New Year, New Coach, Same Goal
By Sarah Frohnapfle ‘14
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 00:02
With back-to-back Patriot League championships stashed away in the proverbial vault and a recent NCAA Tournament appearance, the Lafayette Field Hockey team has been the most successful Lafayette sports team the past two seasons. Winter has come, however, and the celebratory period is certainly over. The Leopards have come to a point in which they have to face the facts of reality. They already had planned on losing some serious talent with a stacked graduating class, highlighted by All-American Deanna DiCroce ‘13, All-Patriot League Emily Valeo ‘13, and All-Patriot Second Team Jaclyn White ‘13.
Then, on December 17, 2012 head coach Andrew Griffiths announced that he was leaving Lafayette to coach national power Old Dominion, who will be joining the Big East this year. With two championships to defend, the Lafayette field hockey team now had a coaching void to fill.
Jennifer Stone ‘04 will help with the transitional period. Stone is a Lafayette Field Hockey alumnus, as well as the former assistant coach. Her past experience will help alleviate and smooth the transitional period. After graduating from Lafayette in 2004, she worked in New York City. After doing this for a few years, her desire to return to her true passion, and the hiring of Coach Griffiths in 2007 brought her back to the hill. A business and art undergraduate major, Stone recently got her masters degree from Temple in Sports Management.
Coach Stone will easily transition into the role of Head Coach after being an assistant who was an integral part of the coaching staff. Her role included everything from recruiting to running and participating in practices. A hands-on coach, Stone is often involved in practice, playing in drills and running game-like situations. She described former head coach Andrew Griffiths as “a great teacher who knew how to succeed”. The program will stay largely the same as it has been for the past few years because as she rightfully noted, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” And after two consecutive Patriot League championships and the program’s first NCAA appearance this past season, they have certainly figured out what works.
Stone’s coaching philosophy is centered on building relationships with her players. She said that the key to her coaching style is communication. She described herself as “challenging, but fair.” As the Leopards come off another hugely successful season, they face the challenge of overcoming loss and redefining the program. However, if history tells us anything, adversity only makes a team stronger. In this case, it could be the defining feature that leads to Coach Stone’s first championship trophy as Lafayette’s Head Coach.