The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The state of Lafayette sports

The Lafayette football team hoists the Patriot League Championship trophy for the first time since 2013. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

We are but brief echoes in the relentless passage of time as it carelessly rushes onward, merely distorted faces upon which clocks droop in the proverbial Salvador Dali painting that we call life. Yet in this snapshot in time, the state of Lafayette sports is strong and getting stronger.


What is there to be said about the 2023 Patriot League Champions that hasn’t already been said? The team was well-rounded, showcasing a powerful ground game, a high-flying passing attack and a relentless defensive line to shut down opponents on both sides of the ball. Stars Dean DeNobile and Jamar Curtis will be back for their junior year and joining them are six fellow returning starters on offense and eight starters on defense. The Leopards will have to replace FCS defensive player of the year runner-up Billy Schaeffer and two-time captain Marco Olivas, as well as three starters on the offensive line, but the future looks to be blindingly bright.

The field hockey team mobs each other after advancing to the Patriot League Championship in overtime. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Field hockey

The Maroon and White came into the year with some questions after many of its key contributors from the fall 2022 squad graduated, but the team quickly found answers as it advanced to dominate the conference, surrendering the least amount of goals while scoring the third-most. They reached the conference championship for the second time in three years following an overtime victory at second-seed Boston University before just barely falling to American on the road 1-0. Despite the loss, the team will bring back all but one starter, including all-Patriot League selection rising seniors Lineke Spaans and India Ralph. The main question will be if rising junior goalie Raffi Fragomeni can fill graduating senior Emma Garvey’s shoes.

Men’s soccer 

In what will go down as the most exciting playoff run of the 2023-24 academic year, the team advanced past American and Loyola Maryland to its first Patriot League final since 2020. While the Leopards could not bring home the title and the team is losing significant contributors in All-Atlantic Region honorees Hale Lombard and David Mizrahi as well as Oaksie Award winner Eric Ponieman, the team will retain much of its core. Rising senior Lawrence Aydlett and rising sophomore Roy Bigeon look to bring the Leopards back to the Championship in the fall of 2024.

Women’s soccer

The team came out of the gate red hot, winning six of its first eight games in a season that looked to be off to a historic start. However, the Leopards came back down to earth in the second half of the season, falling out of contention for the Patriot League tournament. The team is losing a lot with goalkeeper Lindsay Dewar and five other seniors departing the program, but it boasts the reigning Patriot League Rookie of the Year in Nadia Zaffenella and will look to replicate the first part of last season for a whole year.

Men’s lacrosse

The Maroon and White took another step forward this year, playing close games against highly ranked teams, knocking off the 15th-ranked Boston University on the road and came just short of its first winning season since 2010. Questions now begin to swirl around how many starting positions the team will have to fill next year, with 16 starters graduating. However, Coach Pat Myers has many promising pieces in rising junior goalkeeper Joe Doherty, rising senior attack Riley Sullivan and rising senior midfielder Liam Sargent.

Women’s lacrosse

After struggling mightily in 2023, there were questions about how the Leopards would respond. However, they showed many encouraging signs for the future of the program. They knocked off Lehigh for the first time since 2013 and had close losses against Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Villanova and Columbia. The Leopards will lose a lot of their roster, as four year starting goalie Lexie Coldiron and top goal scorers Abby Romano and Clare Culligan will be graduating.

Men’s basketball 

The team was able to weather the storm of losing three key contributors to the 2022-23 campaign, soaring to a 7-0 start in Patriot League play. The Maroon and White lost steam as the season progressed, eventually falling to Lehigh in the first round of the Patriot League conference playoffs, but the team is only losing two starters and All-Patriot League Third Team recipients rising seniors Justin Vander Baan and Devin Hines return to try to help this team back to Patriot League Championship and beyond.

Women’s basketball 

Despite showing flashes of promise, the Leopards never felt like they could consistently put it together, especially down the stretch. The team is graduating leading scorer Makayla Andrews and starting forward Kayla Drummond, but next year will be a big opportunity for rising seniors Abby Antognoli, Kylee Favours and Halee Smith to lead the team while also getting to see the next generation get valuable playing time.

Swimming and diving 

There is great promise for what the Leopards can do in the pool next year. Rising senior Peter Kawash is already one of the best swimmers the Leopards have ever seen. On the women’s side, rising seniors Maggie Ivie and Sophia Toomey lead the way for an all-around stacked team which continues to improve and impress in its heats. On the diving team, rising sophomore Landon Orth looks to provide the first consistent top tens the Leopards have had in a decade.

Men’s tennis

After a disappointing ending to the season, falling to Holy Cross in the play-in round to the Patriot League tournament, there is much hope for improvement for the Leopards as the entirety of their starting lineup will be back. After playing strongly against higher ranked teams including beating Colgate for the first time since 2007, the team should be able to move out of the bottom two in the Patriot League if the Leopards play to the best of their ability.

Women’s tennis 

The women’s team was able to make it out of the play-in round, destroying Holy Cross 4-0, but fell to the eventual conference champions in Boston University by the same score. Despite this, there is great promise for a team that will not lose a single starter. Rising junior Alyssa Perdomo was named to the Patriot League second team, which is huge for a program that has not seen that kind of recognition since the COVID-19 pandemic.


After the chaos of the 2022 season, new coach Christian Kiselica looked to right the ship in 2023. While the team was only able to notch one more win than last year, it showed signs of cohesion and improvement. The Leopards started off promising but lost eight of their last nine matchups to close the season. Now, as the team loses stars Alyssa Vitale and Gracie Gibson, the Leopards will have a lot to replace.


The Leopards struggled mightily to get off the ground this year. There were flashes, but after getting off to yet another slow start, they were unable to recover. Disappointing seasons from players the team were counting on compounded the injury issues that the team struggled with all season. Now, as Coach Miller enters his third season, a lot of the younger guys have gotten valuable playing time and will look to breakout in a bounce-back campaign next year.


After showcasing marked improvement in 2023, the Leopards once again struggled to bring runs across the plate. On the bright side, the team is only losing five seniors, which will be huge for trying to build the program back in 2025. Both hitters who hit over .300 this season are returning, but questions revolve around the pitching, as second-year coach Karavin Dew looks to continue building the foundation of a rebuilding program.


The golf team got off to a disappointing start, appearing as though no one could play consistent enough to be successful, but came out on a mission during the Patriot League championship. Rising senior Sean Saw returns after leading the team to a fifth place finish in the league, while rising senior Quint Dingledine and rising junior Harry Dessel look to improve upon this season. The Leopards have struggled to replicate the success they found during the spring 2022 season when Ryan Tall won the entire Patriot League Tournament, but if they can continue to build on their showing at the Patriot League Championship, there is hope that they could make progress towards returning to that mountaintop.

XC and Track and Field

Cross country, along with track and field, saw significant contributions from its underclassmen this year. On the women’s side, the loss of Emma Lorey and eight other seniors will hurt, but they have a number of younger contributors with promise. On the men’s side, they will lose four seniors who will be tough to replace, but there is an immense amount of young talent waiting in the wings.

Disclaimer: Assistant Sports Editor Eric Ponieman ’24 is a member of the men’s soccer team. He did not contribute writing or reporting.

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About the Contributor
Charlie Berman
Charlie Berman, Sports Editor

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    Amos Han '14May 3, 2024 at 8:40 am

    This was a fun year of following college sports. I live in Florida but when I had a reason to fly north I was fortunate to attend some Lafayette sports games. I am a big fan of the football head coach John Troxell ’94 since I first heard his name through a word of mouth when I was a younger alumnus, and I was so happy to see him become the Lafayette football head coach on 12/14/2021. I took four flight trips to attend his games during the 2023 season, with the 700th program victory coming against Lehigh. I was very happy that they were 9-2 during the regular season, something I have never seen during my 14 years as a ‘Pard (including four years as a student and ten years as an alumnus). The close loss to Delaware did upset me for several days because Lafayette had a big lead early on and could have won the game and head to Montana but instead I see the football season end. Luckily a friend of mine comforted me which made me feel better. Despite this, I have faith in Lafayette football and sense they will continue to have a winning record regardless of number of tougher opponents.