Five Fourth Year Seniors Are Providing Leadership And Character For The Leopards

There are actually 7 seniors on the squad this year counting the two seniors to took a covid year. Both Molly McAndrews and Becca Harbert have been a part of this campaign and have contributed to the character of team. I did write about them last year and my words stand as written.

This Sunday we will be honoring the five, fourth year seniors who. have meant so much to Lafayette and the Field Hockey program. All five have been champions in the classroom making the all Patriot academic squad as well as the NFHCA national academic squad. Senior members of any team provide the anchor and set the character and personality of the team, and these five have certainly done that. So in order of their game jerseys…..

Number 3 Shea Balderson

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Shea is an economics major and an academic award winner 3 year running. She hails from Moorestown, N.J. bringing a sack full of championships and honors to Lafayette College including a Group 3 state championship. She has made an impact on the college turf in 3 plus years. So far she has had 4 shots 3 on goal while playing defense and the midfield.

She has appeared in 9 games this year for 217 minutes and is a key contributor. Like all her teammates she is intense and a winner as evidence by her athletic and academic skills!!

Number 4 Sydney Woolston

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A defender, Sydney may be one of the strongest players on the team. She plays healthy and hurt and is the consummate teammate. The civil engineering major is no slouch in the classroom having made both all academic squads, League and Nationally. A regular at the USA Field Hockey national trials she is force on the field.

The Berlin N.J. native has taken 5 shots in her career, none bigger than her only goal of her career against Princeton last week opening up scoring for the Leopards. There is only one word to describe this player….intense!!!

Number 12 Tara Hamilton

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I first met Tara outside of Kirby Sports center after a basketball game accidentally running into her and her mother during her official visit. I recognized her from her recruiting video and remarked how impressed I was.

Indeed I was, and she has not disappointed. Unfortunately she injured her knee in 2021 at a scrimmage with Delaware. But showed her character during rehab and returned to the lineup this year playing 163 valuable minutes in 8 games. So far she has 3 goals and 3 assists on 16 shots during her career.

Tara is a native of North Vancouver, BC. She demonstrated her team spirit during her injury rehab by helping in practice and encouraging her teammates. I was so happy to see her back on the field this year, contributing. She has shinned in the classroom as a League and National Honor Roll member.

Number 15 Felicitas Hannes

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There are those players who just seem to have a nose for the goal and the ability to place a shot in a vulnerable spot past the goal keeper. Felicitas is one of those players. The Cologne, Germany native, and all academic student athlete, has been a regular on the pitch during her career. She is an economics major.

This year she has appeared in 10 games with 9 starts and 3 goals, all at crucial times. But there was one, no more special than her game winner against Princeton in overtime.

In recognition of her skill and strength, she is the designated stroke taker having converted two this year expertly. You can be certain once her stick hits the ball it is going somewhere important.

Number 23 Simone Hefting

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From Den Bosch, Netherlands Simone is the heart of our defense. She is the commsumate athlete and student. Again, a member of the League and National Academic Squads, she was also named defensive player of the year, and on the second team mid-east region team and 1st team all patriot league team two years running. The International Affairs and Psychology major is certainly a topic of conversation in scouting reports by opponents.

This year, she has 3 defensive saves, anchoring the stout Leopard defense. She has 9 goals on 85 shots as the designated striker on corners during her career. No shot is more celebrated than her goal against Princeton as time was ticking away during the fourth quarter. It was a score tying the game, and sending the teams into overtime and an eventual Leopard win!!

One can only imagine what an imposing figure Simone is to Lafayette opposition. However, it is her leadership skills as co-captain that could be her most impressive feature. The replay of the Princeton game can demonstrate her urging her teammates on and directing play on the field like a quarterback in American football.

It has been privilege to watch her these four years….but its not done yet with perhaps the best yet to come!!

The Group

Together, all seven had to play through a pandemic, injuries, and the ordinary adversities experienced by any athlete. I feel there is even better to come in these remaining games. No doubt the experience has made them stronger, I look forward to seeing what they accomplish as alumni in the future!! It will be just as exciting to watch!! Go Pards!!

Leopards Get Ready For Lehigh

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Sarah Bonthuis is a key player for Lehigh

In past year’s Lehigh has been a step along the way. Not any longer. The game this Friday is as close to a must win game as can be. Lafayette has no w’s in the win column in the Patriot League with 4 games left. Lehigh in recent years has improved and become a real challenge in the League. To date they have not won one Patriot League game and lost one to Boston 1-4. A loss to the Leopards would put them to 0-2 with Bucknell, American, Colgate and Holy Cross to play. A win by Lafayette would make them 1-2 in the League with Boston, Colgate and Holy Cross to play.

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To my mind, it is four wins that is the magic number to just about assure a place in the tournament. Lafayette seems to have had the tougher schedule with an impressive recent win against Princeton. The Bucknell loss was problematic as I have previously written. The other loss was an OT loss to American.

The Leopards must find their offense. To date, they have 13 goals to Lehigh’s 21. It looks like Raffi Fragomeni has earned the GK spot with a 72 % save percentage while the veteran GK at Lehigh, Maddie Kahn has a 69 % save percentage. Lehigh’s leading shot taker is Sarah Bothuis with 7 goals on 47 shots, with next highest shot taker, Abbe Brown with 16 shots.

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McAndrew scoots away with ball against Princeton

Lafayette’s leading shot taker is Molly McAndrew with 16 shots and 3 goals with Spanns following with 17 shots and 2 goals. As is typical with Lafayette teams, shots and goals can come from anywhere on the field.

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The Lafayette defense is very solid, led by Simone Hefting who also has three defensive saves.

The Leopards must keep the ball in Lehigh’s end and earn corners while shutting down Bothuis. The game is at home with video review possible!!

I believe in the skill and heart of this team and a home game in front of friendly fans should serve them well. This team and coaches deserve support. After the outstanding win at Princeton there is plenty for Lehigh to try to be ready for. We can do this!!

Leopards Fall 2-1 In Bizarre, Tough Game

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In a game more noted for its official’s consultations and complaints the Leopards fell 2-1. Having struck early on a beautiful cross set up by Catalina Rubel, Molly McAndrew delivered a strike to put the Leopards up 1-0 at 39:44. The goal was all the more remarkable because Lafayette’s DPC line turned away 8 straight penalty corners. I don’t know if it is some Division one record the official was trying to reach but from my position and 30 years of watching field hockey there were some “mystery calls” in that sequence. But the “mystery” was not to end there. At 43:39 during a scrum in front of the cage the official called a goal which looked like the ball never crossed the goal line. The Bucknell ESPN announcer thought the same on the air initially. Captain, Simone Hefting argued to no avail. Unlike Lafayette, the Ivy League, the Big Ten, the Big East, and the ACC, Bucknell does not have video referral, and the Patriot League does not require it. During NCAA playoff games video referral is required.

The farce continued as a second goal by Bucknell was called at 54:29 and appeared to hit the outside of the post ( out of bounds) and poked in afterwards. Again there was a protest by Hefting and without VR was to go to naught.

During the game, the official interfered with Molly McAndrews as she was to enter the circle. The official shrugged her shoulders and laughed…not funny!! At the end of the game, Lafayette had earned two corners but the official was to give Hefting, a key member of our APC unit a card.

I have to add, this is an independent blog with my own opinions and are not made with any consultation at Lafayette. As a supporter of the sport, as evidence by my working contributions to schools and national organizations, I recognize the need for competent and fair officiating. For that reason, I support universal video review, not as punishment but as an assurance to players that the results are fair and correct. Tonight that was not the case and merits some rethinking by the League and its members.

I still believe this Lafayette team. is a good team. They showed that to me all game long, even after the 8 consecutive corners. I was especially pleased with freshman Raffi Fragomeni who took on Bucknell’s best player one on one during the game. I could name others who have showed great grit and determination this season. I hope, no, I believe they can dig in with the same heart for the remainder of the season. We could see that Sunday with a match with number 7 Princeton and a crucial match with Lehigh on Friday. I would not want to be Lehigh in that game.

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Findlay Scores Game Winner And Fragomeni Is 100% In Goal To Give Leopards 1-0 Win

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First year players Hannah Findlay and Raffi Fragomeni combined to put a “W” in the record book against the University of New Hampshire. But this was a team effort, as the Leopards put up 16 shots, 13 of which were on goal, while New Hampshire could only manage 9 shots, 4 of which were on goal. All 4 shots were turned away by Fragomeni in her best outing of year! Penalty corners told much of the same story with the Leopards having an edge 8 to 6.

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The first period was basically a stalemate with each team spending time inside each other’s shooting circle, getting off 4 shots each. It was the second period that the Leopards got into gear outshooting New Hampshire in the second and third period by putting up 12 shots. It was in the second period when Findlay found the back of the cage 19:08 into the game! Molly McAndrew and Tara Hamilton got the assists as McAndrew used a tip to give the ball to Findlay and she reversed sticked it past the opposing goalkeeper.

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Leneke Spanns and Josephine van Wijk dash towards the goal

The Leopards kept the pressure on all game. McAndrew had 5 shots all on goal, Lineke Spanns had opponents chasing her while she got of 4 shots, 3 on goal. Sidney Woolston got in on the effort with one shot at goal. Catalina Robel had a nice game getting 2 shot as well. Findlay had one shot making it count for the game winner!

Standing on the sidelines I could hear the team talking and helping to defend the very quick and skilled New Hampshire team. The emergence of depth by the Leopards will change how other teams defend Lafayette. They can no longer just mark one or two players, or high press because there are clearly threats all over the field.

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This cohesion could not come at a better time as the Leopards will continue their Patriot League schedule on Friday against the Bucknell Bison, who lost in a shootout against Providence today after a very solid win against Holy Cross. The Leopards will follow the Bucknell game with a game against Princeton on Sunday.

This will be an intensive week, as Bucknell will be a significant challenge with their new coach, and one Patriot win under their belt. Both teams will have there eye on the prize, which is the chance to play in the League tournament. Four wins will guarantee a slot, three wins maybe, only two wins will probably eliminate teams. The winner of the 4 team tournament will go to the NCAA national tournament.

A Letter To Our Field Hockey Team

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Dear Field Hockey Leopards,

Today, I saw real championship grit and determination from you! You were digging ever deeper on every possession, making tackles, basically thwarting the number 21 team in the nation! You held them scoreless for a half and didn’t bow your head after they scored but came back to tie it up. You weren’t intimidated by their 5 corners in the first period and made adjustments to hold them to only two in the second half.

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You came back to score in the third quarter, taking 6 shots in that quarter, more than they had. You were even in corners in that half as well. Yes, not only did you belong on the field with them but a rubber match with them may not end up the same.

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There are seven teams in your league and I believe you are capable of beating any or all of them. I believe in your character. I saw one of our captains playing through injuries, other players putting everything on the line and expending their last drop energy in the effort. I can’t believe this overtime game will change your mindset.

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You are MY team….and I am very proud!!! On to New Hampshire and reengaging the Patriot League with Bucknell on Friday night… and we will be there…..you can bet on it.

Lafayette Thwarted By Quinnipiac 1-0

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Stats themselves don’t win games, it’s who scores the most goals at the end of 60 minutes. The Quinnipiac Bobcats won their third game of the series between the two schools by making a first period goal at 9:53 into the game count. The Leopards outshot the visitors 11-5. of which 6 were on goal to 2 for the Bobcats. Corners were almost even with The Bobcats edging the Leopards 7-6.

Lafayette had two corners at the end. The last one occurred with 17 seconds left. Lafayette went into it’s standard corner attack lineup but the Bobcat goalkeeper Cristina Torres was able to turn away the bouncing shot preserving the 1-0 win.

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Even broken down by halfs Quinnipiac seemed to have a disadvantage in the the first half, still being outshot by the Leopards 5-3 and being dominated in shots in the second half 6-2. Corners for the Leopards were 5-2 in their favor as well. The big difference was the 6 saves by the Bobcat freshman goalkeeper Cristina Torres.

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The first half goal was by Eva Velldhorst, who was featured all game long, collecting all 5 shots for the Bobcats. However, it seemed to me that the duel of the evening was between Stella Tegtmeier and Lineke Spanns who collect 3 shots on the evening leading the Leopards. Ariel Schumacher had 1 shot and Felecitas Hannes, Hannah Findley, and Catalina Rubel had 2 shots each.

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Tegtmeier seemed to mark Spanns closely one on one, matching her speed for the most part. The. battle seemed epic for most of the game.

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The Leopards will now move on to Fairfield who lost to Drexel tonight 3-1. The Stags are now 1-4 having also lost to Monmouth 1-3, Villanova 1-3, and Albany 1-2. Their only win came against Patriot League’s Holy Cross 1-0. Drexel used a penalty stroke and a goal with 15 seconds left.

A Tale Of Two Halves

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With apologies to Charles Dickens, I suppose you could say ” It was the best of halves, it was the worst of halves. VCU got off to a two goal lead on three shots in the first half of the game despite the Leopards getting the first shot at 6:28 having ticked off the clock by Catalina Rubel. Lafayette also had the only corner of the game for both sides at 7:50. VCU drew first blood at 14:31 and the second goal happened in second quarter at 21:41.

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In the second half VCU only managed to get off two shots one occurring as Molly McAndrew first got on the board for the second goal of the weekend and the season. Unfortunately, the one goal margin was only to last for four minutes as VCU connected on their only shot of the fourth quarter.

However, the Leopards were not done as they battled by getting off 6 shots in the quarter one of which was a connection by Lineke Spanns at 56:14. Coach Stone pulled her goal keeper but try as they might, they could not get to the circle to deliver a tying goal.

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Lafayette had nine shots to VCU’s five according to the official score keeper. (I didn’t know if her name was “Defarge.)”. Alright I’ll stop now, but there was only one corner in the game and the VCU goalkeeper was forced to make seven saves.

The last quarter did have our Leopards diving for balls and chasing players and balls to the sidelines, all elements of play needed for a winning team. Quinnipiac comes to town on Friday and we’ll see if lessons were learned. A win would follow with a full game like the fourth quarter today!! Go PARDS

Wake Forest Routs Lafayette 6-1

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For those of you who are regular readers of this blog know, I seldom pull my punches. This was not a good game for the Leopards. The good news about tonight’s game is, I know they are better than they were today in Winston Salem. Molly McAndrew did get on the board for the first time this year, five minutes into the second quarter, making the score 3-1 at the time. It was still possible for the Leopards to make a run. However, it wasn’t until 1:45 into the second half that McAndrew was to get a second shot at the Wake goalkeeper.

Wake used their usual high press to pin the Leopards into their half of the field most of the game. Lafayette looked stunned in the first quarter when only 2:06 into the first quarter the Deacons managed to get their first corner ( their first of 9), and converted it into a score. Wake would score 2 more making it 3-0 after 12 minutes.

It looked like the Leopards might recover after Coach Stone make a change at GK and McAndrew hit her goal making it 3-1. The Leopards got possession with 28 seconds left in the half, and tried to make a run at the goal. The Wake press was to get the ball for the Deacons, and eventually a penalty corner, leading to a score making it 4-1 at the half with only seconds left.

The stats were all in Wakes favor, shots were 23-5, corners were 9-0, though they managed only 3 in the second half. Scoring was spread around to six different players. Besides McAndrew for Lafayette, there were three other shots, 2 from Laine Delmonte and 1 from Catlina Robel.

The Leopards will lick their wounds and travel to Richmond to meet VCU on Sunday. I am sure the team will rededicate themselves, and look like the competitors I know they are!!! It’s time to learn from mistakes and put it behind them.

Lafayette Succumbs To Temple 1-0

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Temple used its deep bench to help it overcome the heat, defeating the Leopards 1-0 for the first time in two years. Lafayette let its game be played between the 35 yard lines, while Temple was more effective penetrating that barrier and the circle resulting in the only goal of the game from Temple in the second quarter. Both teams were only able to manage 2 shots each in the first quarter, but Temple was to become more effective in the 3rd quarter with an 8 to 1 advantage in shots. Their shot production was aided by a 5-1 advantage in penalty corners in the same quarter.

For the entire game Temple outshot the Leopards 14-5 and had a 9-2 advantage in corners, and a 12-3 advantage in shots in the second half alone. Lafayette had 17 players see action, while the Owls had 21 players see minutes. The Leopard attack was shut down with Midfielder Lineke Spanns getting the only two shots on goal the entire game from the field. In total shots, defenders and midfielders accounted for 3 shots. Simone Hefting had one while Spanns had her two and Findley had two on one corner.

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In trying to even the game Spanns was to show her abilities, taking the ball from the center and down the side in the fourth quarter, using her gifted athletic talents and heart!!

Defender Sydney Woolston was there all afternoon collecting two defensive saves in the process. Emma Garvey acquitted herself well in her first start of her career getting 3 saves for the game.

Patriot League did not have a great day

Boston University had the only clear win of the day with a 2-1 win against Providence. However, they were outshot 7-5. They came from behind with Peyton Anderson getting the winning goal in the third quarter.

Twenty one ranked American lost to unranked Michigan State 3-1 despite playing a statistically close game.

Bucknell was impressive nearly pulling the upset against ninth ranked Louisville. A third quarter goal by Louisville broke the 1-1 tie and hold on for the win.

Holy Cross lost 6 minutes into overtime to Stanford after evening the score at 1-1 in the third quarter.

Lehigh battled back against Lock Haven overcoming a 3-0 deficit at the half. Lock Haven came out on fire scoring their first goal 28 seconds after the start of the game. They had a 6 to 4 advantage in corners. Lehigh got their second goal with two minutes left in the half. They will play Temple on Sunday at Temple.

Colgate has not finished their game with Merrimack as their game was halted because of weather at the start of. the second half. The game will restart on Saturday with Colgate ahead 3-0.

Bryant arrives at Lafayette on Sunday after losing 4-1 to LaSalle on Friday.

Temple Arrives At Rappolt To Open The Season On Friday

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Molly McAndrew is preseason all league

The 2022 field hockey season kicks off for the Leopards at 4 pm Friday as second year Temple coach Michelle Vittese brings her 28 players to Rappolt Field for the opening game of the season for both squads. She will have 3 graduate students, 7 seniors, 5 juniors, 7 sophomores, and 6 freshman.

Last year’s Temple squad finished 8-11 while competing in the Big East with a 5-5 record. The Owls lost to three Patriot League teams, Lafayette, Bucknell, and Lehigh. Their biggest win came against the University of Connecticut in the last game of the season. Their season ending RPI was 36. They ended their season having made the Big East tournament with a 2-4 loss to NCAA runner up Liberty University.

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Temple leading scorer and all league Julianne Kopec

No doubt they will be trying to improve their offensive production having scored 21 goals with GPG average of 1.11 on 9.3 shots per game. Temple also generated 94 corners. They will come with two goal keepers one of which had no minutes while the other had about 30 minutes in the cage. The Owls will be depending on their upper class leadership of 10 seniors including 3 graduate students. Their leading players are two preseason all league picks, graduate student and Back Nienke Oerlemans who led the league in defensive saves, and their leading scorer sophomore Julianne Kopec. The midfielder scored 6 goals for season as a freshman!

Temple scored most of their goals in the second period last season. However their defense only allowed 9.9 shots per game. Temple like Lafayette had two preseason contests, one against Delaware and the other against Monmouth. I have no information on the outcome.

The Owls are picked to finish 4th in the Big East, behind Libery, UConn and ODU. Lafayette did play Temple in a spring scrimmage. Their trip to Lafayette is one of their few road games. They will be home for 11 contests. After Lafayette, Temple will play Lehigh on Sunday while Lafayette will be at home with Bryant. The Temple game will be on ESPN plus!!