Lafayette returns to the pitch as it begins a reloading process this spring. There is much to do as senior team members look to graduation and freshman, sophomores and juniors will discover where they fit best for a fall championship run. The team will be looking to improve on their record and will be looking to move past its 11 one goal losses. Most importantly, Coach Stone will be looking to fill the shoes of a very talented senior class.
The biggest challenge will be to reconstruct the very stout defense, but Stone will have two experienced goalkeepers to form that foundation. On the offensive side, will be the swift Lineke Spanns who may be the most exciting player in the Patriot League this year. The Leopards proved last year they could play with anyone in their overtime win against number 7 ranked Princeton and their close double overtime loss to Penn State.
The Leopards will have rising seniors Ariel Schumacher, Carly Kreytak, Alexandra Conway, and Emma Garvey providing an anchor of experience. There will be rising juniors of India Ralph, Lineke Spanns, Laine Delmontte, Alex Durrah, and Mackenzie Hall who were all contributors last season. To round out the experience there are 8 rising sophomores, Mackenzie Switzer, Catalina Rubel, Hannah Findley, Ellie Barton, Aimee Hoefnagel, Josephine van Wiijk, Peyton Guinter, and Raffi Fragomeni who have all proven to be valuable contributors. All will bring that extra year of training and exposure. Many will have international experience to add to the team.
By all indications the freshman recruits will also be a quality group as well when they arrive in the summer!
The spring schedule looks to provide experience and challenges. The first spring games will be at Monmouth against Monmouth and Rutgers on March 26 th. The Leopards will return to Easton to meet Temple on April 7th at 6pm. On April 15 the Leopards will travel to Delaware for a play day against multiple opponents, Yale, Drexel, Temple, St. Joe’s Columbia, Bucknell and Delaware! Three days later on the 18th, Lafayette will meet at Lehigh at 6:30. The Leopards will finish their spring training at home against Drexel at 12 noon on April 22nd!
Meanwhile, division one has seen a plethora of coaching changes. The most notable for Lafayette, are changes at long term opponents Lehigh and Quinnipiac. Meanwhile Syracuse, Northeastern, Rider, Penn State and UNC will be under new leadership. The biggest surprise being 22 year old all American Erin Matson switching roles from player to coach at UNC. Former Patriot League standout Maura Schimp will be a Lafayette asst Coach and will no doubt be coaching our two GK. There is still a need for a third coach to be added to the staff!!
Lafayette alums Amanda Golini and Audrey Sawers will be playing for their respective national teams in the Pan Am games, ( an olympic qualifier). The Canadian Junior Pan Am team will see Leopards on the roster. Rising junior Laine Delmotte and incoming freshman Katie Gibbs are on the team.
There is a talented mix of players returning, and this spring will be the the initial effort of blending it into a competitive unit. I for one will be interested in the meeting with Lehigh.