League play set to begin

With four ranked opponents behind them, the Lafayette field hockey team can now focus on league play.

With four ranked opponents behind them, the Lafayette field hockey team can now focus on league play.

Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications

Lafayette field hockey has not mixed well this season with ranked opponents. That trend continued last weekend, as Lafayette lost to No. 17 Albany and No. 4 Penn State. It was their fourth loss to a ranked opponent after seven games.

Against Albany last Friday, Lafayette allowed three first half goals, including a penalty stroke, en route to a 4-2 loss. Hanna Sotiropoulos ’14, Lafayette’s leading scorer with three goals this season, and Jenna Seybert ‘15 scored for the Leopards. Lafayette earned a penalty stroke early in the second half, which was stopped by the Albany goalkeeper.

Lafayette outshot Albany 12-8 and held a 6-5 advantage on corners, but could not capitalize. Goalie Jessica Deutsch ’15 made two saves.

“It was a great opportunity to play such great competition,” Heaney said. “We put up a really good fight so it was unfortunate that we didn’t come up with wins, but these games are great preparation now that we are starting Patriot League play.”

Two days later, Lafayette fell to Penn State 3-0. The Nittany Lions scored late into the first half before adding two second-half goals. Deutsch shifted momentum with a penalty stroke save right after halftime. Lafayette earned a penalty stroke of its own, but the shot went wide. The Leopards managed just three shots on goal to Penn State’s 17. The Nittany Lions also held a 12-1 advantage on penalty corners.

“When you’re playing all these top ranked teams, everything counts,” Deutsch said. “Whenever we make a mistake, they’re able to capitalize on it and get a goal. With a team like Penn State, you can’t afford to make a mistake, because they will score.”

Lafayette beings league play tomorrow against archrival Lehigh at 11 a.m.

“After playing all of these top ranked teams, we’re ready to take on the Patriot League,” defender Carly O’Loughlin ‘14 said. “We’ve been playing so well and it isn’t being shown on the scoreboard at the end of each game. [Patriot League play] is a clean slate for us.”

“I’m exited to play Lehigh,” forward / midfield Aimee Smith ‘14 said. “It’s a common sentiment across all teams that you have to beat them, and if you don’t, you won’t forget it until you get the chance again next year.”

For Smith, though, there is no chance next year. Her final league championship season awaits tomorrow.

The Leopards then return home to face Rutgers on Sunday at 2 p.m.