Leopards Prevail Over The Longwood Lancers

Rosa Jonckheer and Ami Turner fly towards the circle

Longwood University marched into Lafayette’s home turf sporting a 3-1 record, their best start ever since they went to division one. The Leopards were ready, having played several close games with this team before. Several years ago the game went to overtime, only to be solved by penalty strokes, and last year scoring was not an issue as the storm delayed game in Virginia went to overtime won by Lafayette with an Ami Turner goal.  This year was not an overtime affair, but the Lancers were indeed the best Longwood team Lafayette has faced. However, with Lafayette coming off a very disappointing loss on friday, the Leopards turned their game up a notch.

Amanda Magadan spots an open attacker

The first half was a very solid affair with the Maroon and White dominating play and getting off 7 shots, while holding Longwood to no shots. In addition, the Leopards were to get four corners, only to be turned away by the Lancer goalie, Lauren Benard. It was an aggressive Leopard midfield and attack that was to strike first at 17:07 as Amanda Magadan broke free at midfield and spotted two Lafayette attackers in front of the goal, Ami Turner and Rosie Shanks. Delivering a pass to Turner, Turner lunged for the ball as the Longwood goalie went to stop the shot. I couldn’t see if Turner actually got a stick on the ball, but the ball ended going past the Longwood goalie as Rosie Shanks dove and delivered the ball  in back of the goalie for the first score ,which held up for the remainder of the first period.

Attacking battery turns toward the goal

Longwood opened the second period with determination, as their ace scorer Edel Nyland broke free and  at 36:54 drew Lafayette goalie Katelyn Arnold out of the cage, deliviering a tying, unassisted goal. Longwood was to deliver 5 shots in the second period but Arnold  was to make 3 crucial saves to keep the Longwood score at one.

The score remained tied, until 45:48 when Kristen Taylor inserted a ball on a corner which eventually ended off the goalie, in the air, only to be knocked into the cage by Amanda Magadan, assisted by Lisa Van der Geest. It was to remain 2-1 as Longwood tried to regroup with a timeout at 49:15.

The game became very physical on both sides, and with 17 minutes left, the official awarded a dual 10 minute yellow card to each side. The game ended with two significant efforts by Nyland and Leonie Verstrate only to be turned away by Arnold. The Leopards then controlled the remainder of game taking home the win 2-1. Lafayette had 14 shots to Longwood’s 5, 10 corners to Longwoods 2, forcing Longwood to make 7 saves vs Arnold’s 3.

The next game will be with Yale in New Haven at 12:00 on Saturday . Yale beat Sacred Heart in their opening game 2-0 this weekend. Lafayette will then take on Quinnipiac who suffered their third loss against Central Michigan. That game will be at Yale at 5:30 on Sunday as Quinnipiac will have begun construction of their new field.

Addendum: Both Yale and Quinnipiac played on Monday with Yale taking home an overtime win against Bryant and Quinnipiac losing to Michigan State.



Lafayette Falls To Monmouth 3-0

Caroline Turnbull lunges for the ball backed up by Amanda Magadan

So Lafayette gets 11 shots to Monmouth’s 8, 15 penalty corners to Monmouth’s 3 and you would be hard pressed to say that Lafayette didn’t win this game. However, 5 of those penalty corners failed on the stop with no shot taken. Lafayette had a hard time adjusting to the harder, faster Monmouth turf and Monmouth took every advantage of the home field. Mallory Kusakavitch opened the scoring for Monmouth at 28:27 off a feed from Bachop Garden forcing a one on one with the Lafayette goalie Kaitlyn Arnold. At 32:45 leading scorer Alyssa Ercolino received a half field pass from Julie Laszio deflecting the ball into the cage.

In the second half Lafayette was to step it up with 11 second half corners and 8 shots. Unhappily for the Leopards, aside from two goals called back, the ball was just not going to pass the goal line. The Hawk’s goalie was very sharp in the goal and Monmouth played with aggression and high energy. They often had Amanda Magadan, double and triple teamed and double teamed our forwards in the circle.

Theressa Delahanty zero’s in on Monmouth mid-fielder

The Leopards were to surrender a last goal in the second period at 53:45 as the result of a penalty stroke called near the right forward edge of the circle. It was one of those mystery calls that neither side could explain. Lafayette continued to get opportunities but between the Monmouth defense and the inability to adjust to the faster, harder surface, the Leopards remained stymied. Coach Stone added all eight field subs into the game while Monmouth only used 2 from their bench.

Senior Ami Turner makes a break for the goal

Captain Amanda Magadan said the team would shake this off and will return to the friendly environs of Metzger Field with enthusiasm, as they meet Longwood University on Sunday at 12 noon.



Leopards Travel To “So Sweet A Cat” To Take On 2-0 Monmouth


Alyssa Ercolino awaits pass against Lehigh

On friday Sept 2, the Leopards will be traveling to Monmouth University and ” So Sweet A Cat” field to play the Monmouth Hawks. The field, I am told, is named after a favorite horse of the primary donor. The Leopards, I am sure are not planning to be sweet in this 13th meeting of the two schools. Last year the Leopards prevailed in a 1-0 overtime game which ended two minutes into the overtime with a deflection by Katie Birle off a feed by Ellen Colbourne. The Leopards have had the better of the rivalry but that doesn’t mean these games were not hotly contested. Monmouth plays an energetic and aggressive brand of hockey. Coach Carli Figlio, in her 10th season as the head coach belongs to the school of ” the fastest way to move the ball up field is the long hard pass.” On defense they are not afraid to press, as their last two opponents found out. In the past two games against VCU and Lehigh, they scored a combined 8 goals while only giving up one in 140 minutes of play.

Their leading scorer is number 9, junior Alyssa Ercolino who is a first team MAAC selection and has three goals to her credit this year. She was named offensive player of the week in the MAAC. She scored two of her goals against Lehigh ( the 60th game of her career) which was her fourth multiple goal game in college action. On defense Julie Laszlo, also earned MAAC honors on defense that allowed only 1 goal, 7 corners and 16 shots in the two games. After the Lehigh game, Coach Figlio lauded the 2-0 start, the best start for the Hawks since 2009. She looked forward to playing Lafayette, who she described as a very talented team.

Midfielder Meg Lillis competes for the ball against Fairfield

The Leopards have been working hard analyzing film all week, as Coach Stone met with each player individually to discuss their play in the last game. She was impressed with Monmouth’s energy and enthusiasm on the field for the entire game. She noted their athletic ability and expected a very intense contest.

Midfielder Kristen Taylor finds an opening taking the ball upfield

The Leopards are developing a deep bench and had three different players put points on the Board against the MAAC preseason favorite Fairfield. The Leopards took eleven shots and scored on 27 percent  which came from 6 different players. In the two games the Hawks averaged 18.5 shots scoring on 21 pct. The Leopards who were able to control the ball against Fairfield, especially in the second half will need  to find the circle and challenge Monmouth’s strong goalie.

Forward Rosa Jonkcheer and Aliza Furneaux play team defense against Fairfield

The Leopards will need effort on both sides of the field to emerge victorious in this first away game of the season, and being a “Sweet Cat,” is not in the Coach’s game plan.

Leopards Demonstrate A Scrappy, Tenacious Personality In Opening 3-2 Win


Senior Amanda Magadan sprints into the circle followed by Kristen Taylor

The Leopards were not going to be denied an opening day win, as they clawed and fought against the reigning MAAC champion to end up with a well deserved win at Rappolt Field tonight. They denied Fairfield a consistent offensive surge. In the game, Lafayette had 11 shots to Fairfield’s 3, 6 corners to Farfield’s 1, as the black attired Leopards forced most of the game to be played in Fairfield’s end of the field.

The opening goal for Lafayette came off the stick of junior Rosie Shanks, who after a corner attempt took advantage of several rebounds and finally place the ball passed the Fairfield goalie at only 4:24 into the game. The crowd roared and cheered in approval as the boisterous, encouraging audience of parents, fellow students, fellow athletes, and fans were treated all evening to this team that was not to be denied. The tenacity of Lafayette would be tested at  the 24:17 mark as Emma Clark was to trickle in a goal knotting the score at 1-1. But the Leopards dug in, earning another corner with less than 1 1/2 minutes to go in the half as freshman Lisa Van der Geest got the first goal of her Leopard career, powering a shot, rolling past the Fairfield goalie. Van der Geest benefited from an assist from sophomore Liza Welch ( who earned the first points of her career) and junior Ellen Colbourne.

Rosie Shanks shows her defensive skills

In the second half, the Fairfield fans came to life, as their star player Ann Burgoyne sprinted to the circle and received a half field pass from teammate Sam Giordano and planted a goal tying the score once again, about 14 minutes into the second half. However, it took the Leopards just short of 2 minutes to answer, as freshman Rosa Jonckheer shook off a defender at the top of the circle and slapped an unassisted goal, registering the first points of her career at Lafayette.

Lisa Van der Geest launches a shot after the stop by Ami Turner

From then on it was up to the swarming tough Leopard defense to hold off the Stags as they were unable to find an answer to the Jonckheer goal for the remaining 15 minutes of the game. The game ended as the Stags had pulled their goalie, inserting another field player, in the hope of once again tying the game, but Lafayette was to tie up Fairfield and they were never to see the Lafayette end of field for the rest of the game.

After the game, I talked briefly with the the goal scorers, Shanks, Van der Geest, and Jonckheer. All remarked how delighted they were with the win, and even volunteered  some things that they could be doing better. The three praised their teammates, and were delighted with the victory they all shared tonight. Coach Stone used her entire bench of field players again, as everyone was rewarded for the last two weeks of hard work!

During the game, it was the teamwork of the Lafayette side that was demonstrated again and again with senior captain Amanda Magadan as the glue that kept it all together. She frustrated the visitors all evening with her remarkable ball control, dominating play on offense and defense. In an interview after the game, she praised her teammates pointing out their emerging depth. Coach Stone feels strongly there are even better things to come, as the Leopards will meet their second MAAC opponent next friday at Monmouth. They then will return home to face Longwood University on sunday at 12 noon.The  Longwood game will again be streamed live, Monmouth will not.

Some notes:

In the last game with Fairfield on November 1, 2003 Jackie Kane was the Fairfield coach and Coach Jennifer Stone was the on field, but as a player in the 2-0 win. She had 10 shots but no goals in that effort. Goals were scored by Melissa Hoh,and Maggie DeFilippo.

The Patriot League had a successful day as every team in the league had a victory!




Leopards To Meet The Fairfield Stags For The First Time In 13 Years

The last time Lafayette met Fairfield was November 1, 2003 which resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Leopards, who launched a barrage of 37 shots against the Stags. However, these two former Patriot League rivals had fought many battles over the previous years with  unpredictable results. The previous year during Lafayette’s run to a Patriot League championship and top 20 ranking, Fairfield nearly stopped the Leopard’s 17 game win streak as our Maroon and White won by one goal 3-2. The Stags had their own PL championship in previous years defeating the Leopards twice during the season.

Senior Aliza Furneaux sprints upfield looking for an open player

The Stags return to Rappolt Field, tomorrow, with another championship earned last year, the MAAC. They did it with a late season surge upsetting Monmouth and Quinnipiac in the process. Reading their preseason press releases reveals a determination to not only return to the league tournament, but win it again. They bring back a veteran group having graduated only 3 seniors. They have replaced those seniors with four freshman and one graduate student from England (Hannah Pike who played for the England under 20 squad). The team can score, having posted 48 goals on 243 shots but, gave up 52 goals on 272 shots. Their successful shot percentage is a very capable 19 pct but that is not the whole story.

Ann Burgoyne is Fairfield’s leading scorer

Their leading goal scorer is Ann Burgoyne who scored 19 goals and 2 assists for a very gaudy 47 pct success rate, goals vs shots taken. Burgoyne, number 23, seems to score in bunches as she had several hat tricks to her credit. She ranked 4th nationally in goals per game and 7th in overall points. She was elected preseason player of the year in the MAAC.

Looking at the box scores Burgoyne teams up with senior classmate Julie de Paeux , number 1. Head Coach Jackie Kane looks like she wanted to bolster the diversity of scorers with her recruitment of Pike. The Stags face a daunting schedule with Iowa, Maryland , and American to follow the Leopards later on in the season.

Lisa Van der Geest guards Rutgers attacker

The Leopards have likewise added to  their roster, a strong class of eight freshman and also return four senior starters including leading scorer, Amanda Magadan returning from the Junior Pan Am games after scoring several goals in the process. The Leopards have looked stronger at each exhibition and I suspect the excitement of the opener will raise their level of play even more. Aside from Magadan I expect to see our finishing forwards become real threats as our defense continues to demonstrate a stingy attitude defending the goal. The Leopard midfield play will be crucial as they need to control the ball and tempo of the game while delivering and finishing.

Senior Captain Amanda Magadan moves the ball into scoring position

The Stags ended the season last year with a 6-1 loss to Patriot League champion Boston University

Other common opponents include Quinnipiac and Monmouth whom they split with, Sienna who they beat 6-1 and Colgate early on, who they beat 6-2 .

This will be an entertaining match up for fans given its history, first game excitement , and potential on field match ups.






Leopards Turn It On


Ami Turner about to cover Columbia midfielder

We got a peek at what may be possible this season as the Leopard’s turned up the heat from an earlier exhibition at Rutgers University. In game conditions, the Leopards met Columbia University in  New York this afternoon, and I started to see what may be emerging for  this 2016 version of Lafayette Field Hockey. What is clear is that there is still a better game to come from this team. There were three freshman starters, Sam DiMaio, Lisa Van der Geest, and Rosa Jonckheer who looked increasingly comfortable in their roles.

I also thought Cameron Costello did well during her time on the field. I later heard from her how much better she thought the team felt about this effort. It was the upperclassman however, who set the tone as Amanda Magadan, Ami Turner, Aliza Furneaux, and Ellen Colbourne were able to aggressively move the ball into the attacking areas of the field to set up three goals during the afternoon. There were a number of other chances that in later games will end in goals, I believe. There was no 7 v 7, a shootout was added at the end.

Ellen Colbourne pokes the ball away from a Columbia player

It wasn’t all perfection, as the leopards gave up too many corners to satisfy the maroon coaching staff. Columbia played well with the Lions taking advantage of the chances they had. But for Lafayette, there are several days left before the opening game with Fairfield, and I suspect we will see a busy Lafayette coaching staff polishing  today’s effort. As I wrote, this team can still play better. Ami Turner in particular was impressive showing energy and skill from her midfield position. She has an uncanny ability to recognize her open teammates and distributed the ball showing her three years of  experience.  The entire bench of field players were used again, so the coaches now have a lot of tape to review and evaluate.

Aliza Furneaux powers the ball upfield

Meanwhile, the Patriot League announced it’s preseason selections and the coaches and sports information writers picked the Leopards third, behind Boston and American, ( I had predicted they would pick American first). However, the Leopards were to garner the highest number of preseason all league selections in Amanda Magadan, Kaitlyn Arnold, and Ellen Colbourne. They were tied with Boston University who also had three nominees. The predicted order of finish was Boston, American, Lafayette, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Lehigh and Colgate. Lafayette garnered one first place vote.

The Leopards will meet MAAC champion, Fairfield University this Friday. This will be no easy game at Rappolt Field at 6 pm. Most opening games are tough, and Fairfield is anxious to prove that last year’s success was no fluke. I will have more about the game before thursday with my take on the “Stags.”

“We Can Play Better”

Amanda Magadan receives the ball and gets ready to turn upfield

On August the 3rd I wrote I would write the truth and say when the team did not play up to their abilities. This time I need only quote many of the Lafayette players, “We can play better.” They have six days to make sure that their passes are more accurate, their tackling  more aggressive and their field sense is improved. There is a better team in there, I believe they will find it in the coming days.

There were some bright spots. Amanda Magadan showed her skill on the field that made her a player with national team abilities. Kaitlyn Arnold was very sharp as she and Gabby Ulery held Rutgers scoreless for a half. Lisa Van der Geest played well at the center back position playing excellent defense and delivering some accurate passes downfield.

The lafayette goal line defense of Arnold,Furneaux and Van der Geest turn away Rutgers in the first half

The second bright spot was that everyone played in the game, every freshman, sophomore, junior and senior had a chance to be observed by the coaching staff in real time and certainly on tape later on.

Rutgers is an experienced team with a full class of eight seniors including several redshirts. They played with a coordinated manner knowing  where their teammates are on the field, a characteristic the Leopards will need to establish.

Lafayette did not get caught in the Rutgers press and cleared the ball very well.  However, Rutgers did manage to dominate time on the Lafayette side of the field while collecting 13 corners in the process.

Next week, Columbia will provide the last of rehearsal opponents before they are into the regular season. I sincerely believe next week will be a different story.