Leopard’s Intent On Avoiding “Deja Vu All Over Again”

The quote “Deja Vu all over again,” is attributed to the famous New York baseball player and manager Yogi Berra. Aside from his baseball talent, Berra is remembered for his English malapropisms, which endeared him to his fans. Other quotes, “It ain’t over til it’s over,” “nobody goes there any more, it’s too crowded,” and , “if you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace else.”  The quote in the title of this article is apt, in that everyone remembers two years ago, traveling to Lehigh and suffering a 1-0 overtime loss.

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The statistics were all in Lafayette’s favor before and after the game. I wrote two years ago,  ” Lafayette scored 18 goals on 115 shots, while Lehigh scored less…..Lafayette scores on 28 percent of its shots while 23 percent for opponents….Stength of schedule for Lafayette is rated at 43 Lehigh is at 58…blah, blah, blah.

Forget the stats, this game is a rivalry game….. WITH CONSEQUENCES!!.  The Leopards can lock up a Patriot League tournament berth, and Lehigh needs the win to stay alive in the  League race. Aside from that, it is “The Rivalry.”  Before that game in 2017 Lafayette had beaten Lehigh ten times in row. The game was played at 7 pm on a Friday before a large crowd, just like this year!! Talking to the juniors and seniors on the Lafayette side, that game is remembered well, and it is the first reference they make when talking about the “Game.”

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That same year, I attended a pregame cocktail party before the Lafayette/Lehigh football game. The first word out of the mouth of the Lehigh president was the field hockey game played weeks before. UGH!!!

The Lehigh coach mentioned yesterday, she had several key injuries and kept out those players from Sunday’s game with Lock Haven. Coach Stone wisely decided to let several of her players to continue healing as well. You can bet on either side, if they can play they will play!!!

Key players that each side will have to contend with include Drew Pecora, the fine Lehigh attacker who leads the league in goals. Captain Lisa van der Geest from Lafayette is not only a leader in goals as a defender, but she is the intellectual and inspirational leader on the field.

Weather will be cool, the intensity will be hot!!! As a diehard Leopard, I am sure the team will be thinking about the task at hand, and avoiding “Deja vu all over again.”

Steps With The Overtime Goal Beats Temple 1-0

Shorthanded, because of a controversial yellow card in regulation time, the Leopards delivered on their fourth overtime win of the season only 11 seconds into extra minutes. Play started with Molly McAndrews taking the push off herself, up the center of the field, and eventually earning the corner with only seconds having run off the clock. The Leopards lined up with 3 offensive players on the top of the circle. Ana Steps inserted the ball directly to the senior captain, Van der Geest spotted Steps on the left side of the cage in great position for the deflection……Goal and the win!!!

The goal, and the win now makes Lafayette 8-5 with arch rival Lehigh now in the way of assuring Lafayette the magic 4th win in Patriot League play, and a guaranteed ticket to  League playoffs. Lehigh would likely be eliminated from the playoffs, with a loss resulting   in 4 losses in League play.

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It has been a season where Lafayette continues to come up on top, despite adversity, finding a way to win. In this case, several Lafayette players sat out the game with injuries but the depth,  and character of this team shined through when needed. The additional benefit was a chance to display their versatility. Preparing against this Lafayette team will be a challenge, because anyone could be a difference maker.

Sara Park was again magnificent in goal, with three crucial saves but more importantly, she stepped up to turn away the ball even before a shot could be taken. Temple tried several times to feed attacking players on breakaways and a long passes. Park and the defense were ready to again earn a shutout.

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Costello and DiMaio combine to move the ball upfield

Steps was active all game, displaying her skills at crucial moments. What more can be said of Lisa van der Geest, not only an exceptional player but clearly the leader on the field. Articulate, confident, bright and skilled, this is team is molded around her.

Junior Audrey Sawers was to  show a calmness under fire on both defense and offense.

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Sawers looks for a friendly reciever

There has been exceptional help from key freshmen, like Sydney Woolston, who plays like a veteran every game in the Leopards talented backfield. We can’t forget the senior cadre of DiMaio who provides spark and speed, Cam Costello who can play defense and offense with calm efficiency, Jenn DeLongis who shows her field presence and ability to execute under pressure, and Caroline Turnbull whose scrappy play close to the goal can light up the team with goals and energy.  Add  the aforementioned Park and Van der Geest and this is a team to be reckoned with.

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Sydney Woolston shows her form

This was a scrappy Temple squad who battled and was aggressive and tough, not the style Lafayette usually plays against. But they would not be denied today, battling through the adversity of roster moves, controversial calls, and a determined adversary to  deliver when it counted!!!

Temple Arrives For A Sunday Matchup

The 5-5 Temple Owls will arrive at Lafayette to take on the Leopards. I delayed my pregame report to watch the Owls play Georgetown. I partly regretted the decision to pay  the $9.95 to watch the game, since it was played on Georgetown’s partially completed football field made of field turf. Georgetown must be the only Division One team still playing on this turf, since Villanova built their new field a couple of years ago. The game was particularly slow, and provide little insight to Temple’s overall tactics. However, I did watch Temple’s game with UCONN and I did see some similarities and tendencies.

Temple opened the game by trying to use ariels to move the ball down the field in both games. However, in both games their opponents were able to establish time of possession early on. UConn scored in bunches, while at Georgetown, Temple’s offense consisted of numerous penalty corners, seven alone in the second quarter.  Looking at their stats, Temple has scored 14 goals in 10 games, most of them on corners. On their 14 corners in the game, by my count, they only had 3 or 4 shots. Before today they averaged 1.33 shots per game on corners with a .13 shot percentage. That is 10.2 shots per game total before today.

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Grace Angelella speeds down the middle of the field

Temple’s wins have been against first year division one team Merrimack 3-0, LaSalle 3-0, Bryant 2-0, Drexel 3-2 ( coach Sciufo’s alma mater), and today, Georgetown in overtime 2-1. Characteristically Temple got an early lead on a penalty corner, but Georgetown scored with 2 minutes left. The overtime goal was on a cross when the Georgetown defender slipped in front of the cage and left space for the winning golden goal by Temple.

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Anatomy of a goal….the finish!!!

Temple holds a 22-10-2 record against the Leopards and last year beat the Leopards 3-2 l on one of their 2 wins of the season. (the other being Georgetown). Can Temple’s defense hold back an emerging high powered Lafayette offense? Lafayette has not played since last Sunday in their 6-0 shutout of Bryant.

Dani Baetz is Temple’s leading goals scorer with three. Their goalkeeper Caratenudo has a save percentage of around 67 percent. The Temple head coach was an assistant at Lehigh and also a star player for Drexel, so she will know Lafayette well.

Kent State President Wiffs On Statement On Cancelled Field Hockey Game For Football Fireworks

This week the Leopards will be taking on the Temple Owls on a Sunday afternoon out of conference matchup. What is certain, is that this game will not suffer the fate of being cancelled like the early September game Temple played to incompletion with Maine at Kent State. Temple was invited to a tournament at Kent State and they were to play Maine on Saturday morning. Unfortunately the game went to overtime and encroached on a noon time fireworks display to begin the football game. The field hockey game was shut down  by school officials at about 10:30 am. Overtime in field hockey is a possible 2 x 10 minute golden goal periods!!

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Amazingly, after a SELF examination, Kent State  found no Title IX violation, or gender related bias, according to the recently appointed president Todd Diacon. Dr. Diacon replaced Beverly J. Warren on July 1.  The college in their self examination, which was done by the College’s own Office of Compliance, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action  published a report Friday that stated, ” Poor management of schedule’s aside, the EOAA finds no eveidence of discrimination.” The university will not self impose any sanctions on its athletic department according to multiple news sources.

Both Maine and Temple accused Kent State of gender discrimination. Temple coach Susan Ciufo is quoted in the Washington Post, ” I know we are not a big-revenue sport, but to make young women feel what they did for 70 minutes doesn’t really matter, what are we telling  female athletes about what it means to be a an athlete?”

Kent State officials countered, when a similar scheduling conflict occurred in 2016, Kent State canceled the fireworks display to allow the field hockey game to continue. ” The current case involved new and different personnel.”  The athletic department and President Diacon said they will conduct a “climate study” of the athletic department.

The current investigation did not interview any student athletes from Maine or Temple. So we have a president that admitted that in a similar situation they did the right thing 3 years ago, and now did the wrong thing. At the very least, there seems to be poor management, which includes shutting down a scheduled Division one female sport in favor of a fireworks display scheduled seconds before a football game.

So what we have is poor training and lack of sensitivity, this year. What is needed is an honest look at what has changed in three years. I ask again, as I did one month ago where is the NCAA??? It states quite clearly in game manuals, that the game official is the only one that can stop game in progress.

How about Kent State self- fining itself 150,000 dollars to be split in thirds 50k to the Kent State field hockey program, 50k to the Temple program, and 50k to the Maine Field Hockey program. Maybe that will make whoever the next president and AD are  think a bit more clearly and manage more fairly.

 

Pards Make It Four Straight With A 6-0 Statement Against Bryant

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Lisa Van der Geest gets ready to launch on an offensive corner

Fresh off of a 3-2 overtime win against Boston University, Lafayette traveled about 60 miles to Providence, Rhode Island, and under a cloudy, chilly overcast launched a 6 goal onslaught against Bryant in the first half which was the difference in the game. The Leopards played 20 players for significant minutes, and many underclassmen got a chance to get on the turf for some valuable game time.

The first score came early in the first period as Ana Steps started off the scoring to highlight her continuation of excellent play from her midfield position. She was able to turn back Bryant as they crossed they midline and begin the attack for the Leopards. Lisa van der Geest got her fourth goal of the season at 13:51 to continue her scoring spree supplementing her excellent middle back play.

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Sophie Carr chases down the ball

Things were to heat up for the Leopards in the second period, as Felcitas Hannes assisted by Jenn DeLongis and van der Geest at 16:41 for Felicitas’ fourth goal of the season.  Hannes followed that with a strike at 17:10 for her fifth goal of season assisted by the same Jenn Delongis and van der Geest. Molly McAndrews continued with her 6th of season, assisted by Eva Kaplan who put in valuable  minutes. Molly delivered for the sixth and final goal at 24:22 assisted by freshman Sydney Woolston.

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Ana Steps controls the ball

The second half saw Lafayette substitute liberally, producing 5 more shots but not quite finding an opening at the cage.

For the entire game Lafayette had 25 shots ( 15 on goal). against 6 for Bryant all in the second half. Lafayette earned 12 penalty corners to one for Bryant. With seconds left in the game, after what looked like a spectacular save by Sydney Woolston, the Leopards were called for a penalty stroke. Sara Park stepped up and preserved the shut out, to end the game.

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Jenn DeLongis gets ready to deliver the ball to Tara Hamilton

Lafayette is now 7-5 and does not have a game until next Sunday against Temple. After that, it will be the much anticipated contest with Lehigh at 7 pm on Friday at Lehigh. A win would lock up a PL tournament spot and keep the Leopards alive to host. The short hiatus gives the Leopards a chance to lick their wounds, heal where needed, and get ready for mid term exams,

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Mary Gould steps up

Lafayette has scored 32 goals in 12 games on 176 shots. Opponents have been held to 125 shots and 21 goals. Sara Park continues her 71 percent save percentage and looks stronger every game. McAndrews leads in goal scoring with 7, followed by Hannes with 5, DeMaio with 5 and van der Geest with 4. The Leopards have 4 shutouts so far this season. The Leopards have earned 79 corners to their opponent’s 51.

Goals per game are 2.67 against 1.75 for opponents.

If that wasn’t enough, home attendance has averaged 346 per game.

 

Lafayette Downs Pre-Season Favorite Boston University In 3-2 Overtime Game

In what could only be described as a total team effort, Lafayette stymied the Terriers of Boston University 3-2. Scoring came from Molly McAndrew, Sam DiMaio, and Lisa van der Geest who delivered the winner at 73:29 during the second overtime period. It was a game that was played mainly between the 25’s and had several dramatic moments.

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The Leopards also won the battle of stats. They had 14 shots to BU’s 9. Shots on goal were 8 for Lafayette and 6 for Boston. Sarah Park made 4 saves to BU’s 5. Incredibly, each team had only 1 corner apiece. Two of Sarah Parks saves came with only seconds left in the game as the Terriers put on a furious effort to win the game.

The Leopards had to come back after Boston scored first at 19:44, but Lafayette was to answer 4 minutes later with the fifth goal of the season from Molly McAndrews. Sam DiMaio put the Leopards ahead for the half at 27:06 with an assist by McAndrews. At 40:16 Ailissa Conolly launch her sixth goal of the season to match the Leopards. For the remainder of the period play went back and forth.

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The first overtime period was a back and forth affair with no resolution. It was a pass from Caroline Turnbull that found Van der Geest on the right side of the cage. Lisa accurately found the back of the cage to finish and end the game with a 3-2 win.

It’s hard to praise everyone who was responsible for the win. Ana Steps may have had the best game of her career powering past red uniformed opponents. Cam Costello was a force on the field. Sydney Woolston showed skill beyond her freshman moniker. Jenn DeLongis was a steady influence on the field. Grace Angelella was all over the field. Tara Hamilton hewas a fierce open field player. Sophie Carr showed her strength when needed. Audrey Sawers showed her versatility. Caroline Turnbull was NOT going to be denied today. Felicitas Hannes showed her stick skills. Eva Kaplan was to have key replacement minutes.  And lastly, Sara Park was to come up with two key saves with seconds left on the clock to get Lafayette into the overtime.

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This leaves Lafayette at 3-0 in the league and in the hunt for home field hosting for the PL tournament. However, there is Lehigh, Bucknell and American who are still the obstacle for ” home for the playoffs”.

Next up is a game with Bryant on Sunday at 12 o’clock. They now take a winning record to Providence. Next week it’ll be a game with Temple before meeting Lehigh for their next PL game.

For those players who wondered what their parents do to celebrate a FH victory here is the evidence! Boston provided the ambiance!!! Party time!!

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Lafayette Visits Boston University In Next Patriot League Challenge

The Lafayette Field Hockey team will soon board a bus to travel to “bean town” to meet the preseason League favorite Boston University. Their last trip to Boston was during the Patriot League tournament last year, when the Leopards battled the Terriers to a 2-1 loss with a second period winning goal  made in the waning minutes of regulation.

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Molly McAndrews chases a Terrier

The historical record shows that Boston has a 6-1 edge in play against Lafayette. The last  Lafayette win came three years ago at Lafayette in a shootout. With the exception of the 2017 and 2018 regular season losses, the games have been close, decided by two goals or less.

This meeting promises to be intense. Lafayette arrives with a 5-5 record with a strength of schedule of 20 out of 78. Boston has a strength of schedule of 36 and 3-5 record. They are 2-1 at home with the one loss coming from Bucknell several weeks ago. Lafayette has yet to win on the road acquiring all 5 of their wins in the friendly confines of Rappolt Field. A win by Lafayette would give them 3 wins in the Patriot League needing only one more League win to lock up a place in the playoffs. However, a win would also put them in contention to host the championship. For Boston a loss would hand them 2 league losses giving them a small chance to host.

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Allisa Connolly (11) has scored 5 goals so far this year

Lafayette has an RPI of 28 while BU is at 41. In addition, the Leopards, even given the fact they have played 2 more games than BU, have scored 2.30 goals per game vs 1.8 per game by opponents. Boston has score 2.11 goals per game but given up 2.48 goals per game. Lafayette averages 13.7 shots per game while Boston has 12.88 shots per game. The save percentage is .688 for Boston while .719 for Lafayette.

The most interesting statistic concerns penalty corners. Lafayette averages 6.6 per game and gets .7 goals per game on corners. Boston averages 5.62 corners per game and gets .38 goals per game via corners.

Boston’s top scorer is junior number 11 Allisa Conolly with 5 goals in 8 games. The Leopards must be cognizant of her presence. However, scoring is spread around 8 players in an offense that over the years has worked off the counter attack.

All the Terriers are still a well coached, and dangerous team, especially at home. Add together, their one loss to Bucknell in the League and they are sure to arrive at New Balance field with a chip on their shoulder. Boston, this year has gotten off to a quick start in games this year scoring 6 of their 17 goals in the first period. However, their opponents scored 7 goals each in the second and third period in the 20 goals scored against them.

Weather so far looks good and the PLN will be on scene for the televised record!!