Leopards Fall 2-1 In Bizarre, Tough Game

DSC_0343

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.

a

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

resize-3

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.

DSC_0297

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.

DSC_0301
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.

DSC_0313

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

resize-3

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.

resize-6

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.

resize-4

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.

resize-5

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

DSC_0223 copy

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.

smartcrop-21

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.

smartcrop-20

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.

smartcrop-22

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.

smartcrop-23

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

DSC_0205 copy

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.

DSC_0218 copy

 

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.

DSC_0193 copy

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

Simone Hefting Nabs “Defensive Player of the Week”

Simone anchored a defense that allowed a mere goal apiece in the two games this weekend. It’s not the first time she was honored as she has been named innumerable times before for the same award. She was also named defensive player of the year as well as all league and pre-season defensive player.

DSC_0155
India nails the goal for the opening score

The Lafayette defensive three of Sydney Woolston, Simone, and India Ralph have become the mainstay of a defense that now leads the league. Defense has always been a feature of Leopard Field Hockey It is not only the wall against opponent’s scoring, it is the start of the Leopard’s offensive scheme. The center back position has yielded many stars and school award winners for best athlete and scholar athlete. Inevitably, the defense emerges as a scoring asset on corners and strokes because they may have the strongest and hardest shots on the team. They can propel the ball down field with accuracy and can be the beginning of a fast break.

DSC_9961
Sydney is an immovable force at defense

Simone hails from Den Bosch, Netherlands and attended Stedelijk Gymnasium. She is an International Affairs and Psychology major at Lafayette. Sydney Woolston is a civil engineering major from Berlin, N.J. and went to Eastern Regional High School. In high school she played multiple sports and was captain of her track team. India Ralph is the sophomore of the bunch coming all the way from New Plymouth, New Zealand and attended Sacred Heart Catholic College/ Saint Kentigern College and was their team captain. She also played on a club team that won national championships. She scored the opening goal on Sunday on a penalty stroke!!

The three have molded into an integrated, united unit that deserves to be lauded in a special way. Coming to Lafayette from three distinctive cultures, they are a something special to see. I Think They Deserve A Special Nickname. I Thought They Might Be Called ” The Fearsome Threesome”.

If anyone has a better idea please comment and I’ll consider it!!!

Leopards Get In Gear In 3-1 Win Ag Bryant

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lafayette Uses Every Player Available

With the exception of the two non-starting goal keepers, Coach Jennifer Stone emptied her bench while building a 3-0 lead in the first half. There was three goals by three different players in an effort reminiscent of last year’s team scoring efforts. The scoring started with senior Felicitas Hannes who nailed a penalty stroke to the far left side of the goal at 10:40 into the first quarter.

It was a mere 8 minutes later and sophomore India Ralph added a goal to the score in a beauty, planted past the Bryant goal keeper who was force to make 13 saves during the afternoon. Ralph’s classmate, Mackenzie Hall got the first goal of her career, after a perfect pass from another sophomore Lineke Spanns making it 3-0 at the half!!.

 

DSC_0123

Lest one think this was an effort by a select few, this was indeed a team effort, where everyone was active. The defense was on their game with Simone Hefting, Sidney Woolston, and India Ralph shuting down the Bryant offense. They allowed only five shots….2 on goal! Freshman Raffi Fragomeni made the start and got the win. She was credited with one save but it seemed like she turned away several threats. She did have to face 4 penalty corners, while Lafayette earned 6 on the other side of the field.

DSC_0092

There were interceptions and tackles aplenty with Laine Delmotte, Ariel Schumacher, Josephine van Wijk contributing to the afternoon effort. I was especially impressed with a heads up play by Ellie Barton who intercepted the ball as she entered the field as. a substitute. It showed the intensity of the Lafayette team all afternoon.

I could hear Lineke Spanns giving instructions to others on the field as the communication was crucial in this afternoon’s effort.

With about 2 1/2 minutes to go Byrant scored and was challenged in a video review after which it was confirmed ending the scoring for game in a 3-1 win.

The Leopards will travel south to play ACC rival Wake Forest on Friday, after which they will be in Richmond for a game with VCU on Sunday. Wake lost to Michigan 3-1, William and Mary beat VCU 1-0

American beat Central Michigan 4-0, JMU beat Bucknell 6-2, Rider beat Colgate 5-1, Temple trampled on Lehigh 6-0, New Hampshire beat Boston U 5-2, while yesterday Holy Cross beat UC Davis 3-2.

Temple Arrives At Rappolt To Open The Season On Friday

smartcrop-15
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.

smartcrop-14
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!!

Lafayette Veterans McAndrew, Woolston And Hefting Lead Leopards In Last Tune Up Of The Season

DSC_0027

The Albany Great Danes proved to be a perfect opponent for the last competition of the preseason. Albany loves to press and are very fast and skilled. It required the Leopards to up the pace of their game, make definite speedier passes, and quicken their decision making. The veteran defense of Woolston and Hefting were up to the challenge as they turned away much of the aggressive Dane attack in the first half.

DSC_0031

The Lafayette offense on the other hand took longer to adjust, and especially for our first year players, it was a early season baptism. The half time score was 0-0 as Lafayette’s defense held off Albany’s offense. However, the Leopards had a difficult time mounting a counter attack.

The third quarter showed more scoring action. It seemed as though Simone Hefting scored on a looping shot that banged off the goal’s backboard early but was called back by the officials. Albany then scored two quick goals only to be answered by a deflection by Sydney Woolston during a corner. In the overtime period, Molly McAndrew scored the lone goal. Lafayette clearly won the shootout with McAndews adding another and Josephine Van Wik scoring one right behind her. Leneke Spanns added an additional goal!!

DSC_0032

The day was hot, and the trip was a long one, and I have to admit the Leopards looked a little fatigued. Coach Stone used the opportunity to get a look at all her players that were available as Catalina Rubel made her first appearance of the preseason. Freshman Goal Keeper Rafi Fragomeni made several key saves in the first half.

DSC_0022
Coach Stone gives helpful advice to Leneke Spanns

Friday is the first game of the regular season as Temple arrives in Easton. First games are always difficult to handicap, as both teams will be trying to get off on a strong start for the season. Temple will be ready as no doubt will Lafayette.

As this is orientation week, hopefully there will be a strong showing in the stands by our newest Leopard students.

More about Temple later this week as “excitement” builds!!

Preseason Notices Confirm Leopard Strength

DSC_9705
Simone Hefting challenges the goalkeeper

I normally put no credence in preseason picks and awards. Ten years ago Lafayette had back to back championships and in neither year were the Leopards picked to win the conference. Today, the Patriot League SID’s and coaches picked Lafayette to come in second, “typically” losing by 5 points to American. I do note Lafayette had three preseason all league picks, Molly McAndrews, Simone Hefting, and Leneke Spanns. Hefting is the pick for defensive player of the year. NO OTHER TEAM HAD AS MANY ALL CONFERENCE PICKS!! It does show the respect the league has for our personnel. Bucknell is picked third and Lehigh is a close fourth. All of this doesn’t matter after the push off of the first game.

As I described in an earlier article, Lehigh perhaps, has one of the easiest out of conference schedules in the League. American has a very tough schedule in the early going, and then meets Lafayette as both teams will open their League schedule. The top four teams will meet at the end of the season to decide a champion and who will represent the League in the NCAA national playoffs. The team with the best in conference record will host.

DSC_9721

The key games in the league is of course those first three games with American, Bucknell and Lehigh. American features their excellent sophomore goalkeeper Bryn Underwood, Bucknell has the offensive preseason player of the year Lily Neilson, Lehigh has an all conference pick Sarah Bonthuis.

This is not to say the Leopards should ignore Boston, Holy Cross and Colgate. Boston can be tough, and I remember clearly, losses at Holy Cross and Colgate. Holy Cross and Colgate can be very tough on their home turf.

No one wins a championship taking their opponents lightly. So there are weeks of hard work and intensity ahead. As of this writing the Patriot League is picking Lafayette Field Hockey as having the best Lafayette team to win a championship. We all know its a HILL….lets climb it. It all starts on the 26th at Rappolt Field.

More preparation this Sunday at Albany!!