July 17, 2012
EASTON, Pa. -
Head Coach Andrew Griffiths announced the 2012 Lafayette field hockey schedule on Tuesday as the Leopards look to defend their 2011 Patriot League title.
"The upcoming season will be a great challenge for us as we aim to repeat our Patriot League Championship and go further into the NCAA tournament," Griffiths said. "We have a challenging schedule again, and the spacing of our games will accomplish two things. Firstly, we only have one mid-week contest, so it will allow our student-athletes to focus on their academics, as they are missing less class time. Secondly, it will allow us to continue to work hard throughout the season on our strength and conditioning. This is an area that we struggled with towards the end of last season, and I believe it will make us a better, tougher team this year."
Lafayette's season opens on Aug. 26 when Ball State comes to Rappolt Field for a 1 p.m. meeting. The Cardinals, a member of the Mid-American Conference, play Lafayette in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
A pair of weekend road games on consecutive days opens September as Lafayette takes on James Madison and Penn State on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2. Last season, the meeting with JMU was cancelled because of Hurricane Irene, while the Nittany Lions took a 6-0 decision in Easton.
Reigning Northeast Conference champion, Rider, travels across the state line in Lafayette's first night game of the year on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. The Broncs put together a 19-2 season in 2011 and fell to Princeton 1-0 in double-overtime in an NCAA Play-In game. Two days later, a trip to Temple awaits Lafayette as the Owls look to avenge a 4-2 loss in Easton a year ago.
The Maroon and White return home on Sept. 14 for a Friday evening matchup with Drexel, who edged Lafayette 1-0 in Philadelphia last year, before three straight road games, including Lafayette's Patriot League opener. The Leopards play at Quinnipiac (9/16) and Albany (9/22) prior to their annual tilt with conference foe American, and are seeking their first-ever win against the Eagles in Washington, D.C.
As the calendar turns to October, Lafayette hosts Penn on Wednesday, Oct. 3, three days before welcoming Colgate to Rappolt Field for a noon meeting. A week later, Lafayette wraps up its four game homestand with games on consecutive days against Bucknell (10/13) and Rutgers (10/14).
Griffiths' squad looks to win three straight against Holy Cross as the team travels to Worcester, Mass. on Oct. 20 prior to closing out the Patriot League slate at Lehigh on Oct. 27. Lafayette has outscored the Mountain Hawks 24-0 in the last five meetings and has seven straight victories over its historic rivals.
The regular season concludes on Oct. 28 when Lafayette hosts Georgetown five days prior to the start of the Patriot League Tournament, which will be played at the site of the No. 1 seed on Nov. 2-3.
Lafayette welcomes six incoming freshmen and returns nine of its 11 starters from the 2011 squad, including the Patriot League's Offensive Player of the Year, Deanna DiCroce and First Team selections Emily Valeo and Brittany Blass.
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