Fall Sports Preview

Women’s Soccer

2015 Season:

8-7-1 (2-6-1 in Patriot League); did not qualify for post-season

Key Players:

GK Danielle Sedillo ’17

F Melissa Lynskey ’17

D Olivia Heitz ’18

M Joanna Scotti ’17

F Kaelin King ’17

What’s Changed:

After losing five seniors to graduation, including All-Patriot League First Team defender Kelly Chickering, head coach Mick Statham added five new freshmen to the roster. With just four games played, all of the newcomers have already seen time on the field.

What’s the Same:

All-Patriot League First Team forward Kaelin King returns for her senior season, after scoring seven goals and four assists in her junior campaign. Senior forward Melissa Lynskey joins King on the forward line, coming off a junior season where she scored five goals. Senior goalkeeper Danielle Sedillo returns as the starting goalkeeper, hoping to build on the 5-3 record and .606 save percentage from last season.

Strengths:

Lafayette will rely on its experience and talent throughout the field. King and Lynskey will take the lead on the forward line, with senior Joanna Scotti in the midfield, junior Olivia Heitz leading the defense and senior goalkeeper Danielle Sedillo minding the net.

“I do think it may be the best group I’ve had as far as understanding that there is a much bigger piece to this than themselves,” Statham said. 

Weaknesses:

Despite coming off the first winning season since 2011, Statham said he thinks the team must learn how to win this fall. Currently sitting at 3-0-1 on the season, it appears the Leopards are off to a good start so far.

What to Watch For:

The Leopards return a number of top Patriot League players, including King, sophomore Katie Brannigan and Lynskey, who already has three goals on the season. However, Statham said he thinks the secret to success for the Leopards will be three players who have been spotlighted less in the past: senior midfielder Monica Weiss, junior defender Lauren Johnson and sophomore midfielder Gabby Martone.

Patriot League Contenders: Reigning league champion Boston University was picked to finish in first place, while Bucknell, who challenged Boston in the league championship game last fall, landed the second place spot in the preseason poll announced earlier this month.

Key Games:

Sept. 17th – Loyola @ Lafayette

Last Word:

I think we’re going to be surprising a lot of teams this season. This has potential to be one of the best seasons yet for the women’s program,” Sedillo said.

 

 

Cross Country

2015 Season:

Men: Eighth in the Patriot League Championships; Women: Ninth in the Patriot League Championships

Key Players:

Andrew Morra ’17

Kelvin Serem ’17

Emily Moore ’19

Mikayla Pacilio ’18

What’s Changed:

The men and women lost one of their top runners with Thomas Day ’16 and Stephanie Benko ’16 graduating. Both finished in the top three for Lafayette runners during the Patriot League Championships last season.

What’s the Same:

Other than the handful of seniors that graduated, the team is essentially the same as it was last year. Of the 17 runners that competed in the Patriot League Championships, 14 will be back on the team this year.

Strengths:

With not many seniors graduating, most of the younger runners already had leadership roles last season, so it should not be difficult for them to step up and fill the shoes of those that left.

Weaknesses:

Although the team did not lose many runners, they only placed three returning runners in the top 50 for the Patriot League Championships. This certainly will not be good enough for them to place well in the Patriot League Championships this year, they will need either better performance from their upperclassmen or contributions from incoming freshmen. 

What to Watch For:

Moore, despite being a freshman, emerged as the top runner last year for the women and will look to build on her rookie performance this season. 

Patriot League Contenders:

Navy looks like the sure bet to win the title this year for the men, as they had the top four runners in the championship last year. As for the women, Bucknell took home the title last year but Navy could give them a run for their money this year.

Key Games:

Sept. 3 – Monmouth XC Kick-Off

Sept. 17 – Lehigh @ Lafayette 

 

 

Volleyball

2015 Season:

11-16 (3-13); did not qualify for Patriot League playoffs

Key Players:

MB Katherine Stevens ’17

MB Kelly Flynn ’17

OH Jet Manzi ’17

S Maria Balus ’19

OH Elizabeth Walsh ’18

What’s Changed: 

The team lost three seniors from last year: Lauren Pisauro, Brianna Giangiobbe and Sarah Moult. In addition, senior Samantha Volk is injured and will be out for the year. Six new freshmen were added to the team and most should see playing time right away.

What’s the Same:

Seniors Katherine Stevens, Kelly Flynn and Jet Manzi all return to the starting lineup, while Balus and Walsh look to continue to build off of their stellar seasons a year ago. Joining them will be juniors Katie Kidder and Tori Smith. 

Strengths:

After just one season, Balus launched herself into the top ten for assists in the program’s history. After struggling with setting for the past few seasons, it looks like the Leopards have solidified that part of their game. The outside hitters, Manzi and Walsh, will also be a strongpoint for the team this year.

Weaknesses:

The defensive specialists might be the weakest group for the Leopards. Kidder, along with sophomore Meghan Donohue, look to hold down that position. Donohue was off the court for six months after breaking her hip, but is looking to contribute a lot this season. 

What to Watch For:

Last year, the Leopards secured their first victory over Lehigh since 2009 and won their first straight-set victory since 2007. This year, the team looks to build on that and possibly qualify for the playoffs.

Patriot League Contenders:

American was selected as the preseason favorite to win the Patriot League with Army close behind. Colgate rounded out the top three.

Key Games:

Sept. 20 – Lehigh vs. Lafayette

Oct. 18 – Lehigh @ Lafayette

Last Word:

“So far things been looking rather well for us, every player has returned with a positive attitude and a will to win which is definitely showing on court. Our competitive spirit with one another is driving us to be the best we can, and hopefully it will carry over once we start facing different teams across the net,” Flynn said.

 

Men’s Soccer

2015 Season: 5-8-5 (2-5-1 in Patriot League); did not qualify for post-season

Key Players:

M Ryan Egan ’17

M Ben Marks ’17

D Chris Moyse ’18

GK Brad Seeber ’18

F Evan Vare ’20

What’s Changed:

The Leopards lost five starters including their two forward threats in Greg Biggiani ’16 and Eric West ’16 to graduation. Head coach Dennis Bohn signed thirteen members to the class of 2020, including the highly sought after Evan Vare, who was named Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior season in high school.

What’s the Same:

The Leopards return captain, three-year starter, and leading scorer from the 2015 season, senior Ryan Egan, to lead the midfield. Chris Moyse, who was named All-Patriot League Second Team for his sophomore season, will anchor the backfield in front of junior Brad Seeber, who had an excellent sophomore campaign, notching a 0.86 goals-against average.

Strengths:

The Leopards will look to combine experience and older talent with fresh new energy from their large incoming class. A number of freshmen, including Vare, midfielder Adam Bramson and defender Diego Gomera, have already contributed on the field.

Weaknesses:

In 2015, goals were hard to come by for the Leopards. The Leopards failed to score in 12 of their 18 games and only scored 10 goals on the year. Additionally, they will need to find a way to convert overtime games into victories. The Leopards went to overtime on eight separate occasions last season and not once did they come away with a victory.

What to Watch For:

Lafayette will need stand out seasons from Egan, Marks, and Vare to provide the offensive momentum needed to win those close games. They will also rely on Seeber and Moyse to use their experience to continue to keep the defense tight. If the Leopards can put goals on the scoreboard while the defense remains strong, they will be competitive.

Patriot League Contenders:

American University is picked to top the league in the preseason poll, beating out defending champions, Colgate University, who landed the third spot. Boston University landed in the second spot and will also look to compete for the league title.

Key Games:

Sept. 24 – Loyola @ Lafayette

Last Word:

“If I had to choose one word it would be positivity. There’s a lot of positive vibes going around the team, a lot of positive energy and a lot of good feelings that good things are going to happen this year,” said Egan.

 

Football

2015 Season:

1-10 (0-6 in Patriot League); seventh place in the Patriot League

Key Players:

QB Drew Reed ’17

WR Matt Mrazek ’18

LB Brandon Bryant ’18

OL Connor Staudle ’17 (co-captain)

What’s Changed:

The Leopards face the largest losses to graduation on defense. Four-time All-Patriot League cornerback Matt Smalley and safety Jared Roberts will certainly be missed in the backfield, while the team loses a combined 131 tackles with the departures of linebackers Mark Dodd and Dennis Bencsko.

What’s the Same:

Much of the offensive corps returns for this season, including senior QBs Drew Reed and Blake Searfoss who have both seen significant game action over their time at Lafayette.

Strengths:

Between senior Tim Vangelas, juniors Matt Mrazek and Rocco Palumbo, and sophomore Joey Chenoweth, the Leopards look poised to have one of the best receiving units in the Patriot League.

Weaknesses:

The Leopards’ secondary has the most to prove at the start of the 2016 season, and the loss of senior tackle and captain Matt Rothrock to injury for the first couple games of the season puts the defense at a disadvantage.

What to Watch For:

The name of the game for head coach Frank Tavani’s squad is staying healthy. Yoga and modified preseason practice schedule have helped the team limit injuries heading into the season, and they will need to keep that trend going.

Patriot League Contenders:

Colgate

Fordham

Holy Cross

Key Games:

Sept. 24 – Villanova @ Lafayette

Oct. 1 – Holy Cross @ Lafayette

Nov. 19 – Lehigh @ Lafayette

Last Word:

“We’re assuming that last year was an aberration, and we feel pretty good coming out of preseason camp. There’s always good news and bad news. The good news is we came out healthier than we have since I’ve been here,” said Tavani, on the health of his team.

 

Field Hockey

2015 Season:

9-10 (3-3 in Patriot League); lost to American in semifinal of Patriot League Tournament

Key Players:

Midfielder Amanda Magadan ’17

Goalkeeper Katelyn Arnold ’17 (Full Disclosure: Arnold is a staff writer for The Lafayette)

Forward Amy Turner ’17

Midfielder/Defense Eliza Furneaux ’17

Forward Rosie Shanks ’18

What’s Changed:

On defense, the key loss for the Leopards is Hannah Millen, a three-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week and National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association Second Team selection last year.

What’s the Same:

Following strong 2015 performance, seniors Amanda Magadan, Katelyn Arnold and junior Ellen Colbourne were named to the Preseason All-Patriot League team for the 2016 season. In addition, the strong attack penalty corner unit from last season should remain a key factor to the success of the team.

Strengths:

Between seniors Magadan, Arnold, Eliza Furneaux and Amy Turner, the Leopards’ have a solid senior leadership corps that can keep the young team focused and resilient.

Weaknesses:

More of a question than a weakness is how the team will respond to adversity. Remaining consistent throughout the season and maintaining a gritty and determined outlook will be key.

What to Watch For:

Head coach Jennifer Stone is entering the season with a larger-than-usual freshman class of eight players. Look for them to contribute early and often, as two of the three goals scored in the Leopards’ season opener came from the class of 2020.

Patriot League Contenders:

Boston University

American University

Holy Cross

Lehigh University

Key Games:

Sept. 23 – Boston University @ Lafayette

Oct. 15 – Holy Cross @ Lafayette

Oct. 28 – Lehigh @ Lafayette

Last Word:

“In general our team tries to have a growth mindset. In terms of not looking to the end goal but building each game,” Magadan said. “If we do that we’ll end up at our end goal [of winning the Patriot League championship].

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