The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Field Hockey drops league opener, ends losing streak with win over New Hampshire

Freshman forward Hannah Findlay controls possession for the Leopards as she races to score her first career goal in Lafayette’s win over New Hampshire. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The field hockey team (2-6 overall, 0-1 conference) opened Patriot League play with a 1-2 overtime loss to No. 22 American University. The game proved to be an almost exact repeat of last year’s Patriot League opener when the Leopards were defeated 0-1 in an overtime loss to the Eagles. The Leopards went on to end the weekend on a positive note with a 1-0 win against the University of New Hampshire.

“We were excited, but also focused going into our first conference game,” sophomore midfielder Lineke Spaans said of the matchup against American. “We prepared very well.”

The rematch of the 2021 Patriot League final was tightly contested, with the first goal of the game coming from American in the third quarter.

Spaans fired back less than 10 minutes later, scoring her second goal of the season to send the game into overtime. The Dutch midfielder has also dished two assists so far this year. 

Nevertheless, American was able to clinch the win with a goal at 63:08 in overtime.

“American capitalized very well on their opportunities,” Spaans said. “You only need one goal in overtime, and they got it.”

The reigning Patriot League champions led the game in total shots (15-7) and penalty corners (7-2). 

After the match, Lafayette’s coach had both positive and negative feedback for her team. 

“[Coach Jennifer Stone] said it was our best game so far this season, but we have to capitalize on our opportunities,” Spaans said. “American is a really good team, so when you get chances against them you simply have to convert.”

The Maroon and White now haven’t beaten American in their last seven meetings, a losing streak that began back in Nov. 2019 and included losses in two Patriot League finals. The loss also elongated their season losing streak to five games, their longest since 2018. 

The Leopards looked to turn their fortunes around as they faced the University of New Hampshire. They did just that when they defeated the Wildcats 1-0 on Sunday afternoon, capturing their second win of the season.

Freshman forward Hannah Findlay scored the winning goal in the second quarter, with assists from senior forwards Molly McAndrew and Tara Hamilton. 

“To be honest, the locker room was pretty quiet before the game,” Findlay said. “Losing against American was disappointing, especially since the game was so close.”

“It was a relief to finally score. I felt that it was a long time coming,” the New Zealand native said of her first collegiate goal. 

The win seems to have boosted the team’s morale, especially after losing the last five games in a row. 

“The team feels really good, as we collectively played well and had a lot of quality sequences. It was a great game, and we created a lot of opportunities,” Spaans said.

The Leopards had an impressive offensive performance, taking a record 16 shots. Thirteen of those were on target, corresponding with a shot accuracy of over 80 percent. The Wildcats’ goalkeeper proved to be a formidable opponent, however, with 12 saves. 

“The win was exactly what we needed after coming so close against American, and it feels like the start of something great, like a turning point in our season,” Spaans said. “There’s a lot of promise for the future.”

Lafayette will travel to face conference opponent Bucknell University (2-5, 1-0 conference) tonight at 7 p.m. Last year, the Leopards defeated them in both the regular season and playoffs. They will also face the extremely tough task of Princeton University (3-3, 0-0 Ivy League) – who are ranked No. 7 in the nation – on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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