Lafayette Coaching Staff Announces Six Recruits For The Class Of 2024

8 corners eventually lead to victory in playoff game

Coach Stone chose to announce the names of recruits who have signed for the class entering this fall by instagram. I have previously published the names of the recruits who had committed before, and revealed by Max Sports. They were Emma Garvey, Ariel Schumacher, Kelly Baitenger, Alden Bocella and Alexandra Conway. The sixth name was included in the instagram report is Carly Kreytak, from Massachusetts. Her club team claimed she was a late signee ( December 15).  All apparently have returned their NLI’s since the College is revealing their names.

They will be replacing the excellent senior class which will graduate six this spring. This will not necessarily end the building of a final class, as often time Coach Stone could reveal more later this spring. One might think that the impact of a first year player would not be that significant, but the season could be 20 games long and often times, as happened this year, first year players provide significant depth and occasionally some could even be an impact player. Two players last year found their way to start and others played significant roles in important games as the season progressed.

I have tried to get handle on this class’ accomplishments and they look impressive . There is one goal keeper who in film looks very athletic, a midfielder that astoundingly has scored more than 100 goals in her career. Most have played multiple sports attesting to their athletic ability and versatility. All are excellent students or they would not have gotten past the Lafayette Admissions Team.

In no particular order here is what I have been able to glean about individuals.

Emma Garvey

Emma Garvey blocks a shot at Spooky Nook

Emma is a GK from Buckingham, Brown and Nichols school in Massachusetts and lives in Peabody, Mass. She is 5’4” and 120 pound of athletic ability. I have seen several tapes of her and she moves well and has quick reflexes. She played for Northeast Elite club team and was a selectee for the 2017 AAU Junior Olympics. She was also an all league selectee. She will provide needed depth at goal keeper and I will be looking forward to her arrival in August.

Ariel Schumacher


Ariel is a M/F from Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Texas. She was named a Top 40 player by Max Sports for the mid West and West region. She was one of four named in Texas for that honor. She was a key player for Duchesne, who won the state title two years in a row. This year Ariel set up the winning overtime goal in the championship. She played in the Under 16 and Under 19 tournaments at Spook Nook.

Her videos shows an accomplished athlete who shows great promise. She is a welcome addition for the Leopards.

Kelly Baitinger


Kelly comes via Perkiomen Valley in Pennsylvania and is a M/F. She is a well rounded student athlete with field hockey honors that include NIT appearances and  significant contributions to her successful high school team. Kelly is particularly impressive in the classroom and sports a 4.62 GPA. This future biology major has many academic awards including excellence in French, Honor Roll, and an “Emerging Genius Award.”

She is also an excellent Lacrosse player. I had the pleasure of inadvertently running into her asst Coach at a Christmas concert, and she had high praise for her. She is excited for this next step and I can’t wait to see her on the turf.

Alden Boccella


Alden comes to Lafayette from Gwymead Mercy Academy. If the school sounds familiar to recent alumni, it is the same school that Emily Valeo came from. Emily was an all league record setter during our back to back league championships and NCAA appearances. Alden is a record setter already in High School having scored more than 100 goals in her career at Gwymead. Not unexpectedly, she was named to the top 50 by Max Sports list. She also plays for WC Eagles. Her field hockey accomplishments include Junior Olympics, all state, and nominations for all American. Her field hockey awards would tax my computer memory.

She is an accomplished student having been named to the distinguished honor roll every semester. She also received the top math award at her high school. The 5’5″ athlete will be a math major at Lafayette.

Alexandra Conway


.Alex  joins the Lafayette family via at the Hill School , where she was an important contributor to their success. She is another forward that will add to the Leopard scoring punch. She is an all around athlete having also played basketball. She is an all league and all state nominee for field hockey. and also a WC Eagles player. She played in various indoor tournaments leading her team to numerous championships.

Like her future teammates, she is a strong student. She received honors in the national latin exam and was a consistent high honor roll student.

Carly Kreytak


Carly comes to Lafayette from Phillips Academy in Andover. It is a storied program who won its state division title again this year. It was led by their team captain Carly Kreytak. Carly had transferred from Middlesex but quickly found her way to a leadership position at Andover. Her coach notes that Carly ” Leads by example and brings positive energy on and off the field.”  ” She brings a high level of play every time she steps on the field.” She is a center back and as we know at Lafayette it can be the central position on the team. Her Coach ( Martha Fenton), praises her level of skill and knowledge of the game. ” She is really skilled . Her stick skills are phenomenal and has in the last 3 or 4 years gained a real understanding of the game.” Her teammates say, ” Carly brings a lot positivity and really pumps everyone up before every practice  and every game. She keep us going and keep the team motivated.”

She sounds like just the type of athlete that Coach Stone would like!!

I am sure there will be more information put out by Lafayette later on, but this is what I can glean at the moment. I am sure the new Leopards will be joining their teammates at Kirby for a basketball game soon, and  they will have a chance to mix and bond as a new team at that time.

This will not preclude some later additions to the team, but it is an impressive mix and I can’t wait to see them on the field in August. Meanwhile spring practice is around the corner which will bring it’s own excitement to Rappolt Field!!


American University Ambushed By Fairfield 3-1 In NCAA Game

Fairfield University used their home field advantage, and a well thought out game plan to end American University’s season in a game that represented their 19-2 season. As expected, the game was a stalemate for the first half resulting in a 0-0 tie, but with Fairfield getting 3 shots to American’s single shot in the first half. Neither team substituted very much during the game, but if there was an index of bandage to player ratio, American would have won that statistic hands down.

The atmosphere was super cold, with a stiff breeze that make it all the more difficult. Zoe Rosen, the excellent Fairfield GK, made 3 saves on American’s four shots on goal. Fiona Minter the freshman GK for American wasn’t nearly as good, as she only stopped 3 of Fairfield’s 6 shots on goal.

If the first half was all about defense. the second half was about which offense was going to dominate. Fairfield came out smoking in the second half, and scored with only 37 seconds having ticked off the clock. Emma Matlack received a cross from Luzi Persiehl and delivered the goal to put Fairfield ahead.

The Eagles scrambled to find their footing, and wasn’t until 5 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter  were they able to tie the game off a play familiar to the Leopards,  Noor Coenen delivering the ball to Josie Formica to tie game at one to one.

American tried to push for the second goal but in the process left their defense exposed. Fairfield for the first time this year, used a long arial that caught the eagles without any defense. An NFL quarterback could not have made a better pass. Midfielder Malen Iglesias found Julianna Kratz perfectly who passed to Danielle Profita for the two on one break….Fairfield takes the lead again with less than 8 minutes left.

The proverbial coup de grace was a goal from Mackenzie Boyle from the Malen Iglesias with about 2 minutes left in the game. The last eight minutes saw American desperately trying to get into their rhythm, but never quite getting there.

Both teams are young, American will only graduate one starter and Fairfield has only two seniors on their team. I have to admit I thought American was the easy choice to win…I was wrong Fairfield was motivated and well prepared. They will now move on to play in state rival UCONN on Friday.


NLI signings began rolling in yesterday at various Division one schools. Lafayette has not yet announced those early signings, but it has been their practice to announce when the class is complete. Max field hockey has been posting verbal commitments. They include Emma Garvey a GK from Massachusettes and Buckingham Brown and Nichols school, Ariel Schumacher M/F from Texas and Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Kelly Baitenger M/F Perkiomen Valley, Pa. Alden Bocella M/D from Gwymead Mercy Academy in Pa., Alexandra Conway F, the Hill School, Pa, All three Pa. recruits also played for WC Eagles.

Later on I will be reviewing all the Patriot League recruits as we move through this month and next. ln the meantime a hearty welcome to our new recruits and their families to Lafayette Field Hockey!!

Leopards Fall 2-3 In Championship Battle

Cam Costello played key roles in today’s game

The Lafayette Leopards ended a dream season battling to the very last, against the American Eagles. The game started with all the momentum going Lafayette’s way. The first quarter saw Lafayette aggressively going after the ball, and blunting any counter attack by the blue clad Eagles. Time of possession was clearly in the Leopard’s favor as they entered the attacking third using interceptions. American was clearly on their heels and to drive the point home at 6:48 into the game Lafayette drew first blood. As is the usual scheme, the play started at the Leopards outstanding back line with Lisa van der Geest working into Audrey Sawers who quickly shed a defender and fed to freshman Tara Hamilton speeding into the circle. There she found senior Cam Costello who placed the ball to the left side for the opening score.

Eva Kaplan makes her contributions fighting past an American defender

This was the first time in ten games that the Eagles have been scored upon first in the opening quarter. All looked bright entering the second period. However, 36 seconds into the second quarter the Leopards were to give up a corner. Upon looking at the video this evening the ball was launched clearly close to Grace Angelella waist which would result in the ball for the Leopards not a corner. ( PLEASE. PLEASE PATRIOT LEAGUE install video referral like NCAA, Big Ten, ACC, MAC and other leagues have adopted). In any case, the corner was converted successfully by American’s Josie Formica with an assist by American’s star Noor Coenen. It was at that point it looked like a little air went out of the Leopards play.

Freshman Simone Hefting was a welcome returnee for the playoff season

The half ended in one to one tie. Three minutes into the second half the Eagles struck again taking the lead on another penalty corner strike, this time by Coenen assisted by Lauren Fredricks, and Gaby de Kock. The final goal for American came early in the fourth, on a strike by Atina Pagani on the right corner. American had multiple corner opportunities which were turned back by goalkeeper Sarah Park and the Lafayette defense.

Audrey Sawers did what was needed all season and especially in these final two games. No doubt a future star!!

The Leopards were not done as they were able to get a final goal with 48 seconds left, on a Lisa van der Geest rocket to close the score to within one. The subsequent push off was controlled by American and eventually led to a final corner when Coach Jennings decided to play it safe putting 9 players back on defense and delivering the ball to the corner to be trapped and to run out the clock.

Lisa van der Geest does it all and more

Sarah Park was to have six saves on nine shots on goal. Lafayette was to have two shots on goal which resulted in zero saves and two goals. Overall Lafayette had five shots to American’s 13 and American had 6 corners to Lafayette’s lone corner with less than one minute left. Given this statistic it demonstrates what Lafayette needed to do. American protected their goalie and shielded her from Lafayette’s strong corner offense. American’s third quarter with six shots was crucial.

Lafayette had 4 cards, three green and one yellow and American had two greens. All in all this was a worthy championship game. The game could have gone either way and had opportunities go either way.  This is an extraordinary senior class that has shown not only skill but leadership that may well be felt after they graduate. In addition, the underclassman stepped up when needed. Audrey Sawers to my mind, was the unsung hero scoring the lone goal on Friday and was involved in key plays in both games. A close second was Cameron Costello who showed all season her skill and importance to the team and who scored the opening goal of this game.

This was a team that was certainly qualified to be a champion and as a fan of these young women and of the sport I feel their disappointment. But there is no doubt this team will be remembered well, and can be used as platform for future success.

There were many alumni and their parents in the stands today, and I hope these emerging alumni return to see how they have contributed to future success. It is an eclectic group with numerous talents and will make their marks in whatever they do.

I also have to mention the leadership of Lisa van der Geest who now will play in the Division one all star game at Wake Forest. Lisa could be considered an on the field 5th coach directing play and as captain, mentoring the younger players. Something tells me we have not heard the last from Lisa as there will be more awards and would certainly be considered a Hall of Fame candidate at the appropriate time. She will certainly garner additional awards before she graduates.

I will certainly be at my computer to record and memorialize more Leopard Field Hockey news as we move to recruit signings, and the spring season. Meanwhile we wish those that have been injured a quick recovery and rehabilitation, as the next season will at some point begin.

****Just announced American will meet Fairfield on Wed. and the winner will play UConn on Friday in the NCAA tournament.



Sawers Sends Leopards To Sunday Showdown

Audrey Sawers muscled the ball past the excellent Bucknell goalkeeper with 8:52 left in the game in a play that was a metaphor for the whole afternoon. Both sides played with emotion and character,  that gave the words,”championship effort,” meaning. For those 51 minutes and 18 seconds, it was a see saw battle which had observers on the edge of the their seats or walking along the sideline. It was the dominant second half by the Leopards which moved the momentum in the Leopards favor, and led ultimately to Sawers second and third effort ending in a 1-0 lead.

8 corners eventually lead to victory

The game had all the expected drama, as Bucknell opened the contest emulating American’s strategy of last week,  using quick starts from free hits, and an attacking style. The Leopards responded with an early high press, that by the last two quarters was to put Bucknell on their heels, and expose them, and the their defense to an onslaught of shots that ultimately led to victory. It was that 12-1 advantage in shots in the second half that was to ultimately determine the final outcome.

Cam Costello closes in on Kaelyn Long

The Leopards coaching staff and team learned lessons well from last week, and were able to overcome the disappointment  of not getting to the circle against American last week, with a well orchestrated attack. However, the first half of yesterday’s game, which produced only a 3 to 1 difference in shots between Bucknell and Lafayette, would not be a preview as to how the rest of the game would go. Bucknell was to the receive an early opportunity with a corner with only about 3 minutes gone in the game. It would be Bucknell’s only corner of the game. Lafayette responded with a corner of their own in the first quarter, and a scrum later  in front of the cage. That activity looked to many observers like a goal was scored during that scrum. The near official ruled it hit a Lafayette player before entering the cage. ( I reviewed the video and looked to me like a good goal by Angellela on the deflection. Please, please can the PL go instant replay!!!)

Lisa van der Geest advances the ball

The second half, unlike the first, was to see the Leopards gain control.  Lafayette numerous  shots did not find its finish during the second half.  The Bucknell goalie, Olivia Harris ( the Patriot League goalie of the year) turned away 7 shots during the game, six alone in the second half.

Midfielder Grace Angellela uses her orange footwear to speed down the field

The Lafayette defense anchored by the Patriot League defensive player of year Lisa van der Geest was to extinguish threat after threat by the game Bucknell attack before they could reach the shooting circle. Freshman Simone Hefting, playing in only her second game in about 3 weeks was always there as part of the defensive wall. All league mid Anna Steps seemed to be at the ready to consistently halt bison attacks before they got started. But this was not the effort of single players, as the  17 players who saw action displayed the character of this team as the game wore on.  The  entire team was into it as the bench encouraged and no doubt helped prepare their teammates for this weekend!!

American Coach Steve Jennings takes copious notes during the game

The encouragement and preparation by the Coach of the Year Jennifer Stone and her staff was perfect, as the team seemed well prepared and up for challenge. American coach Steve Jennings was seen watching the entire game from a building at the end of the field. Coach Stone also watched the previous Holy Cross v American game which ended in a 5-1 win for the Eagles of American University.

American offensive player of the year Noor Coenen will no doubt have the attention of Lafayette defenders on Sunday

In that first game Holy Cross got off to a slow start in which American and their star junior attacker Noor Coenen dominated the game. The game had none of the drama of the afternoon game.

This sets up a 12 noon match for the Patriot League Championship which not only gets rings for the winner and trophies, but the right to move on to the national division one tournament. The Leopards celebrated, with a team dinner, and will return to the pitch on Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s match!

Lafayette fans feeling it !!!

Lafayette fans, for the most part, will extend their stay in Washington ( no doubt with the hope that the broken water main that deprived residents in DC of potable water is repaired). They will brave the cold hoping that parking will be more available, and long walks to avoid tickets will be a thing of the past. But unlike five of their  Patriot League sister schools Lafayette will be playing on! Go Pards!!!


Handicapping A Playoff

In case you haven’t noticed, I do have a fascination for numbers. Perhaps its derived from  a career in finance, first as a foreign exchange trader on Wall Street, looking for arbitrages and later as a Treasurer of a good size bank evaluating enterprise risk. However, I have over the years also had good respect for exogenous factors that may drive unexpected outcomes. The expected result doesn’t always happen. The Nationals win the World Series, or the Eagles win the Super Bowl. The NCAA basketball tournament has its share of upsets. The “one and done” format especially, is prone to surprises.

Lafayette breaks the Bucknell defense’s press

There are several elements to winning which I described in an earlier article. Part of winning is convincing your opponent, they can’t, which to my mind is taking away the things they do well or isolating and neutralizing a key player. So perhaps we should look at the things our potential opponents do well, and focus how each team might approach their opponent.

Teams will approach each opponent differently at different stages of the season considering variables such as injuries, weather and  venue. It will be cold on Friday. Each team has key injuries, whether they want to admit it or not, We are playing the tournament at American. It is a one year old turf which is much improved from the previous surface they owned. Their crowd size during the year was hardly overwhelming, and the first games will be played during class time.  Lafayette just played there last week, so counting practice time Lafayette would have spent four days out of the last eight on that surface by the time of the Bucknell game.

Molly McAndrews and Sam Dimiao challenge a Bucknell midfielder

Starting with statistics ( I can’t help myself), I will use in conference stats only. They are recent and against common opponents. Scoring margin reveals American and Lafayette at first and second. American’s average is 2.50 plus and Lafayette is 2.25. Bucknell and Holy Cross are third and fifth at plus 1.67 and minus 1.17 respectively. American averages 3.33 goals per game, Bucknell 3.17 , Lafayette 2.89, and Holy Cross 2.17.

Lafayette has three shutouts and leads the field in that category, along with a goals against  average of .64 and Holy Cross’ 3.33 at the bottom. American takes 16.5 shots per game while Lafayette takes 15.83 per game, Bucknell 12.17, and Holy Cross 10.  Holy Cross has had to make 8.5 saves per game, Bucknell 3.5, Lafayette 2.67 and American 2.5.

Cam Costello chases down a ball against Bucknell

Penalty Corners  are an important aspect in scoring for Bucknell and Lafayette. American gets 6.83 corners per game, Bucknell  5.5, Lafayette  4.67, and Holy Cross  3.33.  Lafayette must get to the circle and get corners. Last Friday they had 0 corners. Here’s why, Bucknell gets 1 goal per game on corners, Lafayette gets .83 per game, American .5 and Holy Cross .33.

Now the intangibles, and individual player stats. American has momentum having gone undefeated in the League and they are playing at home, but they have played , one goal games against Lafayette and Holy Cross. The Bucknell win was by two goals (3-1).

Noor Coenan leads the League in shots while Bucknell and Lafayette have a more diversified attack with McAndrews and Van der Geest contributing for Lafayette and Leah Fogelsanger and Britany Willwerth providing the scoring strength for Bucknell. American has Coenen at first in the League in points and Hannah Moser at 10th. Molly McAndrews is second in the league in points and Van der Geest is seventh, Bucknell has four in the top ten Fogelsanger at 5 and Kaelyn Long at 8 and Allie Christopher, and Megan Keeney tied for 10th.

Goalkeeper is the last line of defense and Lafayette’s Sarah Park leads the league in shutouts, goals against per game, and save percentage (.78).The save percentage for Holy Cross’ LaPlante is .735, Bucknell’s Olivia Haris is .70 and Fiona Minter from American is .688. Minter did not play in last week’s senior day game at American.

Each team has their solid leaders in Van der Geest, Coenen, Willwerth and LaPlante. All four teams have been here before. These teams will bring intensity, irrespective of their records. In the first games. Holy Cross must find their way to the goal cage and test the American goalkeeper. An early lead on a defense minded team may be the key to this game.  In the second game on Friday against two very similar teams Lafayette clearly must find their way to the circle to get corners and shots. They must continue their dominant defense while Bucknell will try to high press and get turnovers and keep Lafayette away from the attacking third. This game could be decided by midfielders and the transition game.

Bring your warmest clothes and be thankful we are playing in the afternoon!!  Go Pards!!!

Championship Time…..There Is No Future If You Don’t Win the Next Game


Andrey Sawers battle with Kali Williams from Colgate

Eighteen games have been played and  brought Lafayette into the position to win a Championship. Winning  the game last Saturday would have been big. We would have had a crowd of about 1,000 supporters, good parking, and the team could sleep in their own beds. Unfortunately that didn’t happen…forget about it..start thinking about the NEXT game and its not American. The Leopards will be playing Bucknell, a worthy opponent and you can believe they are thinking about the 2-1 loss they had to Lafayette several weeks ago,  just as Holy Cross is thinking about their one goal loss to American about the same time.

The “learning” is over and it’s the “result” that counts from now on!!! One and done as they say. One loss and the season is over. Make no mistake about it, I believe the Leopards can win this tournament and even make a statement in the NCAA tournament, but it’s the Bucknell game at 2:30 that matters. Overall this is as fine a team Lafayette has had over the years, but Bucknell comes in with 12 straight appearances in the PL tournament. Several years ago, they were the PL regular season champion and lost to BU in the tournament at their place.

Grace Angelella speeds down the middle of the field

There can be no walking around, free hits must be defended and executed with alacrity. Neither team can give the other time to get organized. Records don’t count anymore, only the results this weekend. Eight years ago the Leopards won the championship against Bucknell at American. A year later American met the Leopards on Rappolt field and American lost on a penalty stroke.

It doesn’t matter what sport, in whatever season, tournaments are intense. It could be a World Series, the World Cup in soccer and field hockey, or the NCAA basketball tournament. There is no next game!!

More, later this week on Bucknel,l who beat Holy Cross 2-1 this past weekend to set up the field for the tournament along with the Lehigh win over BU!!

“Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling”—–Bill Belichick

Biggest Game Of Year…So Far… This Weekend

Molly McAndrews closes in on the ball

The Eagles of American University and the Leopards of Lafayette will clash in the last game of the regular season for both teams in DC on Saturday at 11 am. It will be senior day for the Eagles but no mind..this is for the regular season championship and the right to host in the Patriot League playoffs. Both teams will either be seeded one or two for the November 8th first round of two. Two days later will be the championship, which will decide who will represent the Patriot League in the NCAA tournament in the following week.

The last time the Leopards made the tournament was in 2012 when they beat the Eagles on a penalty stroke in the cold confines of Rappolt Field. This will be Lafayette’s 18th game of the season ( not counting pre-season) and American’s 16th game. American has arrived here with a 10-5 record and 5-0 in conference play, Lafayette is 11-6 also 5-0 in conference play. The third and fourth team won’t be known until after Saturday’s games.

The Leopards have played 5 ranked teams and won one ( Monmouth). They lost one to Liberty 5-0 and the played the others to overtime.  They also played Fairfield in the preseason. American on the other hand played three ranked teams and lost all of them The largest margin was Delaware in which they lost 0-4. One loss was an overtime game to ODU in a shootout. They lost to Maryland this past tuesday 0-1. So among other factors and those, Lafayette’s SOS is 9 places better.

American has scored 40 goals, and Lafayette has scored 39 playing two more games. American’s defense has allowed 1.33 goals per game while Lafayette has allowed 1.47.

Penalty corners which could play a role in the outcome is 6 per game for Lafayette against 4 for opponents. American averages 6.5 and opponents 2.6.  American’s freshman GK Fiona Minter has a 63 percent save percentage, while the Lafayette goal keeper Sarah Park has a 75% save percentage.

Both the Leopards and the Eagles have a diversified attack with the Leopards having six players with 3 or more goals and American has 5 with three or more goals. Molly McAndrews leads the Leopards with 9 goals while Noor Coenen has 14 goals on 73 shots.

Noor Coenen is a big part of  Eagle play

Both teams are blessed with intense, committed athletes. Noor Coenen is the clear go to person on the Eagle squad. The Dutch junior can be found all over the field and in the Maryland game made her self known on the defensive side of the field. Senior Lisa van der Geest  is the leader and competitive soul of Lafayette. She has a strong stroke and a real danger on both sides of the field. She is the reigning National Defensive Player of the Week, and has scored seven goals for Lafayette.

One interesting stat I discovered while researching this article is that Noor Coenen is the leading accumulator of cards on the team….8 green and two yellow. She is an intense competitor no doubt.

Audrey Sawers meets up with a William and Mary attacker

The team will  leave Friday morning to try the new turf at American. Coach Jennings will no doubt try to contain the Lafayette attack hoping to generate offense by interceptions and breakaways. Lafayette will  do much the same hoping to occupy the circle and get corners for opportunities to face the American GK.

It seems like a long time since the beginning of the season. Both teams have their share of bumps and bruises, but you can bet if a player can stand up, they will be giving their all on Saturday.

The Leopards have a strong, deep and tested bench which should give them some advantage and no reason to slow down during the game. It’ll be all out for both teams!! You all know where my heart is in this one. Home field is a BIG DEAL!!! GO PARDS!