Building Momentum: Field Hockey looks to continue its success in conference play

Building+Momentum%3A+Field+Hockey+looks+to+continue+its+success+in+conference+play

Michael Keating

The Lafayette Women’s Field Hockey team is off to an impressive start this season. Through their first seven games, the Leopards boast a 5-2 record and are undefeated at home.

They are currently ranked 23rd in the NCAA according to the first NCAA RPI report that was released this week.

Senior Amanda Magadan and junior Rosie Shanks have led the way, each contributing three goals on the season.

Freshman Rosa Jonckheer, however, has been a pleasant surprise. In her first year with the Leopards, Jonckheer has burst onto the scene with her offensive skills, already tallying four goals on the season. Her play recently earned her Patriot League Rookie of the Week.

While the offense has certainly played well it has been the toughness of the defense that has made the difference. This was exhibited in their shutout win against Towson, as well as the 1.86 goals against average on the season.

Senior Katelyn Arnold has been a force in front of the net as she anchors a strong defense (Full disclosure: Arnold is a staff writer for The Lafayette). Her .594 save percentage has been a key to the success for this team in their 2016 campaign.

Their 4-1 loss against Hofstra on Monday marked the end of the Leopards non conference schedule. They will now embark on a rigorous Patriot League schedule that includes tough games at Holy Cross and Bucknell.

To continue their success, the Leopards must maintain the intensity and focus they brought into their first seven games.

Their ability to do this will rely heavily on how much they control the ball. So far this year the Leopards have dominated in this aspect, controlling the ball for a larger portion of the game. This has allowed them to put pressure on their opponents as they have put twice the amount of shots on goal compared to their opponents. Furthermore, it has made things easier for the defense as opponents have had to make over twice the amount of saves compared to the Leopards.

The Leopards have also committed less fouls than their opponents. This elimination of mistakes has proved big in close games so far. Four of their seven games have been decided by one goal. If the team can continue to do this, they will put themselves in a great position to win a Patriot League Championship.

The Leopards begin their conference play at home on Sept. 23 against Boston University, where they will look to regain the momentum from their recent four game win streak.