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.

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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.

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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!!!

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.

USA Field Hockey Announces New WNT Coach, Asst Coach and Performance Director

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David Passmore was named the new head coach of the Women’s National Team. Tracey Fuchs, who will remain in her role as Northwestern’s Head Coach will be an asst. coach outside of the NCAA season. In addition, Craig Parnham will have the role of performance director with the men’s and women’s coaches reporting to him as well as continuing with coach education. There will be most likely an assistant to Parnham to aid him in that education role.

Passmore brings a deep understanding of international hockey while serving in many roles within the Irish system. He has been with the Irish women’s team since 2017. He is an asst professor in Sports Science at Dublin City University where he specializes in coaching science and talent development.

“My aim is to provide a clear vision and playing philosophy which will provide the basis fo quickly elevating the team back to the top table and building towards Paris 2024 qualification”, said Passmore. Hall of Famer Tracy Fuchs brought the Northwestern Wildcats to the National Championship last year. She will continue her role as part of the Olympic pathway program.

Passmore noted the addition of Fuchs and Parnham was a strong factor in accepting the position. He spoke with the team yesterday on the phone and answered questions. He hopes to join the team in person within a “fortnight”.

The team trains in Charlotte, NC and the United States Performance Center provide strength and conditioning coaches, trainers, nutritionists and sports psychologists.

More information can be found on the USA Field Hockey website!!

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!!

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

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!!

Amanda Magadan Needs Your Vote For Sportswoman of the Year

Amanda Magadan ’17 needs your vote to get Sportswoman of the Year. Captain, All League and an All American at Lafayette Amanda has been playing with the US National Team for the past several years. She has earned over 110 caps while playing in the Field Hockey pro leagues over the years. As captain of the US Team she is leading the team to earn a spot in 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The award is sponsored by the Women’s Sports Foundation and Amanda is one of 10 finalists in the team category. Voting counts by recognizing 50% from the general public and 50% from the Foundation. The public voting ends on August 22nd and will be announced on Oct 12th.

To vote go to http://www.goleopards.com where you will find a link!!! Support Amanda today VOTE

Vote Today

The Leopards Hit The Turf

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They arrived from far and wide!! They began their journey from New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, New Jersey, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas, Connecticut, California, and Maryland and landed in Easton. Now begins the hard work of becoming a team with this eclectic group of elite athletes. The Leopards got all the way to the championship game last year only to be denied by a one goal margin. They return a mix of experience and young enthusiasm that hopefully will be able to make that extra step.

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I was able to stop by to watch Coach Stone and her assistant Ashley Mendonca put her charges through a series of drills, building a base of skills that will have Leopards attacking the season as strong as they possibly can be.

There were several aspects of practice that brought a smile to my face. First, by and large they looked fit and ready. I was especially pleased to see Tara Hamilton on the field playing with her usual intensity after a long rehab due to an injury last year. Molly McAndrew’s stick work looked as clever as ever. Sydney Woolston looked fearsome as she resumes her roll in that very awesome defensive backfield. Simone Hefting showed her leadership and skills that will help lead this version of Leopard Field Hockey. Felicitas Hannes looks ready with a shot that rockets off her stick. Shea Balderson will display her veteran skills stopping opponents in their tracks. There will of course be Lineke who will do her impression of the “Flash,” while opponents watch stunned!!

The Three GK

The rest of the Junior, Sophomore and Freshman classes will amaze us and befuddle opponents. Coach Stone also has a competition going in goal with three talented athletes who could man the door to the cage. The most experienced is Senior ( covid semester allowed) Becca Harbert. Then there is Emma Garvey the Junior who had a productive spring. Raffi Fragameni is the Freshman rounding out this talented trio!!!

Their first competition is August 17 against a very good Monmouth squad. Go Pards!!

What’s In A Schedule…A Lot

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Schedules just don’t randomly happen, but are manufactured by Head Coaches, and it reflects what the Head Coach feels about what team they can be competitive with. It also tells us what a Coach thinks about what they need to prepare for it’s conference games. A schedule in Division One may also tells us the amount of money a team may be able to spend. It also reflects the games outside of conference they can take that will not hurt their RPI, should they get to the NCAA tournament, and their ability to get an at large bid.

Spanns speeds away from a Brown player

Most teams will play up to 18 game regular season schedule, plus two exhibition games, before their conference tournament. The Big Ten, for example, with a conference of 9 teams will play 10 out of conference games. The Patriot League with 7 teams could play 12 maximum out of conference games.

This year Lafayette will play 12 out of conference games, American will play 9, Lehigh will play 12, BU will play 10, Bucknell will play 11, Holy Cross will play 11, and Colgate will play 12.

BU, while presumably repairing their field, will play all their games on the road. The league games that would have been at home, looks like they will play at Harvard or BC. I will assume they will also be practicing at BC. and Harvard. It’ll be a challenge.

Hefting was there when needed

American will be playing Queen’s College in their first year as a Division one school. Queen’s is hosting the US team at their Charlotte playing facility in the off-season. There is one other team entering Division One, Stonehill in Massachusetts, who will be playing Colgate this season.

How strong are the Patriot schedules??? It is an important question since the seeding for the NCAA tournament will depend on the RPI of the winning team, and the possibilities of an at large bid. American had an RPI of 12 at the end of last year’s regular season and played Iowa with an RPI 4 ( nearly pulling off the upset). Lafayette with an end of season RPI of 25 played Rutgers tough with an RPI of 1.

One would hope the league itself would work to improve its overall RPI, and try to improve its chances for an at large bid. This coming season the league average RPI is 45.4 for out of conference games ( derived from last year’s RPI numbers)

There are three teams who are playing an out of conference schedule with last year’s RPI over 50, Lehigh 55, Holy Cross 59, and Colgate at 53. There are four teams playing an out of conference schedule with RPI’s below 40, Lafayette at 38, American at 37 ( assigning a score of 80 to Queens), Bucknell at 39 and BU at 36!

Last year’s RPI for the League at the end of the season was 46. So the out of conference average is about right, but there is an extreme difference between the top and bottom teams. Therefore, there is a lot to be gleaned from schedules even before the first push off of the season. Let the games begin!!!!

Patriot League Makes Impact With National Teams

If there is a field hockey equivalent to the NFL, Major League Baseball, or professional soccer it is the National and Olympic teams. Unlike the aforementioned professional sports teams the field hockey national team players must compete with their entire nation for a spot. There is a professional league in field hockey which at the moment pays very little, so the players are really playing for the honor and glory of their country.

Recently, the Patriot League has been making its mark by having their athletes selected for their respective national teams. Some of the teams of the Patriot League have been playing more competitive schedules and its players are being noticed. American, Bucknell, Boston, and Lafayette in particular, have been filling their schedules with high ranking teams, intensifying the competition they regularly play with. Lafayette for example played Rutgers last year ( in some rankings were rated the number one team in the nation at the time) to a 1-2 loss in the last game of the season. Penn State appears in the Bucknell and Lafayette schedule this year. ODU and Maryand are regular opponents for American. Duke and Princeton have recently appeared on the Boston schedule. When the last three PL schedules are announced I will attempt to compare the RPIs of all 7 Patriot League out of conference team opponents.

Recently there were 3 Patriot League field hockey players named to the US Team, 2 to the under 21 team and development squads, and two were named to the Canadian National squad. Some have already appeared in the World Cup, and Pan Am games, and our Canadian athletes are now appearing in the Commonwealth Games.

Amanda Magadan, a 2017 Lafayette graduate from Randolph,N.J. and a third team all American, now sports 108 caps. She first started playing internationally her junior year while on the Junior National team. She is now the Captain of a very young US squad that will be shooting for the 2024 Paris Olympics. She has appeared in the Pan Am Cup and Pan Am Games scoring a goal against Peru. She was selected again this year and will lead our team going forward.

Alexandra Hammel was a standout defender at Boston University, class of ’19 earning first team all American honors. A Duxbury, Mass. native she has already earned 26 caps as a starting member of the US Team during the last FIH season. She is an intense competitor who worries less about glory than by playing her best!! She seems to love playing her best and no doubt will make an impact in coming years.

Natalie Konerth is a 2016 graduate of American University who seems to have the middle name “persistence”. She was named to the US Team for the first time after the Nexus tryouts this month. She was a 2 time first team PL selection during her college career. However, she has earned 5 caps playing on the under 21 squad and has appeared during the FIH season as a sub. Perhaps what best shows her intensity and intelligence is her 4.0 average while at American!

Meanwhile American goal keeper Bryn Underwood and Lehigh Graduate Maddie Kahn will or have made their marks on the US under 21 team.

Looking beyond US shores, two ex Patriot Leaguers, Audrey Sawers from Lafayette, and Marcia LaPlante from Holy Cross are members of the Canadian National Team. Both were on their team during the World Cup recently!

Audrey was named the PL offensive player of the year having graduated after her fall covid year. She was a key player and earned second team all American in the process. She led the Patriot League in shots, shots on goal, assists and points!! As one of the youngest members of a very experienced Canadian team she will no doubt be a asset in future years. She played against former teammate Amanda Magadan in the Pan Games in Chile.

Marica LaPlante was a standout goalie for the Holy Cross Crusaders. Most noticeable was her 78.6 pct save percentage ranked sixth nationally in college. She has 4 caps and 2020 graduate of Holy Cross. Interestingly, she came to Holy Cross Field Hockey via the ice hockey team. She was asked if she’d like to be the Field Hockey GK and the rest is history!!

The story of the these athletes speak well for the PL and the level of play!!