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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Field hockey brings winning streak to 7 with non-conference wins

Sophomore midfielder Josephine van Wijk fires a shot on goal during the Leopards’ win over Towson. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

With victories over Towson and Quinnipiac last weekend, the field hockey team (10-5 overall, 4-1 Patriot League) enters the closing weekend of the 2023 season on a seven-game winning streak.

First, the Leopards dominated over Towson at their last home game of the season last Friday, defeating the Tigers 4-0. 

Junior midfielder and captain Lineke Spaans netted two goals, while freshman midfielder Stella Malinowski and freshman midfielder Maddie Evans added one apiece. 

“We weren’t really scoring in the beginning, so it was really nice that I could score the first and the second,” Spaans said. “A 1-0 lead is always tricky, but 2-0 is better. We knew we were the stronger team, so it was just about scoring a goal.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Raffi Fragomeni made three saves on her way to her third consecutive clean sheet.  

Then on Saturday, the Maroon and White traveled to Hamden, Connecticut to face the Bobcats of Quinnipiac. 

The home team struck early and was able to hold the lead for the majority of the match, but the Leopards persevered and Malinowski scored her second penalty shot of the weekend to tie the game. 

“Anytime I can contribute to our success as a team it feels great, but I have to give a huge shoutout to Lineke,” Malinowski said. “It was her tireless effort that created both penalty shots. The one against Quinnipiac was especially sweet because the team worked so hard to get that win.”

Malinowski’s dynamic performances didn’t go unnoticed by the league, as she was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the third time this season. The Vancouver, Canada native has also earned the award for Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week this season.

“Awards are great, but the success of the team is what’s most important,” Malinowski said. “Our main goal is to win the playoffs and get to the NCAA Championship. That is what matters, and I know we have the team to do it.”

Then, about halfway through overtime, Spaans made a winding run to earn a penalty corner. After passes from junior defender and captain India Ralph and freshman defender Lena Thedrian, sophomore midfielder Josephine van Wijk scored the game-winner. These competitions mark her first weekend back after being sidelined for a month due to injury. Her return is a welcome one for the Leopards — she scored six goals through the first five games of the season before her injury.

The Lafayette offense was relentless, holding wide advantages in total shots (24-11) and penalty corners (14-4). 

In fact, the Leopards’ offense has been consistent throughout the season, as the team leads the league in goals per game with 2.3. The team has also conceded the fewest goals with an average of just 1.27 per game. 

“Our defense is really strong,” Spaans said. “We communicate very well, and our players are strong working together. As our coach always says, a good defense makes for a good attack.”

The team’s rivalry game versus Lehigh, which will be played under the lights tonight in Bethlehem, will see the Leopards looking for revenge. Last year’s matchup saw Lafayette fall 3-2 in a hotly contested home game. 

“We are so ready to beat Lehigh,” Spaans said. “Last year’s loss is still fresh in our minds, so we are definitely going to play hard to beat them at their home field.”

Rookie Malinowski, meanwhile, has a fresh perspective on this game filled with so much history. 

“If I said I wasn’t excited I would be lying,” she said. “I always look forward to playing a rival, but I have never played in a rivalry game with this much history. I love playing in a hostile environment, so it won’t take much for me to get pumped up for this match at Lehigh.”

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Eric Ponieman
Eric Ponieman, Assistant Sports Editor
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