3 peat within grasp: FH clinches berth in PL tourney

3 peat within grasp: FH clinches berth in PL tourney

Allison Dadouris

Photos courtesy of Athletic Communications

Lafayette field hockey earned its 17th trip to the Patriot League Tournament by defeating Colgate 4-3 in come-from-behind fashion on Saturday.

If Lafayette lost, it would have had to defeat Boston University tomorrow and hope for Holy Cross to defeat Colgate in order to clinch a tournament berth.

But those worries are gone. The Leopards can now focus their attention on obtaining the rare three-peat.

“We are so excited to be returning to the tournament,” captain Kristin Heaney ‘14 said. “It makes all of our hard work worth it. It’s a great opportunity for us and a chance for us to end our season on a high note.”

Losses to Bucknell and American University before the Colgate game caused concern that postseason play was in jeopardy.

“There was always the slight fear we wouldn’t qualify,” Heaney said. “But we are a strong and skilled team so I am not surprised we were able to get the win against Colgate,”

Lafayette found itself down two against the Raiders after just 20 minutes. The strong and skilled team that Heaney described responded appropriately. Kelsey Gula ‘14 deflected a Haley Keenan ‘14 shot past the Colgate goalkeeper to strike first. Minutes later, Brittany Blass ‘15 appeared to score before it was called back due to a penalty.

Halftime concluded and Lafayette had 35 minutes to tie or take the lead. It only needed three of them as Kelsey Mead ‘15 picked up a loose ball in the circle and scored. Blass then scored off an insert from Mead to Kirby Szalkowski ‘16.

Blass scored an important insurance goal with two minutes remaining as Colgate managed one last goal in the final minute of play.

The schedule this season was challenging. Lafayette played six top-20 ranked teams, most recently No. 17 Temple in a 3-2 home loss on Sunday.

“Basically, our whole preseason schedule that was so brutal doesn’t really matter,” senior forward Hanna Sotiropoulos said. “We can still do everything we planned on in the beginning of the season, only now we’re more prepared to play these tough teams.”

“Our goal was to win the Patriot League Tournament and we can still do that.”

Lafayette will contend with American, Bucknell and Patriot League newcomer Boston University for the rights to the trophy.

“As a senior, I’ve learned that when it comes time for the tournament, it’s anyone’s game,” forward/midfielder Aimee Smith ‘14 said. “Anyone can beat any team any day. I’m also looking for revenge against a few teams so it’ll be a really competitive, exciting tournament.”

Although meaningless, tomorrow’s matchup against BU could serve as a nice preview for what’s to come. BU is currently ranked second in the Patriot League standings, but to get past them the Leopards will have to get past the top-seeded Eagles from American University, who have locked up the No. 1 spot in the tournament.

“We’re ready for a win,” Sotiropoulos said. “It’s almost the end of the season and none of us are giving up without a fight.”