The Fairfield Men’s Lacrosse team faced off against in-state rival Quinnipiac University on Tuesday, March 6 at Rafferty Stadium. The Stags entered the day with a record of 1-4, looking to not have this season slip away like last year. Head coach Andy Copelan wanted to get back in the win column and he saw this game as one where his team could do just that.
Fairfield started out in the best way possible, scoring six straight goals to start the contest. Two of those early contest goals were man-up goals, one coming from Jack Brennan ‘19 and the other goal came from Taylor Strough ’21. Senior Joe Rodrigues scored two goals in the first half to keep the pressure on Quinnipiac. Fairfield took the field and asserted themselves on the offensive side leading the game, 8-1, at halftime.
One key decisive factor for the Stags was Will Fox ‘18 at faceoff position X. He ultimately dominated at faceoffs against the Bobcats, converting 14-19 of faceoffs for the game, which is about a 74 percent conversion rate. In the first half alone, he only lost one faceoff to Quinnipiac, where Fox went 3-3 in the first quarter and 7-8 in the second quarter. The faceoff tactician puts Fairfield in a position to win when he dominates the faceoff.
Sophomore Sean McKee put on a defensive show while he was in goal for the Stags. Many times, he put his body on the line as he made 13 saves, including seven in the fourth quarter against a persistent Bobcats team.
“The defense did a great job of keeping their shots from coming a long way out. It makes my job at lot easier when they’re shooting from 15 feet out, not getting on top of me,” said McKee.
McKee sees this performance as a confidence-builder as he looks ahead to future games to build off this momentum.
“As a team, it’s been kind of an up and down start to the year, where everyone has just been grinding through especially me. Hopefully, we can all turn the page, move on and have a great rest of the year” said the goalkeeper.
On the offensive side, Brennan showed off his athletic prowess by scoring three goals along with two assists, equating to five points. The second-year transfer now has six goals on the season where he is proving himself to be a part of the starting lineup.
“I was just trying to get open off the ball and my teammates did a really good job at finding me. It’s pretty easy when guys are drawing doubles and I am just trying to get open and do my job” said Brennan.
Copelan is feeling better after his team secured the second win of the season, but he still knows there are facets still to work on for his team.
“It’s nice to get back in the win column, that’s a good feeling. Honestly, just walking off that field after losing those couple games in a row was a disgusting feeling. So, I’m happy for them. They came out ready to play today and that had been one of our areas of weakness. Now, I’m disappointed with certain things in the second half, whether it was learning how to win and close games out. If we could work on that while we’re still winning, I’m okay with it” said Copelan.
Copelan praised the efforts of attackman Brennan and goalkeeper McKee in Tuesday’s win over Quinnipiac.
“Those guys are great. I give Jack a ton of credit. He’s been a staple on man-up and he’s been in and out of the starting lineup. We’re gonna commit to Jack. He puts so much pressure on teams with his instinctive play off the ball, he’s a lefty, he’s a great shooter and he has great eyes with a great IQ. I’m happy for Sean too since there are a lot of eyes on him as Tyler Behring’s successor. He’s seen some good, he’s seen some bad, but we played a lot of zone in hopes of trying to get Sean hot,” said the head coach.
Fairfield looks to record back-to-back wins when they play #10/11 Yale on Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m.