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 dominates in weekend matches, sweeps weekly Patriot League honors

Junior defender India Ralph brings the ball up the field during the team’s winning weekend. (Photo by Hannah Ally for GoLeopards)

The field hockey team (3-4 Overall, 1-0 Patriot League) started Patriot League play with success this past weekend, winning its first league game and adding a non-conference victory to its record. For their performances, the Leopards won all four Patriot League Player of the Week honors.

The Leopards faced Bucknell (3-5 Overall, 0-1 Patriot League) first, playing under the lights Friday night where they defeated the Bison 2-1 in a defensive showdown.

Rappolt Field was buzzing with 457 people in attendance, according to

“The team’s mentality going into our first Patriot League game was fantastic,” junior forward Alex Darrah said. “We didn’t exactly have the start to the season that we hoped for, but it was very clear that we weren’t going to let those past games affect our mentality going forward. I think everyone was super excited to compete, and the environment of the Friday night game made it even more special.”

Lafayette wasted no time scoring twice in the opening period. First, it was Darrah who scored her first collegiate goal off an assist from junior captain and midfielder Lineke Spaans after she deftly scooped the ball over Bucknell’s keeper.  Darrah’s goal was named Patriot League play of the week across all sports.

“It felt great to score my first collegiate goal, especially in a Patriot League game,” Darrah said. “Our team came out in the game with incredible pace and intensity, and being able to capitalize on this to get the lead really set the tone.” 

Then, junior captain and defender India Ralph’s shot took a deflection and found its way into the net, extending the Leopards’ lead to two. 

Bucknell managed to take one back in the third period, but it wasn’t enough as Lafayette secured its first win of the Patriot League campaign. 

Spaans ended the game with four shots, consistently weaving through defenders with ease. As a leader and facilitator, her effective communication could also be heard throughout the match. 

Next, the Maroon and White made it a two-win weekend when they beat Fairfield (4-2) by a score of 3-2. 

A rollercoaster of a game, Fairfield took the lead on two separate occasions. However, first-year midfielder Stella Malinowski had an answer every time. The Vancouver, Canada native notched her first collegiate hat trick, including a game-winner with less than three minutes remaining. 

“Our team is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Malinowski said. “Our coaches have us prepared and our team leaders keep everyone focused and engaged. We never feel like we are out of any game.”

With Ralph and first-year defender Katie Gibb’s assists and junior goalie Raffi Fragomeni denying a penalty shot in the fourth quarter, this was an entire team win.

“Sunday’s game was a lot of fun,” Malinowski said. “It feels great to be able to contribute, but really it’s a team game and I am grateful to be a part of this amazing group.”

Malinowski has had experience at the national level as a member of the U18 Canadian squad. Most recently, she was selected to the Junior Women’s Canadian National Team alongside junior forward Laine Delmotte and classmate Katie Gibb. The trio will be competing in the Junior Women’s World Cup in Santiago, Chile in November. 

“The last couple years I’ve been playing and training with a lot of different teams and groups,” Malinowski said. “My schedule was pretty chaotic at times. Here at Lafayette, I’m really enjoying the routines, the structure and the feeling of belonging. I like having a clear sense of our team goals and contributing to them as much as I possibly can.” 

This Leopards swept Patriot League honors as Malinowski notched both Freshman and Offensive Player of the Week, while Ralph was awarded with Defensive Player of the Week and Fragomeni won Goalkeeper of the Week. 

Only three Patriot League teams managed to win their first games, allowing the Leopards to sit second in the standings as conference play continues.

The Leopards will next take on the Eagles of first-place American University tomorrow in Washington.

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Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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