visibly in the face of many BU players. 

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There was an ebb and tide to the game that raised or lowered spirits for the 70 odd fans in attendance. But the Leopards never gave up. Sadly, in the overtime, BU was to get off two shots, with the second at about 2 minutes into period striking gold. Senior Alexis Pettisani from BU reacted by lifting the ball slightly over the GK stick scoring the deciding goal.

This bizarre schedule continues with BU playing two games with Colgate back to back next week, and Lehigh will be playing American twice by season’s ( one is a make up game).

PS. During the Lehigh game yesterday, the announcer stated that senior Lenke Havas will attend an additional year at Lehigh, and play as per NCAA rules. Will there by others in PL who will take the extra year ?!!!

It’s A One Goal Game Again…This Time Lehigh Leaves On Top

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Eva Kaplan Sweeps the Ball away

This will make the sixth straight year that Lafayette/ Lehigh ended with a one goal lead for the victor. It was Lehigh who would take home the win in a gritty contest played at a windy Rappolt Field more reminiscent of a November end of season contest than an opening day game. Everything is backwards this year, so why not??

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Even the watering of the field had to be done manually to avoid the watering system freezing and pipes splitting at night. Neither team was about to miss this game windy, cold or what. What could be better than, rivalry, first game, and PL play. The college wisely allowed students, parents and alumni from the home side to attend, one would have assumed the intangibles were on the Leopards side!!

The game began with Kahn and Abbott in their respective goaltender positions and as the game progressed it turned into defensive affair, where it became obvious this may have been destined to become a 1-0 game. My feeling was Lafayette had the better of the action in the beginning and literally and figuratively the wind was at their back.

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Audrey Sawers was busy all day on both sides of the field

Simone Hefting from Lafayette repeatedly showed her skill with long, strong hits from the backfield to speedy forwards. The timing was not quite there as Lafayette did have several chances but couldn’t seem finish.The first shot came from Lafayette’s Audrey Sawers at 3:51 into the quarter. The officials couldn’t seem to keep their hand from their pockets when finally at 11:08 Molly McAndrew got her first yellow.

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Defense took center stage all day

17:30 into the game Lehigh picked up their first corner which was smartly turned away. However at 17:54 McAndrew was to take her first shot saved by Lehigh’s Kahn. Lafayette was to get two corners at 18:21 and 18:42 with Felicitas Hannes’ shot going wide on the second corner!!

Lehigh came out in the third period pressing hard until at 40:41 they were awarded a corner. Drew Pecora took the initial shot which resulted in a scrum in front of the cage until freshman Julia Gatelien was to poke it into the cage for the 1-0 lead. The period ended with Audrey Sawers getting a Green at 44:31.

At the beginning of the fourth Lafayette got a corner but could not convert again.  Alex Talkow was to get off a shot at 56:57 which got the fans excited but was saved by Kahn. Lafayette was to get  3 more corners during the period while Lehigh attempted to run out the clock. With about 3 1/2 minutes to go they began to strategically run for the corners letting precious seconds tick away. However at 58:02 Lafayette was to have its last corner of game and it was blocked.

The statistical tale was interesting. Lehigh had 3 shots 2 on goal and 5 corners, Lafayette had 7 shots 2 on goal, and 6 corners. Lafayette had no shots in the third quarter and Lehigh had none in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile Bucknell lost to American 4-0 and has two losses on the season. Next up for Lafayette (0-1) is Boston (1-0) next Sunday. The other two PL games will be Bucknell ( 0-2) at Lehigh (1-0) and Holy Cross (0-1) at Colgate (1-0)

Lafayette And Lehigh Field Hockey Prepare To Open Season

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Molly McAndrews shows her defensive skills at Lehigh last year

Lafayette and Lehigh will square off for their annual rivalry game, and this time the fans will not have to wait for the middle of the season to see this rivalry renewed. Lehigh was to play a game with American last week, and it was hoped that we might get a look at Lehigh before this week’s game. The game was postponed, so not only is it a big rivalry in any case, it is the opener for both teams, bringing additional intensity.

In the last 19 meetings Lafayette holds 16-3 edge, but be not fooled, the last several years has seen Lehigh close the competitive gap. The last five games have been decided by one goal, with two of those wins by Lafayette decided in overtime. Last year’s 1-0 win for the Leopards was at Lehigh, where a second period goal by Molly McAndrews was made to stand up by a stout Lafayette defense.

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Anna Steps will lead the midfield again this year

Maddie Kahn, the Lehigh goal keeper was to turn away a furious Lafayette attack that  peppered her with 18 shots, 15 of which were on goal, giving her an amazing 14 saves on the night. Now a sophomore, she brings a year’s additional experience to the game. Lehigh managed only 2 shots in that game, one of which was on goal. I am sure, Coach Caitlin Dallmeyer is looking to improve in that area!

In the off season, she has moved to strengthen the attack, and now has three dutch players including a new freshman attacker Lotte Smorenburg. Lenke Havas, their fine senior defensive pre-season all league player who  returns for another shot at Lafayette.

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Hanna Lewis turns the corner

Lafayette answers with a new person in goal, no matter who of the three Goal Keepers on the team will be picked to start. It will be a key decision for Coach Stone, who also will bring a lot of experience to the field from returning veterans from their 12-8 season last year. The defense will be anchored by Sophomore Simone Hefting with senior Eva Kaplan, sophomores Sydney Woolsten and  Shea Bolderson ready . Lafayette will support a solid midfield with Captain Anna Steps leading the transition along with Senior Grace Angella and Audrey Sawer supported by Mary Gold and Kara Tiedke. The attack is ready with Junior Molly McAndrew, Senior Sophie Carr and Alex Talkow along with sophomores Fecitas Hannes and Tara Hamilton.

The Leopards are deep. Last year, Lehigh substituted only 2 players the whole game, while Lafayette used their depth with 6 substitutions. Opening day, an abbreviated schedule, and some fans in the stands makes this an intriguing match. Although Lehigh has said it is considering allowing fans at their games, Lafayette is allowing at least parents to this game. ( Unfortunating two 70 plus year old, fully vaccinated fans have to watch it at home…..we could consider a temporary adoption!!! But I will save that for another blog)

There are no definite wins this year ( can I remind everyone of Bucknell’s loss to Colgate last week??)!  Both teams will want this one for a variety reasons. Wish I could be there in person, but ESPN plus is already saved for this one!!

PS: Lafayette is allowing a limited amount of alumni at games….my wife and I have registered and will be in attendance. No need for a temporary adoption!!!