Daily Archives: April 6, 2011

Jesus, We Aren’t Kidding: Rugby Is Back

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Eric Bernsen/The Mirror

As the sun set over the Fairfield campus last Saturday evening, Alumni Field was the place to be.

The Men’s Rugby team hosted rival Sacred Heart last Saturday. The Red Ruggers’ opening game was a hard fought 26-20 win against a team that had already played two matches.

With hard running and strong defense that led to numerous scoring chances, Fairfield excelled in the first 40 minutes of the match and held a 19-3 lead by the end of the half.

However, the momentum reversed in the second half of play and Sacred Heart came storming back against the young Fairfield squad. After a successful try by Sacred Heart, the margin was narrowed down to a 19-13 score.

But after a successful tap by Red Ruggers senior Matt Almedia, Fairfield was able to hold onto the lead for the rest of the match by successfully fighting off Sacred Heart’s second half surge.

Fairfield Head Coach Matt Leonard was pleasantly surprised by his teams strong effort.

“Everyone looked very fit and focused. Our team worked together well and the future looks good if we continue to work hard,” Leonard said.

There was a great student turnout at the match and the passionate support of the fans inspired the team to put forth its strongest effort.

“After being on hiatus for a year to come back with a victory was special and the fact that supporters came to cheer us on really inspired us to put forth all we had,” said junior Gareth McLoughlin

Many players on the team echoed this sentiment, many of them greeting their parents after the game with large smiles and celebration in mind.

“The win last Saturday was priceless. It was just what we needed after all this time off the pitch,” said junior Christian Ford. “We consider each other brothers and have worked together on and off the field to stay close as a team throughout the past year. Our hard work clearly paid off.”

Coach Leonard was also impressed by the student presence, but admitted the dangers that Alumni Field poses to his players, with multiple injuries occurring over the course of the game.

“I had never seen the students like that before. Although Alumni Field was a nice venue, rugby should not be played on such a [turf] surface!”

Next weekend the Fairfield Red Ruggers are on the road against Boston University. After which, they will prepare for the highly anticipated Beast of the East Tournament in Rhode Island.

Lady Ruggers Looking to Face Challenges Ahead

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Mirror File Photo

After a loss, most teams put their faces down and shut out the world.

The Lady Ruggers of Fairfield University’s Rugby team walked off the field, looked at each other and smiled, high fived, and congratulated each other.

The game Saturday at Randall’s Island was the first of the season. Fairfield faced Fordham at 4:30 p.m. and then after a 10 minute intersession, took on Drew. After both losses the girls gathered around Head Coach Ryan Birge.

“This is just a glorified practice,” said Birge.  “We don’t want to lose – we don’t lose, we were undefeated last fall.”

Last fall, the Fairfield Lady Ruggers literally did not lose. They were undefeated in regular season, finishing 6 – 0. They then moved onto the semi-final and defeated Columbia. The Ruggers moved on to the MET and beat long time foes, Sacred Heart, 5 – 0 in over-time. Finally, they moved onto Nationals, losing to the eventual National Champion  team, the Bentley Falcons.

With this record, a loss seems out of character. But in reality, “at times we only had 3 returners on the field” said Birge. This isn’t the same team from last fall. This spring, 11 of the 15 starters went abroad. “We are so used to success, to lose 11 of our starting 15 is discouraging…but this spring we are developing new players, gaining match experience, adding depth, and making the team stronger,” said Birge.

This huge loss of players in the spring semester puts the newcomers straight into the action. Many of the starters yesterday had never played before, while others were still inexperienced.

“ We had one official week of practice,” said Birge when reflecting on the game. With one week of preparation, the girls were thrown into one of the highest intensity, full on contact sports.

“We [returners] were so used to being with our old team…having all these new girls is an opportunity and they all stepped up…it’s a great precursor to the future,” said Forward Captain Fiona Barbour.

For the future, Birge has a clear plan set out for his new team. “We are going back to the basics, the fundamentals, getting everyone on the same page.”

This loss doesn’t reflect the heart of the Fairfield Lady Ruggers but their “lack of experience, we played a handful of players that had been playing for a week…it [rugby] requires all players to be on the same page this can be difficult for new players…they [Fordham and Drew] capitalized on our mistakes,” said Birge.

“We bleed together,” said Barbour. Before the match, the ladies exchanged nervous looks and pats on the back. During the game, they were communicating. The returners were helping the new players throughout every step of the game. After every half the team rang out a unified “good job”. The team’s greatest strength is “team camaraderie. We are a close knit group…we are the definition of a team and it shows on the field,” said Birge

This newly put together team has a bright future. The team is hitting the ground running (literally) and learning on their feet. When asked about the team’s future, Barbour answered simply , “back to nationals.”

Brittany Goldrick, a newcomer to rugby, was the team’s wing in a portion of the game. “I liked it – it was a lot of fun. The girls were so helpful – teaching me what… to do,” laughed Goldrick. The future for the team looks promising and we will “come back stronger,” she said.

To watch this “kick-ass and exciting sport,” Barbour has advised students to take a walk up to Alumni Field on April 28th, when Fairfield faces cross town rival Sacred Heart. Fans won’t be disappointed and she concluded, “where else are you going to watch girls wrestle in the mud?”

Stags on Pace with Win Against Top Rival

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Fairfield Athletics File Photo

It was a battle of two top teams in a rivalry that has seen an underdog shock arguably the most dominant program the conference has ever seen, three times in the last four years in the game that matters most.

Despite being undefeated in the MAAC regular season and winning the regular season championship for three consecutive years, the Fairfield University women’s lacrosse team has seen their season and their dreams end twice in the hands of the Marist Red Foxes.

However, the Stags succeeded in getting some revenge on Sunday as they topped the defending champions 12-9.  The victory extends Fairfield’s conference regular season winning streak to 20 games.

“It’s a natural rivalry,” Head Coach Mike Waldvogel said.  “We’re looking to get back in the right sense of mind in terms of playing in the league.”  Ironically, the current streak started with an 11-10 victory against their old foe, Marist.

This rivalry has heated up over the last few years.  Fairfield and Marist have met four straight times in the MAAC Championship game, with Fairfield winning only one of those titles despite being 23-2 in the conference and undefeated in the last three.  The Stags suffered another setback last season when Marist won the Championship, stunning a Fairfield team who outscored their conference foes by a total of 50 points.  Waldvogel, who is 1-1 as a head coach in those games, admitted that it has become a rivalry, especially for the older players on the team.

The seniors on the squad have been a part of those intense battles.  In fact, the only MAAC team that the class of 2011 has lost to is Marist.

Team Captain Brittany Bare ’11 said, “The returners especially knew that with the loss from last year in the Championship, we needed to come out and prove ourselves again.”

The two-time all-MAAC First Team selection knew that the Stags missed an opportunity last season to return to the NCAA’s for the second straight time, “[we needed] to get revenge and payback on a game we thought we should’ve had last year.”

In the Championship game, the Stags were held to a season low seven points.  The Red Foxes shut down the same team that was averaging 15 goals an outing and tallied 13 in their previous matchup.

“They always come out and play against us and we know they are going to come out hard and aggressive, she said. “So we need to do the same.”

The Stags and the Red Foxes rivalry will not end like this.  In fact, this year should become another chapter in this story.  Fairfield and Marist were picked to finish number one and two in the conference respectively, and all signs point to another battle in the title bout.

“It makes me really nervous playing Marist every time and we’re probably going to see them in the tournament.  So we have to keep working like we do,” Bare said.

A victory over the second best team in the conference can help the Stags as they look for their fourth straight regular season championship.  Head Coach Mike Waldvogel said, “we obviously love to win the regular season.  And I think we’re on the right track right now.   A win over Marist in April is great.  But it only means something in May if they play for the trophy.”

Adams Returns, Offense Heats Up in ECAC Win

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Yuri Sendzimir/The Mirror

He’s baaaack!

After missing six games with an illness, Brent Adams ’12 has not missed a beat and returned to the Fairfield Stags men’s lacrosse lineup.  In the last two games, he has recorded 10 points, including five goals.

With Adams on the field, the team has a much improved offense when considering that without him they were last in the league.

“Having Brent back is terrific,” third season head coach Andrew Copeland said.  “He can get to the goal.  Just him as an athlete really makes a difference on our offense.”

The midfielder played in this season’s opening game, but would not run on the field again for over a month.  The Stags would split those six contests.

Fairfield has struggled without their leading goal scorer from a year ago, only averaging a little over 7.5 goals per game, which was last in the seven team ECAC conference.

“For me, it’s just great to be back,” Adams said after the Stags 13-11 victory over Bellarmine last Saturday.  “[I was] chopping at the bit to come out and play.”

He would lead the squad with four goals in the win that snapped their two game losing skid.

The 2010 First-team All ECAC selection, Adams recorded 16 goals last season and entered the final home ECAC game this year with only two.

While it will be difficult for his numbers to come even close to what you can expect, his comeback can ignite a spark for an offense that has sometimes fizzled throughout this year.

“I think it helped me out to be out,” Adams said.  “I’m just so anxious to play now and I’m just so pumped up for every game.”

In the win over Bellarmine, Adams helped the Stags score a season-high 13 goals, while contributing with four goals and two assists.

With the re-addition of one of their leading active points leaders, Fairfield will try to become more consistent on the offensive side.  Entering the weekend, they were dead last in the league in Goals Per Game.

Despite starting the 2011 season with 90 percent of their offense returning, the squad has had a tough time to put consistent numbers on the board.  In fact, the team had failed to reach double-digits in any game this season.

But with the bad comes the good.  While the Stags are looking up from the bottom in the ECAC when it comes to offense, they are looking down from the top when it comes to defense.  They have held opponents to nearly a goal per game, less than any other team in the conference.

“We’ve been sound defensively,” Copeland said.

Leading the impressive play is their man in the cage.  Charlie Cipriano ’12 leads the conference in save percentage and is one of the bright spots on the team. He earned the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week honor after an impressive 13 save effort against Bellarmine.

“Charlie’s been fantastic all year.  I have to tip my hat to him,” Copeland said.  “I think if you could have a mid-year MVP, it will probably clearly be Charlie Cipriano.”

The Stags are now 2-1 in the ECAC and while Copeland admits that the team is a little behind where he would like them to be, he knows there is plenty of lacrosse yet to play.

Fairfield needs to find more of a balance between its offense and defense as the conference schedule heats up.  They better learn fast, considering they are facing three nationally ranked teams in their next five games.

Satire: Barone on the Cutting Edge of Technology

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Everyone wants to bash Barone and the dubious claim that the food served there is indeed of suitable quality for human consumption. However, what gets lost in the entire rabble is what Barone actually does right.

Our simple and underrated cafeteria is actually quite technologically advanced. For instance, have you ever noticed the cereal dispensers? You have probably used them at least once, unless you are one of those cereal-hating trolls who lurks under highway overpasses, clinging to the hope that a billy goat will attempt to cross so you can make a quick buck.

The circular, gear-like devices, which allow us to access some of our favorite cereals, are actually at the pinnacle of cereal dispensing technology. Not only do they fill our bowls with delicious breakfast food, but they also grind it up.

In ideal conditions, these machines will reduce cereal to a fine, silt-like substance. By grinding up large pieces of cereal into powder, these machines reduce the risk of choking, conserve energy normally spent chewing, and render spoons obsolete.

Additionally, they eliminated one of the greatest enemies of cereal eaters worldwide: sogginess. Microscopic cereal particles are not large enough to absorb milk and become soft and mushy, so you can enjoy your cereal’s crunch no matter how long ago you fill the bowl with milk. The mad dash back to the table in order to finish off the cereal before it becomes stomach-churning slop is now part of the past.

So, the next time you’re in Barone, instead of lamenting over the rock-hard hamburgers, the mind-bending discrepancy between food descriptions and taste, or the rumored use of laxatives, be sure to stop by the cereal section and take time to appreciate what they do right.

Note: This article is solely for entertainment purposes.

Health Tips for Spring

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Although it still feels like winter, spring has finally begun! After a long season of partying, comfort food and not working out as often as one should, you’re probably happy with this delay of hot weather. No worries; I have some minor tips that can develop major results. With these small actions, you’ll be ready for summer in no time!

Tip 1: Drink a lot of water.

Before you eat, drink one or two glasses of water. By doing so you become less hungry and hold off on eating. Also, drinking plenty of water clears out the toxins in your body. It raises your metabolism, increasing your daily digestion. It also is a major source of energy that will give you the boost you need to exercise effectively.

Tip 2: Watch What You Eat.

Take a break from fatty foods. For example, cut out fried foods, soda, alcohol and all those guilty pleasures that are loaded with sugar. Also, eat less but more frequently. Eating four to five small meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism going. Replace your usual meals with healthier selections such as fruits, vegetable and grilled/steamed or baked meat.

Get rid of late night snacks. Avoid eating after 7 or 8 at night. If you’re dying of hunger after dinner, eat something that is low in calories. Avoid food with high sugar and caffeine, because these foods are difficult to digest and may interrupt sleep.

Tip 3: Exercise.

Whether in the gym or outside, incorporate some form of cardio into your workouts about three to five times a week. For example, 20 minutes on the treadmill or walking around the track are excellent ideas. Also, exercises, such as lunges and squats, can tone the legs and lower abs. If you’re bored with your usual workout, spice things up with fun exercises like bike riding, yoga or swimming.