Leopards Finish The Season With 1-0 Win Against Holy Cross

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Lafayette defeated the Crusaders on their new turf Saturday morning with Josephine van Wijk providing the margin of victory in an early third period goal. She was also the leading shot taker with 7 shots. It was a team effort as the defense played a key role by holding Holy Cross to no shots on goal. The Leopards had a total of 17 shots to the Crusaders 3. They had 6 on goal to the home team’s nil on goal production. The Crusader goal keeper was forced to make 5 saves. The Leopards also earned 9 corners to their opponents 2.

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It was a large team effort, demonstrated by the 20 Lafayette players who earned minutes compared to 15 on who saw action on the other side. The other shot takers were Felicitas Hannes with 3, Lineke Spanns with 2 and Simone Hefting with 1. The defense played magnificently led by senior captain Hefting who set up a wall all game long. Underclassman provided much of the offensive spark while seniors were active in the backline.

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The Leopards ended the season tied with Bucknell at 3-3 in the league and leading Holy Cross and Colgate in the final standings. Bucknell will appear in the playoff by virtue of their one goal win over Lafayette. The Lafayette season was highlighted by it’s win over league leading Boston University, and it’s win over 7th ranked Princeton in overtime. They also took the third ranked Penn State Lions to double overtime as well. They had 11 one goal losses during the fall campaign.

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This class of seniors will be missed for their skill and leadership, but the Leopard’s will reload with added incentive and no doubt will be a challenging group in 2023.

Lafayette Puts It All Together In 5-1 Win Against Colgate

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Paraphrasing words of the color analyst during last week’s telecast of the Yale game, ” this may be the best 6-11 team in the country”. After a slow start, the Leopards offense prodded the Raider defense with Lineke Spaans displaying why she may be the premier offensive talent in the Patriot League, as she sped through the Crusader defense. After taking the ball at the Colgate 35 she scored the opening goal at 8:48 in the first quarter.

After that it was all downhill as Molly McAndrew was to light the scoreboard for two more in the third and fourth quarters while freshman Hannah Findlay and Senior Tara Hamilton added to the Leopards goals in the second and fourth quarters.

It was not just the goal scorers who were on display, but the teamwork that let up to them. Every goal with the exception of the Spaans effort in the first quarter was assisted. Assists came from McAndrews, Felicitas Hannes, Catalina Rubel, and Spaans.

The defense shined as well as Simone Hefting provided the wall and the springboard for the offense, using her passing skills to ignite the attack. Coach Stone saw her game plan executed perfectly. She also had to be pleased with the play of Tara Hamilton, MacKenzie Switzer, and India Ralph who all made their contributions all over the field.

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In past years the long trip to Colgate and a senior day designation would have have given the Leopards fits, but not today. Leopard faithful were well represented and may have almost equaled the Crusader crowd even as a football game was played next door!

As pleased as they should be with the effort, there is one more game at Holy Cross next Saturday.

Leopards Sink On Tenth One Goal Loss Of The Season

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It must be some kind of record to lose 10 games by one goal. Sadly, that’s what happened to the Leopards up in New Haven against the Bulldogs of Yale. The early periods look promising for the Leopards as they were able to accumulate playing time in their part of the field. They had 10 shots but the Bulldogs started to build towards the end of the first period. Using a scrum after a corner they managed to poke one in at 25:28 in the second period.

From then on Yale pretty much shut down the Lafayette offense as they only managed to get off 3 shots to Yale’s 11 in the second half. The Leopards were also hampered by one green and two yellow cards meaning they played 12 minutes of the game short handed.

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McAndrews managed to get off two shots on goal, while Simone Hefting and Josephine Van Wijk did get 3 shots each. Yale and Lafayette had 7 corners each.

Yale’s defense played well in the second half, shutting down the Leopard offense and especially surrounding Lineke Spanns at every opportunity.

The Leopards will travel to Hamilton, New York next Saturday for a game with Patriot League foe Colgate.

Lafayette Shuts Down Boston University 2-0

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Leneke Spanns speeds through the Terrier defense

Lafayette enhanced its reputation as a “Giant Killer,” by knocking off the only remaining undefeated team in Patriot League play 2-0. This season is remarkable for the Leopards rising to the occasion against high ranking teams. Early this month they beat then ranked number 7 Princeton in overtime. Last Sunday number 4 ranked Penn State nearly fell in double overtime to an inspired Leopard squad.

This time it was Boston University who arrived at the Leopard’s Lair 4-0 in league play and left 4-1 after 60 minutes of play. No one can deny it’s been a trying season with 9 one goal losses. This afternoon they proved how dangerous they could be!!

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India Ralph turns it on in front of the Terrier bench

Boston had 9 shots during the afternoon with only 2 on goal. The Leopards showed their prowess by responding with 12 shots, 8 on goal. The Terrier goal keeper was forced to make 6 saves while the shutout destined Lafayette goalkeeper, Raffi Fragomeni made 2. Boston did manage 4 penalty corners (2 in the final period) which were turned away by the defensive penalty corner group.

The crowd of 221 fans were treated to an excellent game from both sides. The skills were on display. and the officials were on top of the game. In the first period there were 4 shots from each side. The quarter closed in a 0-0 tie. The first shot of the game was at 1:33 with senior Felicitas Hannes delivering the blow that went wide. One minute later Terrier Amalia Preece was to get off a shot for the red side, and was blocked by the Leopards.

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Simone Hefting lines up a pass

The intensity on each side was evident with the Lafayette defense led by Simone Hefting showing they came to play. Josephine van Wyck was to also get off a shot during a first period corner, as her presence was obvious all game long.

Two minutes later Lineke Spanns, who demonstrated her skill, speed and heart all game long challenging the BU defense, resulted in her first of three shots in the game. However, it was during a corner at 17:08 when the Leopards drew first blood with Molly McAndews finding the back of the cage during a scramble in front. She was assisted by Spanns and Felicitas Hannes. ( see the picture at the top of this article). Molly was to have a team leading 4 shots during the game.

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Josephine van Wyck defends

The rest of the period saw back and forth action with Lafayette getting off 2 more shots while blanking the Terriers for the remainder of the period.

Despite renewed energy by Boston, they got only one shot during the third quarter, while Lafayette got 4 more. One of those shots was to come from Lineke Spanns at 40:32 on a reverse stick to the right corner after dodging and speeding past several Terrier defenders.

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Six of our seven seniors are all smiles after a big win!!

That was to be the last score of the afternoon. In total Molly McAndrew had 4 shots, Leneke Spanns had 3, Felicitas Hannes had 2, Josephine van Wyck had 1, Simone Hefting had 1 and MacKenzie Hall had 1 on goal.

All in all it was a team effort which ended on stout defense of a corner by Boston and Simone Hefting being awarded a green card with 19 seconds left, I believe for putting the ball in play with delay.

Lafayette will be traveling to New Haven to meet Yale tomorrow at 2 pm.

Lafayette Takes Penn State To Double Overtime

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Sydney Woolston goes after ball against Penn State

With about 7 minutes left in the second overtime it looked like the Leopards may have taken down a top ten team for the second time this season. Lineke Spanns took the ball down the left sideline, and it was reminiscent of her play during the Princeton game. This time it was Molly McAndrew who was on the right side of the goal behind the Penn State defender. The pass to McAndrew went inside the circle and it appeared she had scored for the second time in the afternoon to give the Leopards the win. But a foot fault halted the celebration.

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It was not to be, as the Lions were awarded the ball and quickly moved to the Lafayette end of the field. Penn State was to get off a weak shot which dribbled in, ending in another one goal loss for the gritty Leopards.

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Yes, Penn State did have more corners and shots but they were repeatedly turned back by Simone Hefting and her cohorts on the back line along with goal keeper Emma Garvey who had an outstanding game.

It was Mc Andrew who had tied the score earlier with a beautiful flick into the upper regions of the goal, beyond the goalkeeper’s reach. After that it was heroic defensive stand after one after the other that ultimately led to overtime.

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Within the Patriot League American’s loss to Holy Cross today may be opening a path for the Leopards. The Mountain Hawks will take on the Eagles on Friday, as American has now lost 2 games. It might be the few times I will be rooting for Lehigh.

The Leopards on Saturday will be playing a surging Boston University team at home. An effort like today against Boston might bring some smiles to this fan!!

Drexel Stymies The Leopards For The Eighth One Goal Loss For The Season

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Lafayette has played eleven games decided by one goal…eight of them were losses which Drexel was the latest. It was a 2-1 loss in which the Leopards tried to rally back in the forth quarter. With the score 2-0 and less than 5 minutes left in the game, Josephine van Wijk took an assist from India Ralph and Catalina Rubel. Coach Stone had just pulled her goal keeper that reaped a penalty corner with which van Wijk delivered a goal, on a direct shot to right side of the cage.

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India Ralph finds some space

This was a typical Coach Denise Zelenak game with Drexel, using a swarming defense, setting up a fast break with open attackers sprinting and getting off one on one shots on goal. Drexel executed their tactics perfectly at 16:14 in the second quarter and 31:39 in the third quarter.

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Mackenzie Hall chases down a Drexel mid

However, Lafayette was to manage a rally in the fourth quarter getting all four of their corners of the game, and managing seven of their 8 shots in the final quarter.

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Lafayette goal keeper, Emma Garvey was to have 4 saves against Drexels 6 shots on goal. Coach Stone played 11 from her bench, getting 22 in the game.

There are number of Patriot games tomorrow including Lehigh vs Bucknell. The Leopards will be taking on number 5 Penn State in Happy Valley on Sunday.

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 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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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.