Senior Day Win Against Yale Sparked By Shanks And Arnold

Rosie Shanks attacks the circle in game against Colgate and scores winning goal against Yale
Rosie Shanks attacks the circle in the game against Colgate and scores the winning goal against Yale

Junior Katelyn Arnold and Sophomore Rosie Shanks stepped up on Senior Day to have key roles in a 1-0 victory over Yale. Seniors Hannah Millen, Paige Macrae, Kirby Szalkowski, Kendall Weedling, Katie Birle and Abby Stefanides appeared for the last time in a Lafayette uniform at Rappolt Field. All were determined to make their last appearance on their home turf a memorable one. Pre-game ceremonies included introduction of all six players who were joined by their parents at center field in front of an appreciative crowd. This senior class has not only seen winning seasons but a Patriot League championship, a national ranking as high as seventh and an appearance in the national NCAA Division one tournament. They have also traveled as a team this year to Spain to compete and they have distinguished themselves in the classroom.

Corner offense of Kirby Szalkowski, Amanda Madagan, Abby Stefanides, Katie Birle, and Hannah Millen put the play in action
Corner offense of Kirby Szalkowski, Amanda Madagan, Abby Stefanides, Katie Birle, and Hannah Millen put the play in action

This year the team has qualified for the Patriot League tournament which will be played this friday and saturday in Boston. The winner of the tournament gets to go the NCAA tournament as a final sixteen participant. Sunday’s game with Yale, although a non-conference game was important, in that the seniors would leave with nine wins for this year ( three more than last year), a record tying appearance in the Patriot League tournament, and a chance to continue playing. They also succeeded in scoring more goals than the last two years in a season. This class wears a Patriot League Championship ring, and in their freshman year were consistently ranked in the top 20 while appearing in the NCAA division one tournament losing to Maryland 0-2.

The game with Yale was hotly contested evidenced by the 0-0 score at halftime, although Lafayette led in shots 5-3 and corners 4-2, each team was to hit the post. Yale’s Carol Middough was to hear the clank of metal at 18:32 and Ami Turner on the Lafayette side was to hit the post at 25:29. After the halftime break Yale came out determined to guard Lafayette closely and try to force turnovers, the Leopards were trying to flood the circle in hope of getting that second or third rebound to find the back of the cage. At 39:38 it was Rosie Shanks of Lafayette who was to break the tie as the ball came off the glove of the Yale goalkeeper into the air. Shanks spotted it mid waist, and batted it with the skill of a baseball player into cage. It was that goal that was to stand up for the remainder of the game as Katelyn Arnold was to make 2 key saves giving her and the team their second consecutive shutout of the weekend and Arnolds’s fourth of her career.

Senior Abby Stefenides gets ready to receive the ball against Yale
Senior Abbey Stefanides gets ready to receive the ball against Yale

So as the clock ticked to 00, the seniors reached that poignant moment of walking off the home turf wearing the Maroon and White for the last time. ( I sometimes wonder if there is more melancholy from the student athletes or the parents) There would be the celebratory tailgate with memorable poems and laughter, and they were to do it with a win at their back. There is still work and things to accomplish in the coming days but for today they can return to the Hill after a job well done.

Let’s Remember This Is A Team Sport

I know I have written this before, but I love team sports. It’s one thing to run in circle to see how long it takes to get back where you started. or accepting the winning trophy because you hit the little ball into the hole in a smaller amount of strokes, but organizing a group to act and perform as one is an achievement. Strong societies are built on collective achievements, something that seems to have escaped many today. Yes, we look for heroes to carry the day, but  truly great things are done by teams today. Team playing in governing, scientific accomplishment by building on research of others, and winning wars working together are examples of team effort today.

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Katie Birle chases down a ball as a Temple player is in hot pursuit.

Women’s sports are no exception. It has only been in the last 20 years or so that women’s sports actually have begun going beyond the idea of a recreational club. Field Hockey in the United States first arrived at the turn of the 20th century, and it really took the invention of astro-turf to have it start to look like a sport rather an up tempo game of croquet. The women look like athletes instead of like the “Belles of St. Trinians.” ( That movie still cracks me up especially the field hockey game.)

When I first proposed an astro-turf field at Lafayette 15 years ago, the response I got was, “yeah great but really, stands for actual fans??” Today the team even in down years averages more than 200 fans a game and if we have an important game 500 to 1000 might show up. There are many in the academe who mourn that women’s athletics is getting more like the male sports but they miss the point

Plaque dedicated to two year old Lucy
Plaque dedicated to two year old Lucy

Saturday we dedicated a tree in memory of a recent alumna whose little two year old died of leukemia. All her teammates were there to support her. One friend even gave her daughter a middle name after the little girl! This is what team is all about. You care for each other, you trust one another, you believe in common goals, and that never goes away.

Teammates always, Abby Stefanides, Katie Birle, Hannah Millen, Kirby Szalkowski, Paige Macrae, Kendall Weedling
Teammates always, Abby Stefanides, Katie Birle, Hannah Millen, Kirby Szalkowski, Paige Macrae, Kendall Weedling

Next Sunday we will celebrate Senior Day as they will play their last regular season game together. Hopefully after playing Colgate the day before they will come together and perhaps again qualify for the League Tournament. It will happen because they were a team and were not running circles to see how fast they can end up at the same spot they started from.(No offense to our track athletes). If we win its because we care for one another ( enough to put in the extra effort to help each other out), that will engender trust to know your teammate will be there when you see a space, and you believe and want that common goal, not for yourself but for your team. Go Leopards!

Leopards Have Key Game This Weekend With The Holy Cross Crusaders.

Ami Turner gets ahead of a Lehigh defender and passes the ball into the offensive circle
Ami Turner gets ahead of a Lehigh defender and passes the ball into the offensive circle

The Leopards will meet the Crusaders for the 32nd meeting between these schools. Lafayette has an edge with 18 wins against thirteen loses. The last win by Holy Cross was a 2-1 OT win in Easton in 2009. In that game, the Leopards had 26 shots to 3 for Holy Cross. The Crusader goalie had 12 saves in that encounter, but Lafayette scored the first goal in the first period and looked like they were on their way to a win when, with 6 minutes left to play, Holy Cross found the back of the cage to tie it up. The Leopards had chances in the end. including two corners, and the game ended in a tie. Two overtimes later. it came down to strokes and the Leopards ended on the short end losing 2-1. The Crusaders had a losing season and put the Leopards in a difficult spot regarding the playoffs.

Amanda Magadan and Ellen Colbourne closely guard a UConn player
Amanda Magadan and Ellen Colbourne closely guard a UConn player

This Crusader team is a better team coming in with a 6-9 record but having lost the last 6 out of 7 games. Their goalie, Inch is a key player and the Leopards must find their way to the circle to exercise their 24 pct scoring percentage. Holy Cross is 19 pct but take more shots and get more penalty corners than the Leopards have. Outside of Boston University I see no ranked team on their schedule but have posted a good win against Harvard early on.

Kirby Szalkowski turns ball around against Boston University
Kirby Szalkowski turns ball around against Boston University

This is the part of the season where individual games  matter. In order to get to the post season, these league games must end up in the W column. The Leopard’s fate is in their hands. They win, they are in the post season, if they lose its too complicated for my 70 year old brain to calculate but it is clear it will depend on other teams to make it all possible.

Twelve o’clock it all happens. The sky’s will be clear and a brisk fall afternoon is anticipated. Here’s hoping it ends in Maroon   happiness!!! Come on out and enjoy the action.

Is It Too Early For Patriot League Bracketology? The Permuations At This Moment.

Amanda Magadan is always a threat
Amanda Magadan is always a threat

We are getting to that time of year where each game takes on added significance, and we start to see who has a shot at getting to the National Tournament to pick the best in the nation. The Patriot League, based on last years RPI will get an automatic bid to NCAA tournament. The honor goes the Patriot League tournament winner. There are seven teams in the League, and the four with the best record and, surviving tie breakers will play a four team two day tournament, the winner to move onto the big dance. The are two things now for certain, Boston University is definitely in and Colgate is out, based on Boston’s 4-0 record and Colgate’s 0-4 record in the league.

Here are the league standings and the corresponding League records with the teams each league member will play in coming weeks:

Ami Turner delivers the ball upfield
Ami Turner delivers the ball upfield

Boston University  4-0 needs to play Lehigh and Bucknell

American U           3-1 needs to play Lafayette and Bucknell

Lafayette               2-1 needs to play American, Holy Cross, and Colgate

Bucknell                2-1 needs to play Holy Cross, Boston, and American

Holy Cross             1-2 needs to play Bucknell, Lafayette and Lehigh

Lehigh                    0-3 needs to play Boston,Colgate, Holy Cross

Colgate                  0-4 needs to play Lehigh and Lafayette

Kaitlyn Arnold and Hannah Millen protect the cage
Kaitlyn Arnold and Hannah Millen protect the cage

So if you believe that Boston has locked in the home field, think again. If Bucknell runs the table, the first tie breaker is head to head competition. Bucknell would win the regular season and host. If Bucknell losses one of their three games they will not host but would make it in. If Lafayette ran the table and Boston lost one, Lafayette loses the tie breaker and could not host. Boston would have to lose to Lehigh and Bucknell and Lafayette would need  to run the table for the Leopards to host. To lock in their place in the tournament all Lafayette needs to do is win two of the last three. Bucknell will have two tough final games against American and Boston. Winning both would be remarkable.

Kendall Weedling lines up a shot
Kendall Weedling lines up a shot

Holy Cross needs to continue to win.  Should they lose to either Bucknell or Lafayette, they  are probably out. Lehigh plays Boston this weekend and even if they run the table are unlikely to make it in having lost to Bucknell and Lafayette. Colgate has no way in but could act as a spoiler to Lafayette should Lafayette lose to Holy Cross and American. Will Bucknell win against an improved and inspired Holy Cross team, helping the Leopards out??

We haven’t even talked about seeds…maybe next week!!??

So this weekend’s games will be closely watched and in all likelihood the field will be narrowed by the end of day. Interesting question is on the table for this weekend. What upset will spoil everyone’s calculations!

It’s Arnold, Macrae, Weedling, Shanks, Et Alia

Katelyn Arnold stands tall in the goal against Bucknell
Katelyn Arnold stands tall in the goal against Bucknell

In most sports accounts, the writer concentrates on the player who scores the touchdown, goal, or makes some spectacular play and I will give credit to all those I mentioned in the title. But I also want to especially emphasize the final member of the team, Et Alia. Don’t go rushing to the roster list, or the final account of game on goleopards.com because Et Alia will not be mentioned. Et Alia is a latin phrase that appears often in legal text as the abbreviation et al, meaning everyone else. This game was won by Et Alia, the entire team. It is no secret, that the entire team was in a slump. After tuesday’s game against Penn there was depression settling over Pardsville. The Leopards looked out of sync, and out of sorts. Et Alia was not to be found.

Paige Macrae show her defensive skills as she blocks a Bucknell advance
Paige Macrae show her defensive skills as she blocks a Bucknell advance

But something changed in the last four days. The team that arrived on the field on Saturday for this important league game was not going to be denied. Bucknell arrived with impressive history having won the Patriot League regular season and not losing a league regular season game in two years. In fact, they had beaten the Leopards each of those years. But these games with Lafayette were always close and well fought. I have to admit I arrived at the field this year with some trepidation. A repeat of last tuesday would mean certain defeat and a struggle to make the playoffs.

As expected the Bisons arrived with a good plan, they were going to press high, and double team the Leopards outside players to shut down the transition game and keep the Leopards out of their offensive end. They were aggressive, and precise in execution. They also gave Amanda Magadan, and Ellen Coulbourne  extra attention but they couldn’t guard “Et Alia.”

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Kendall Weedling and et al. celebrate the first goal of the game as recorded by go leopards

The Leopards took advantage of opportunities, and as we know pressing constantly, takes some sacrifice in energy and defensive coverage downfield and the Leopards took advantage. Yes, Bucknell had a 17-8 advantage in shots, and a 10-4 advantage in corners. But as some sports sage said long ago statistics are for losers. Lafayette on this day used a team effort which included the efforts of Arnold, Macrae, Weeding, and Shanks  who helped put points on the board and stopped goals when needed.

First Arnold came with save after save. Some were ordinary kick saves but there were others of the leaping variety. I believe Katelyn Arnold is the best goalie in the League and she proved that to the crowd and her opponents. Scoring started early with a Kendall Weedling goal delivered off an alert pass from Paige Macrae who had an outstanding afternoon. The two were able to take advantage of a fast break and took on the Bucknell goalkeeper two on one with Weeding deftly delivering the shot from goalie’s right side. The second goal was nearly 41 minutes later from sophomore Rosie Shanks who also executed a break, after a  steal by Hannah Millen who passed to Macrae. The Bison were executing a break of their own when the Millen to Macrae pass to Shanks  found her near the top of the circle facing the Bison goalie who had come out of the cage. Weedling meanwhile came speeding up the other side of the circle and Shanks shifted her focus to Weedling  creating the hesitation needed in the Bison goalie, to allow a clean shot at the goal. It was a rocket that sounded with smack that was heard throughout the field.

Macrae was to get a goal of her own during a penalty corner as Amanda Magadan received the ball at the top of the circle delivered a pass to the reliable Paige Macrae who deflected the ball soundly into the cage for her third goal of the year. Bucknell was still to be heard from as Nicole Rupnick received a pass from Amy Mucelli and shot at 66:40 of the game into the goal.

The game was to end, as time ran out on a Bucknell corner which was stopped by a defensive save by Hannah Millen. Although it was meaningless toward the final outcome, it was a metaphor for the whole game. Bucknell battled to the end but Lafayette was not to be denied today by “et alia”,….. the team.

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Aliza Furneaux beats a Bucknell defender to the ball

The Leopards are now 2-1 in the league and will meet 3 other league members in coming weeks, American this coming Saturday, the much improved Holy Cross Crusaders, and finally Colgate who eliminated Lafayette last year from the playoff. Lehigh with 4 loses has already been eliminated, and Boston University has clinched a berth with four wins.

The Leopards also welcomed back assistant coach Joey Civico who returned to the sidelines.

Lafayette Will March On Against League Rival Bucknell

Senior Abbey Stefanides reaches for Penn ball in first action of the season for her
Senior Abbey Stefanides reaches for Penn ball in first action of the season for her

The field hockey season is one of second and third chances at success and saturday will present one of those opportunities. The Lafayette Leopards have now dropped back to 6-6, a .500 season, and will meet League rival Bucknell who is 5-6 against good competition. I would rate this game a toss up. Question…. will the Leopards step up and meet the challenge?? Last night they met a good Penn team and fell 5-0, Penn out shot them 15-8, out cornered them 11-4, and Lafayette left unguarded the leading scorer in the country who ended up scoring three goals and an assist. Saturday, Lafayette must bring all phases of the game to bear. Although Bucknell is 5-6 they are 2-0 in the League and a win would be a huge step to making the playoffs and putting them in position to host their second Patriot League championship in as many years. For Bucknell, the toughest part of the League  schedule lies ahead of them. The Leopards are one and one in the League and have Holy Cross, American and Colgate remaining on their League schedule. A win would give them a solid position to get in the play offs which really is the third season and most important “season.”

Freshman Rachel Bird hits the ball past a Penn defender
Freshman Rachel Bird hits the ball past a Penn defender

However, Bucknell will bring a well coached and motivated  team to Easton. There are common opponents. They beat Monmouth 2-1, lost to Albany 3-1, and beat Lehigh 4-2. Sound familiar? With the exception of the home field win over Lehigh the other two scores are exactly the same. Which team will arrive with the most desire to win on Saturday? Lafayette fans hope it is not the one that faced Penn, but the Lafayette team that has the talent to beat a tough league rival, Bucknell. Go Pards!!

Ami Turner Gets The Game Winner In 2-1 Win Over Rival Lehigh

Ami Turner gets ahead of a Lehigh defender and passes the ball into the offensive circle
Ami Turner gets ahead of a Lehigh defender and passes the ball into the offensive circle

In an emotional contest between arch rivals, Ami Turner found the back of the cage 54:31 into this important Patriot League contest. Lafayette came into the game with a 5 and 5 record but one loss in league games. Lehigh was 1-8 and had  an 0-2 record. A loss by either team would have complications for making the league tournament at the end of the season. All the stops were out for Lehigh as they concentrated on neutralizing leading scorer Amanda Magadan. Amanda found herself double and triple teamed for most of the game, but Lafayette has more than one weapon as the Leopards dominated the final statistics. They led in shots 16-6, corners 9-2, and forced Lehigh to make 7 saves in second half.

The Leopards were to control the offensive pace from the beginning and were able to penetrate the Lehigh circle as Ellen Colbourne found herself open,  becoming a big offensive weapon for the Leopard’s transition game. The Leopards got  the first six shots. The last shot was to earn Lafayette their first score. After earning a corner, Colbourne inserted to Turner who set up a shot by Magadan who rifled a blazing ball past Julia Ward, the Lehigh goalie.

The Mountain Hawks were not about to lie down, and Lehigh answered with a goal of their own three minutes later by Lindsay Schott who received a pass from Zoey Pacheco at the post past Katelyn Arnold, the Lafayette goalie. There was to be no more offense for either side for the remainder of the period.

The second  half opened strongly for Lehigh as they got the first two shots, which were deftly stopped by Arnold to keep the game tied. With the Mountain Hawks stymied, the Leopards redoubled their defensive efforts and the momentum began to swing.  The defense was a team effort as the back line of Furneaux, Millen, Hunsicker, and Delahanty putting in minutes in reserve,  became a wall with Furneaux also aiding the transition game by pushing the ball past fifty yard line numerous times.

Ellen Colbourne powers her way through the Lehigh defense
Ellen Colbourne powers her way through the Lehigh defense

In stong evidence was Ami Turner who displayed her defensive skills as well by being all over the field, when Magadan ended up being triple teamed and Colbourne attracked more attention in the second half. At 54:31 Turner found herself face to face with the Lehigh goalie and got off a high shot, off the glove of the Lehigh’s Ward. recording the winning goal of the day. There were several chances for the Leopards to add to their lead as the tiring Mountain Hawks were forced to play defense  most of the second half.  Opportunities by Rosie Shanks and Kendall Weedling after the Turner goal  were stopped by the Lehigh Goalie.

Kirby Szalkowski slips the ball past a Lehigh defender
Kirby Szalkowski slips the ball past a Lehigh defender

A final opportunity for Lehigh was presented, as the Leopards were to receive a green card with about 5  minutes to play. The Mountain Hawks got off two shots, one of which was stopped by Katelyn Arnold the Lafayette goalie and the other blocked by a defender. The final possession was to belong to Lafayette as they earned a corner in the final minute and were to keep the ball in their end as the clock ticked to 00.

This was the 10th win in a row against Lehigh, a school record, and was the sixth win of the season leaving the Leopards with a 1-1 record in the league with four league games and three non -conference games remaining. The Leopards will take on a tough University of Pennsylvania team on tuesday before returning to their home field for another important game with league rival Bucknell on Saturday.

There IS Only One Thing To Think About For The Next Five Days, BEAT LEHIGH

We are now into the meat of the Patriot League Schedule. So far, with a loss to Boston University, we are 0-1 in the League. Lehigh is 0-2, Holy Cross is 1-1, Colgate is 0-2 , Bucknell is 1-0, American and Boston University are 2-0. With a seven team league, 3 losses is virtual elimination in the four team tournament to decide the league championship.  So for the team,forget about past games, this is a must win game. A win keeps us in the hunt and probably eliminates Lehigh and that’s always a good thing

So we arrive at Lehigh’s field on Saturday and for 70 minutes we must tackle like demons, follow the ball, run like this a championship game, make every touch of the ball count and find ways to get to the circle and finish. And there is the fact;

Beating Lehigh is so much fun!!!! So bring your best game because Lehigh will bring theirs. Eleven o’clock on Saturday…bring it!!          GO PARDS!!

Reasons why we need to beat Lehigh:

  1. Their colors are brown and white..( who picks colors like that)
  2. They stole the sword from Lafayette’s statue sixty years ago and it still ticks me off.
  3. Their football fans are rude
  4. They are only 18 miles from Lafayette and that offends me
  5. They used to be called the engineers and now they are called the Mountain Hawks ( Is there even such an animal, I think its actually an eagle??)
  6. Their campus can’t be seen from Rt 22 unlike our school which is majestically visible as you arrive in Easton
  7. I don’t like their football team, basketball team or any other of their teams

Replies from all sorts of fans:

  1. Because WE like to paint Your leopard Brown and White

Which Is It …..A Loss Or A Defeat!

Ami Turner breaks out of the midfield
Ami Turner breaks out of the midfield

I love team sports because of the lessons it teaches real time. The athlete expose themselves every game to the real world. Unlike being part of a classroom, a club, or even a musical ensemble your mistakes on the athletic field or lack of preparation are exposed for all to see. Certainly, the group in the aforementioned activities suffers as well, but the individual almost never has to face the scrutiny of the world. Good athletes, good coaches ( they are after all, part of the team), and good administrators, should reexamine a loss to see what can be done better. A good team member, realizes they are not doing it just for themselves, but to further team goals.

Amanda Magadan and Ellen Colbourne closely guard a UConn player
Amanda Magadan and Ellen Colbourne closely guard a UConn player

I always preferred to hire team athletes, all other things considered, because they understood the concept of examining your own efforts to make the whole better. I hate the excuse makers, and the people who accept a loss. I cringe when I hear a coach or a player say, ” Oh, they were just better, or the refs were bad” instead of saying we learned some things today and our experience will make us better.” How about, if we just had more money, we could have better sneakers, then we would have won. Excuses can be just that absurd. That is how you turn a loss into a defeat.

Aliza Furneaux powers her way through two Uconn defenders
Aliza Furneaux powers her way through two Uconn defenders

Giving into weaknesses instead of working hard to strengthening some aspect of your game, and learning from a loss, will result in defeat. Administrators have to learn to articulate weaknesses in the infrastructure, coaches have to make sure they give their team an opportunity to prepare themselves, and mentor a good attitude, and individual athletes have to ask themselves, everyday, have I done enough today to make myself, AND MY TEAMMATES better! Is there a skill I must spend some time on, that will make me be a contributor? Do I play hard  enough in practice to make the other athletes on the team better?

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Meg Lillis, Amanda Magadan and Aliza Furneaux surround a UConn player in the second half

A season has many ups and downs and there are opportunities and traps, and the true athlete and team member must avoid being defeated and learn from losses.

The Leopards will play number five ranked Albany friday night, and then the following Monday will be traveling to Phialdelphia to meet Drexel. It will be the following Saturday they will resume the all important league schedule with nearby rival, Lehigh in a must win game!! Coach Stone has always told me she recruits athletes of character first. I believe this IS a team of character who will not be defeated!!! Go Pards!!

Leopards Receive A 15,000 Dollar Challenge Grant

Freshman Theresa Delahanty gets into position to make a play
Freshman Theresa Delahanty gets into position to make a play

As our Leopards travel to Boston to prepare for the opening league game, the team has received a boost of confidence with a 15,000 dollar challenge. The challenge starts tomorrow and ends the day of the Field Hockey team’s game with Lehigh. Our donor will match dollar for dollar up to 15,000 dollars, all gifts during this period. We are appreciative of our team’s efforts on the field and now we can help them be successful. This will go to help  pay for uniforms, coaches salaries, equipment, recruiting expenses, and other necessary items to make the Leopards competitive on the field.

Support the Effort
Support the Effort

We raise 50,000 dollars a year and this effort will enable us to make over 60 percent of that goal by October. You may double the impact of your gift by sending to Joe Giamo- Executive Director of the Maroon Club, Alan P Kirby field house, Lafayette College, Easton,Pa. 18042. Make your gift out to Lafayette College Field Hockey and memo Challenge Grant. You may also go to the GoLeopards web site and visit the Maroon Club link and follow instruction for delivering a check or making your gift via credit card.

Tomorrow’s game will be streamed live, so send a message and gift. Go Pards!!!

Kirby Szalkowski shows this is a contact sport
Kirby Szalkowski shows this is a contact sport