Field hockey struggles, drops two out-of-conference games

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Senior forward Felicitas Hannes controls the ball against Quinnipiac in a 1-0 loss. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

This past weekend, the Lafayette field hockey team (1-5 overall) added consecutive losses against Quinnipiac University and Fairfield University. 

First, they fell 1-0 to the Quinnipiac Bobcats at Rappolt on Friday, Sept. 9th. Last season, the Maroon and White went on the road and left Hamden, Conn. with a 2-0 win. 

“The atmosphere against Quinnipiac was amazing,” senior captain Simone Hefting said, recalling the Friday night lights. 

Lafayette led in total shots (11-5), while the visitors narrowly edged in penalty corners (7-6). 

Lafayette put the pressure on offensively, but it was Quinnipiac freshman goalkeeper Cristina Torres who got the best of them that day with an impressive six saves. Lafayette junior goalkeeper Emma Garvey had one save that night.

However, it was Quinnipiac that scored the lone goal less than 10 minutes into the game. 

“Quinnipiac had a lot of numbers under the ball, and really put a lot of their defenders in the circle. This made it really hard to score,” Hefting said. 

“[Coach Stone] was rather positive after the first game,” Hefting continued. “She was definitely disappointed with the loss, but thought we played some good hockey.”

Then, on Sunday afternoon, the Leopards fell to the Fairfield Stags 2-1. Last season, the Leopards won 2-1 at home against Fairfield.

The first goal came in the 23rd minute, when senior midfielder Felicitas Hannes scored her second of the season. Like her first, it came off of a penalty stroke. 

The Stags bounced back about five minutes later with the second penalty corner goal of the game. They then scored the winning goal in the third quarter. 

“Against Fairfield, the energy was low, and that made it hard to play a good game,” Hefting said.

Fairfield led in total shots (8-6) and penalty corners (6-1). Freshman goalkeeper Raffi Fragomeni made three saves for the Leopards, while the opposing goalkeeper made a single save the entire game. The lack of offense from the Leopards was also displayed in the splits, with the Stags holding the advantage in both total shots (8-6) and penalty corners (6-1).

“I think Fairfield took advantage of our mistakes. They’re a very gritty team, and did well to disrupt our flow,” Hefting said. “I also believe that we can do a better job of making better decisions on the ball.”

The final whistle brought the Maroon and White to an overall record of 1-5. The Leopards were 5-1 at the same point last year. The Leopards, who have come out of the gate uncharacteristically slowly, will now transition away from non-conference to league play.

“I think we feel a bit down after these first six games. We’ve had a couple losses that we feel should have been wins, and I think that has been weighing on the team,” Hefting said. “However, we’re having the necessary conversations as a team and are working on getting better at giving and receiving feedback.”

Lafayette looks to change its momentum as it hosts its first Patriot League opponent of the season, American University, for Family Weekend on Saturday at noon. This will be a rematch of last year’s Patriot League final that ended in heartbreak for the Leopards (2-1 for American). American currently holds a .500 record at 3-3, after games against Harvard, Delaware and Michigan State. 

“We need to ignite the spark and passion within each of us and work hard to reach our full potential,” Hefting said. “I think our mindset is pretty positive, and we’re all really excited to play American this weekend.”