Spring Is Time For Renewal And Growth

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This blog has been silent for the last several weeks, but the field hockey world marches on, and Lafayette and the Patriot League are no exception. But first I’ll catch up on my own activities over the recent past. First, Pam and I, welcomed a new addition, Bailey, an energetic and athletic Black Lab to our family. We forgot how much work a new puppy brings with her as we chase her around the house making sure our furniture and rugs survive this little one’s puppyhood. She will see her first field hockey game on March 29 against LaSalle at 1 pm. She loves people, balls, and exercise. She’d make a great midfielder given her. speed and elusiveness, but I suspect neither the stick or the ball would survive her attacking style!!!

Meanwhile, I have been busy with US Field Hockey looking for a good site for US Field Hockey’s new training headquarters. There is a plethora of opportunities as the organization brings nearly 25,000 hotel room rents in a given year. There is no shortage of opportunities. We are looking at the right combination of location, field quality, transportation access, employment opportunities as well as educational opportunities for our national team. It is a challenging exercise being run by Simon Hoskins Executive Director  along with three of us from the US Field Hockey Board and Foundation, but the interest is encouraging and  I feel it will be a successful search.

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Mc Andrews goes one on one with Bucknell mid Grace McEvoy

The Patriot League continues to add to their rosters. Since my last communication, PL coaches have not stopped trying to improve their rosters. Lehigh has added four, Jenny Caroni who will join 2 others at GK. She is from Bronxville, New York, Emily Mars a MF from nearby Strousberg, Pa, Bailie Sunderaland a field player from Virginia Beach, and Maeve Hierholzer a defender from New Jersey will round out the Lehigh freshmen class.

Holy Cross has added four to the four I already cited. It looks like they were looking to boost their offensive impact. Katie Guchen is a player that scored 116 points in High School, Allie McDonough struck for 61  goals at her school in Mass. Sarah Potter is a forward from North Reading, Mass. Meaghan Noon is defender also from Mass.

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Ana Steps controls the ball

I did not see any additions from Colgate, Boston or American. but Bucknell has two additions, Sydney Paganos a striker from St.Louis,  and Guguethu Sibana  from Zimbabwe.

I would not rule out additions to the Lafayette roster in the coming months. Meantime the team is preparing for a full spring of competitions. Sunday March 29 Lafayette will host LaSalle at 1 pm, followed by an April 5 tournament at Penn State (TBD). On Saturday April 18, at the University Delaware, there will another tournament, followed by a home contest with Albany on April 19th at 2 pm and on  April 25th  there will be tilt at Rappolt Field at 11:30 with Drexel.

Lafayette returns a number of starters and many players with copious minutes that ended in the championship game last season. Key defensive positions will looked at including an opportunity for rising junior Haile Abbott get many minutes to prepare for the fall season.

lt is indeed a season for renewal and growth!!

The Off Season Is When Change Happens

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No doubt where these fans come from

We are now closing in on the preseason spring practices for collegiate field hockey, but as the preseason is a season for change, that seems to be happening around the nation. Coaches will continue to add to next season’s roster, and coaches are  beginning to migrate. USA Field Hockey has become part of the season of change, as they are amending their partnership with Spooky Nook.

The original agreement was signed in 2013 for Spooky Nook to become the home training base for U.S. Women’s Field Hockey. Sam Beiler founder of Spooky Nook Sports commented,” As the needs of USA Field Hockey national team have grown, USA Field Hockey’s needs have changed, and we have jointly decided that the Nook may not be able to accommodate all of those needs moving forward.”

Simon Hoskins the CEO of USA Field Hockey, thank Mr. Beiler and the Nook for their support….”We are happy that our relationship will continue in the future through the Nook’s hosting of select USA Field Hockey events.”

USA Field Hockey will be playing their FIH games at UNC’s Karen Shelton stadium this season ,and will train at the Olympic training facility in Chula Vista, California. In the meantime the management will be looking for a new permanent training facility for the future as they prepare for the 2024 Olympics in Paris and hosting the Olympic  games 2028 in L.A.

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Coach Stone with Amanda Magadan and Sarah Dalrymple at Spooky Nook

Sarah Dalrymple Decides To Take The Head Coaching Job at Moravian

Sarah who joined the Leopard Coaching staff several years ago from Hofstra played field hockey at Temple where she was a strong goalkeeper. At Lafayette, that’s where she found her home, coaching our cage minders. Not many people know this, Sarah originally came to Temple as a field player but jumped into GK position when there was a need and was their defensive MVP.

Sarah has been a loyal and effective coach. I am glad for Sarah and know she will tear up the Landmark Conference. Best of luck with the Greyhounds!!

Bucknell Adds Another Recruit

Bucknell has announced that Sydney Ponagos from John Burroughs High School in St. Louis Mo. will join the Bison. Sidney was a first team all conference midfielder.

Who Won The Recruiting Wars So Far In The Patriot League

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All league midfielder Ana Steps will return to the Lafayette mid field

Ok, we are now past the New Year and many of the Patriot League field hockey teams have announced their new incoming classes. While the classes will not be complete until the end of the spring, we could start to see who filled needs and who didn’t. Last year, most “experts” agreed that Boston University may have brought in the best class. However, Boston didn’t even make the playoffs, although they did have some stars who had a impact.

Jodie Conolly, a freshman midfielder from South Africa was named rookie of the year and garnered all Patriot League honors. She led all freshmen in points and points per game. But having a great individual year doesn’t necessarily, guarantee team results. A lot depends on the mix and how they are used by coaches.

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

Last year’s Lafayette freshmen class saw plenty of action, as the season progressed, and injuries became a key factor. The coaching staff should be applauded for their efforts in getting these freshman ready to play. Even during the Patriot League championships injuries kept key players on the sideline, but Lafayette developed a bench that filled in admirably. Coach Stone has a reputation of a strong teacher of individual skills and she and her staff built the skilled bench that was ready when needed.

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Molly McAndrews challenges a Bucknell mid

No, there were no Lafayette freshmen on the all League team but they played key roles in Lafayette’s late season run.

American will certainly be the preseason favorite come this fall, given their plethora of returning talent including offensive player of the year Noor Coenan. They will have to play at Rappolt field this year and I expect they will see a strong Lafayette squad at the ready.

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Freshman Tara Hamilton will see Boston U at home next year!!

Yes, the Leopards will lose the talent and leadership of their graduating senior class, but I see talent not only in the returning squad but in the incoming class. So who has an edge?? The top four or five teams will be competitive. I expect Boston will be there as will American. Bucknell always seems to find a way. Lehigh is starting to scare me and those one goal games can be nerve racking.  Lafayette will be ready, and I see a stronger offensive squad in the process of building. The defensive line is solid and goalkeeping will be ready as well.

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Freshman Sydney Woolston was part of the stout Leopard defense!!

We are about 8 weeks from spring games, with the first test against LaSalle on March 29th at home, followed by Penn State, a tournament at Delaware, Albany at home, and finishing with Drexel at home. All of these will have no incoming freshman but it will be a great opportunity to see the core of the team in action!!

American So Far Has Two Commitments

Needing only two recruits the defending Patriot League Champion returns a very strong group of veterans including All American Noor Coenen. She scored 18 goals of the 50 goals American tallied in 2019. She did it on 91 shots while the defense held opponents to 26 goals. One of the more noteworthy items in American’s statistics is the 58 percent save percentage by American’s returning goal keeper. It is no surprise then, that Head Coach Steve Jennings would be looking to create some additional competition in that spot.

Oddly he may have found two outstanding recruits from the same High School. An all state defender in Emily Horace and Gk Bryn Underwood. Both come from Wilson High School who won the PIAA 3A Championship. Both players played key roles in the championship game.

Emily Horace scored the winning goal in the shootout and Bryn Underwood of course was the GK that held their opponent in the end. This was Wilson’s first championship

Emily Horace

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Emily played her club hockey at X Caliber and was named All State, All County, All conference as well as academic all American. The future defender for American aspires to be a chemistry major.She was also an excellent softball player while at Wilson. Her season ending heroics were not limited to one game as she was a constant key contributor all year.

Bryn Underwood

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Bryn is an all American, all State and all Conference selectee. She plays three sports and is an accomplished musician and singer. Her times in track demonstrate her athletic ability. I have seen several tapes on her and she is everything they say she is. She also played her club hockey at X-Caliber

Bryn is a big time player who plays a high pressure position. She wishes to major in Business and Entertainment. It would not surprise me to see her in the cage at Rappolt Field, when American arrives next season. Perfect fit for a real need by Jennings!!

Tragic News From The Holy Cross Rowing Team.

In the early morning on  January 15 the Holy Cross rowing team was traveling to a practice session in Vero Beach. Sadly, the team van was hit by a truck and a member of the team died as a result. She had just set a world record in her sport. Her name was Grace Rett and she was only 20 years old. As a parent, I can only imagine the pain suffered by her parents. There are several other student who suffered serious injuries but are expected to recover given surgical and other treatment in Florida.

My prayers and thoughts go to those families affected by this tragedy and to the Holy Cross Community.

 

Colgate Will Graduate Two Seniors

 

Colgate University will only be graduating two seniors and as of today they have commitments from two for the incoming class of 2020. The coaching staff has traveled to Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to add to their, what will be a veteran squad. Colgate won three games last year and only scored 20 goals, so coach Cornell will be looking for her squad to improve their goal production next year. She has two commitments both of whom come from winning programs and both midfield/forwards.

Aaliyah Linfoot

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Aaliyah is from Exeter Township in Pa.  and was schooled at WC Eagles. She expects to be a Biology major while playing forward for the Raiders. According to reports she was an all county selection and showed her athletic diversity by playing gymnastics and basketball. In 2018 she scored 11 goals and had 3 assists.

Ella Corbett

 

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Ella hails from Massachusetts. and the Bromfield School. She played her club hockey at North East Elite. In 2018 she scored 22 goals and is going to help Colgate at the midfield or forward position.

There are no other commitments announced for Colgate but we will keep alert for more as the spring commences.

Boston Has Four Recruits So Far To Reload In 2020

After having a down season and not making the PL playoff for the first time since joining, Sally Starr is replacing two seniors with four recruits for the 2020 season so far. She will have a veteran team highlighted by all league and all region selections in Alia and Jodie Conolly ( no relation) who together accounted for nearly half of the 35 goals scored last year. The recruits are spread close to home in Massachusetts and as far away as New Zealand.

It was thought that last year’s class was among the best in the Patriot League and I am sure Coach Starr is hoping that potential shows itself next year.

Kate Thomas

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Kate is a goalkeeper who last year played for Samuel Marsden Collegiat in New Zealand. She was selected for the U 18 capital squad after playing in the first 11 at Marsden. After that I had to do a little digging. Kate moved her Junior year to New Zealand and was playing for Windy City in Illinois where she was on the travel squad. She will now be returning to the  states to Boston.  It looks like Coach Starr is creating competition for her freshman starter from last year.

Brooklyn Lamb

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Brook looks like a great “get” for Boston. If the name sounds familiar around Boston it should be. Ainslee Lamb was the former Head Coach for Boston College and her Dad is the Asst Coach of Harvard’s Football team. The 5’6″ midfielder was lauded by her coach at Natick High School as a once in a lifetime athlete. She cited her stick skills and devotion and hard work.  Brook was a Bay State all star four year running in addition to being named MVP for her division. Brook also played for Northeast Elite Club team. She is her team’s captain and a consistent honor roll student. She looks like an ultimate impact player for Boston University

Tess Csejka

 

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Tess played 3 sports at Amity High School in Connecticut, Field Hockey, Ice Hockey and Golf and excelled in all three. She was got MVP for her conference tournament in light of her outstanding play at forward. Her club hockey is with HTC. She will no doubt compete for playing time at the forward position at Boston.

Madison DiPietro

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Another Bay State native played her field hockey at Central Catholic  and the North East Elite Club. She was selected as the MVP for her conference by the Eagle Tribune and was identified in the Top 50 by Max Field Hockey. The 5’4″ M/F has been active in the USA Field Hockey pipeline.

 

 

 

Lehigh Has Two Commitments So Far

Having taken a huge class last year I have only been able to find two commitments for Lehigh to date, Abagail Brown M/F from Ridgeway Regional in New Jersey and Jujia Gatelein M/F  from Bishop Eustace also in New Jersey. Although only two have shown up it is not beyond comprehension that Lehigh could add several more before the class is closed out. However, Lehigh is returning a veteran squad who will only graduate one senior this spring. The highlight last year was the upset of Boston University in the last game of the season! Lafayette was able to beat the Mountain Hawks at their place in a 1-0 night game earlier in the season.

Abagail Brown 

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Abagail hails from New Jersey and will graduate from Kingsway Regional High School. She is a 5’4″ M/F all conference player who scored 22 goals last season and 22 assists. She was also a third team all state mention. She was also team captain. She was with the Uprise field hockey club.

Julia Gatelein

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Julia M/F also come from New Jersey will graduate from Bishop Eutace was also team captain and first team all conference as well as all south jersey. She scored 31 goals last year and 20 assists. She is also a player for WC Eagles.

Bucknell Announces New FH Class

The Bucknell coaching staff actually announced their class of 2024 recruits on December 10th.  They will be adding 5 new recruits, forward Rachael Apa, Reanne Burgess a defender, Olivia Bush a forward, Mia Fields a defender and Kari Melberger a Midfielder. The five will be replacing a senior class of six that led the Bison to another appearance in the Patriot League tournament. Games between the Bison and Leopards have usually been competitive affairs. Last season Lafayette played Bucknell twice, both times winning by one goal.

Coach Jeremy Cook is getting a very geographically diverse class with an incoming freshmen class from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Missouri. One big issue will be the replacement of Gk Olivia Harris, however Cook looks like he will stick with his two underclassman he had last season. In addition, he will be returning his two highest goal scorers. Despite that he will be looking to improve on the 37 goals they scored all last season. No doubt with the addition of this class he hopes to  improve his goal production.

In alphabetical order here is some more information on each new player.

Rachael Apa

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Rachael will be traveling the 90 miles from Lewisburry to Lewisburg,Pa. The 5’4″  forward from Red Land High School played field hockey and lacrosse. She was a first team all conference and a second team 2018 all state selection. She scored 37 goals in her career and also played club field hockey for Central Penn. Cook sees her as super competitive, with great tenacity and benefit to his team culture

Reanne Burgess

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The Holden, Massachusetts native went to the Governor’s Academy and played defense. She also played lacrosse and was a three time all league selection and a two time captain. Even as a defender she scored 24 goals. Cook remarks, ” We’ve had fun watching Reanne’s development as an attacking defender. Her club team has prepared her well.”

Olivia Bush

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Olivia is a 5’3″ forward from Providence R.I and the Wheeler School. She is a two time RI Interscholastic League Division 2 Player of the Year. She scored 48 goals and 49 assists in High School. Cook describes her as fast and has “grit.”  He thinks she will grow quickly in the Bison system.

Mia Fields

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Mia played for Nerins Hall School in St. Louis Mo. The 5′ 4″ forward was a four time all conference selection. Her team had two state championships.semi final appearances. She scored 28 goals and also played for Aim Field Hockey Club. Cook says her skills match his system perfectly.

Kari Melberger

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The 5′ 3′ midfielder is from West Pittston, Pa. and Wyoming Area High School. She was a three year team captain and four year starter. A two time all state selection she led her team to two district championships  and was a state semifinalist. She had 39 goals and 37 assists. She played for Electric Surge Field Hockey Club. Cook describes her as having a “big hit,” which the Bison can use on their offensive corners.

 

Lafayette Coaching Staff Announces Six Recruits For The Class Of 2024

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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.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

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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.

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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!!