The newly established “Crusaders Coaches Show,” aired both on WEEI 1440 and streamed through Facebook Live, offers Holy Cross fans near and far the opportunity to closely follow the seasonal progressions of the fall sports teams. The show airs every Tuesday from 8-9 p.m. live from Crossroads in the Hogan Campus Center and is presented by JMB Financial Advisors and alumnus Stephen Lovelette ‘78. Three different teams are highlighted in each episode, and in those segments coaches and players discuss recent games and other developments with the show’s host, Dick Lutsk. At the end of each segment, Lutsk asks the featured student-athletes about their post-graduate plans – an endearing way for the Crusader community to get to know the athletes they are cheering for in a more personal, relatable way.
First on the air was football coach Bob Chesney with senior linebacker Ryan Brady to unpack the much-anticipated, rivalry-renewing game against Boston College, and the show closed with cross country coach Jim Kavanaugh and student-athletes Jenna Gasparrini and William Hoffman to discuss preparations for the National Catholic Invitational at Notre Dame. Perhaps the most insightful aspect of the episode was found around the 23-minute mark when field hockey coach Lindsay Jackson and senior captain Emily Loprete had an opportunity to give fans perspective to their 0-5 start to the season. The show proved to be a great medium for Holy Cross field hockey fans to experience the team’s opinions concerning the disappointing start, and listeners can hear firsthand the high-morale, competitive spirit still alive in Jackson and Loprete. The conversation with Lutsk illuminated the primary reason for Crusaders’ slow start to the season: despite talented midfield and attack, the team is having trouble finishing offensive opportunities. The Crusaders have only put up five points in the five games the team played before the show aired. Jackson hoped the team would develop a more attack-based mindset in the upcoming games to fix the goal-scoring issue plaguing the team.
However, those offensive woes persisted for the Crusaders as they suffered through two more close losses. The team fell to LIU Brooklyn – a new program only in its second year of varsity play – 2-1 September 14 at the Luth Athletic Complex, giving the 1-7 Blackbirds their only win of the season. After giving up an early lead on a Keely Smith goal eight minutes into play, LIU Brooklyn tied up the game in the second half and struck again with only four minutes left in the game to steal the win from the Crusaders. However, Holy Cross’ struggles to score cannot be attributed to lack of chances: Holy Cross put up 24 shots to LIU Brooklyn’s 13, but only 8 of the 24 shots fell on goal.
The Crusaders fell again on Sunday, this time at an away game to a 3-3 Dartmouth team at the Chase Field in Hanover, New Hampshire. Despite a stalwart twenty-two save performance by junior Marcia LaPlante, a talented goalie boasting a .792 save percentage (the eleventh-best save percentage in the country), the Crusaders fell in the second half again. Two goals by Loprete and senior Lauren Ineson brought Holy Cross within striking distance after the first half, but the Big Green came back with three unanswered goals in the second to solidify their win.
Crusader fans can find solace in the interview with Lutsk at the “Crusaders Coaches Show.” Both Lutsk and Jackson emphasized the Field Hockey team’s strength of schedule thus far: In the past seven games, Holy Cross faced two nationally ranked opponents in Harvard and Maine, an additional strong Ivy League contender in Dartmouth, and other formidable field hockey programs in Northeastern and Fairfield. This competitive schedule and the strong defense exemplified in the past seven games indicates that the Crusaders can keep up with these programs. When the American University rolls through Worcester this weekend, fans know that Jackson and Loprete are confident that Holy Cross can go head-to-head the entire pace of the game. American, a Patriot League powerhouse, is a big test and may be an indicator of what to expect from the Crusaders for the rest of the season – if the team finally puts everything together offensively and starts finishing its chances, it has a chance to be a force to be reckoned with in the Patriot League.
Catch the “Crusaders Coaches Show” next Tuesday in Crossroads to go beyond the game and pick up key insights and behind-the-scenes information about your favorite Holy Cross programs. And, of course, the free gear from WEEI is great too!