The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Van Wijk on a roll, can’t lift Leopards in out-of-conference games

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The field hockey team gathers for a huddle at Rappolt Field. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The field hockey team returned from its out-of-conference road trip without a win, losing by a score of 3-2 to Vermont (2-2) in overtime on Saturday and then to UMass (3-1) on Sunday. These losses brought their season record to 1-3.

Vermont was a strong team last season, winning 13 of its 18 games, but eventually lost to #5 Stanford in the first round of the America East Tournament.

The highlight of the Leopards’ performance was sophomore midfielder Josephine van Wijk’s brace, with her second goal tying the game a mere 36 seconds before the final buzzer. 

“Scoring is always a great feeling, and obviously I was really happy with that goal since it was our last chance to come back,” the Netherlands native said. “We create those scoring opportunities as a team, and I am happy to be the last step in that process.” 

Van Wijk has started the season with strong performances. With four goals in four games, she has already surpassed her three-goal total from her entire rookie season.

While van Wijk sent the game to overtime, the Catamounts scored the golden goal just 43 seconds into the period.

“I am happy to have already scored four goals this season, but in the end I don’t think scoring goals is what makes a player good,” van Wijk said. “We create all goal-scoring opportunities as a team, and somebody then has to finish … I do think I’m more experienced and confident in my hits this year and feel all the trust from my coaches and team to take them. I’m excited to score some more.”

Junior captain and defender India Ralph logged both assists of the game for the Maroon and White.

“The first trip was super fun,” Ralph said. “I always love traveling with the team, as we do some really cool sightseeing and continue to strengthen our bonds with one another.”

On Sunday, the Leopards failed to find the net against UMass in a 1-0 loss. Another formidable opponent, UMass reached the final of the Atlantic 10 Championship last year where the team was defeated by #1 St. Joseph’s. 

It was a quiet weekend for junior captain and midfielder Lineke Spaans, who was most recently awarded PL Offensive Player of the Week. This accolade comes after she was named to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I Watchlist

The team now holds the same record as it did this time last year, but hopes to avoid the same fate of the squad’s most recent season, which ended with a 7-11 record and led to a missed playoff berth for the first time since 2017, disregarding the shortened 2020 season.  

However, the trip was a success in some respects as the moments not spent on the field were used to build chemistry in this young season for a team made up of only four seniors and eight new first-years.

The Leopards prepare to face two teams from New York next: #9 Syracuse at Rappolt Field on Friday at 6 p.m. followed by an away game against Columbia on Sunday afternoon. 

“We know Syracuse is a really good team and will play a fast game of hockey,” van Wijk said. “I think we need to work on taking risks in the right moments, and being really gritty while staying composed. The team is so excited to play Syracuse, as it’s time to play to our strengths and show a strong Lafayette next Friday. I can’t wait.”

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Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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