Saturday, May 9 meant more to the community than just five hours of exhilarating lacrosse.
It was the day that Fairfield men’s and women’s lacrosse teams hosted Military Appreciation day at Rafferty Stadium, offering all those who presently serve or have previously served in the military free admission to the doubleheader. The Stags also sold limited edition Fairfield lacrosse clothing, giving the earnings to various military charities and organizations.
“It means more than just the generic Military Appreciation Day to us,” said women’s head coach Laura Field. “There are personal connections throughout our team and it means a lot to the team and our families. Although it is not quite comparable, we rely on [the] team and each other just like the military [does] everyday. It is a great parallel and it fuels us to play hard.”
This was the third consecutive year that both lacrosse teams have hosted the doubleheader event to honor the military veterans and those who are currently serving our country. As said by Field, this particular day is more than just another game to the people of the Fairfield lacrosse program.
“One of my best friends is an Army veteran, so playing for a cause like this is pretty special,” said Charlie Schneider ‘16 of the men’s team. “All the guys truly enjoyed playing on Saturday.”
It was a great scene to see over 1,800 fans pile into Rafferty for the benefit of those who have given so much for our country. It shows how much Fairfield athletics respects the time, effort and undying work that the people keeping our country safe put in each day.
On a secondary note, Saturday’s lacrosse games were scintillating. In the first game, the women’s team held off the Siena Saints in a back and forth contest, coming out on top with a 10-9 victory. Down 9-7 in the latter stages in the final period, Fairfield rattled off the final three goals to prevail. Without leading goal scorer Riley Hellstein ‘17 due to injury, the team showcased a collective effort in which six different players scored.
Alex Fehmel ‘17 was a leading contributor for the Stags, finding the back of the net three times in the win, including what would be the game winning goal with 5:35 to play in the second half.
“She’s [Hellstein] definitely a huge asset to our offense, but everybody else on the team can contribute as well,” said Fehmel. “We kept that in our minds during the game and a lot of players were able to make a difference.”
The Stags are currently 6-6 overall and 2-2 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. They look for their third straight win Wednesday, April 13 when they visit Monmouth.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the men’s squad made a remarkable second half comeback to best the Drexel Dragons 8-7. Trailing 5-2 at the break, the Stags came out of the locker room ready to install their new adjustments.
Schneider racked up four assists and TJ Neubauer ‘16 and Colin Burke ‘19 each scored two goals in the final period to give the Stags the offensive lift that they needed.
“Our better players really stepped up,” said men’s head coach Andy Copelan. “Charlie Schneider, TJ Neubauer and Colin Burke performed when we needed them most.”
Now 2-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, Fairfield stands at 6-6 overall with their next game this upcoming Saturday, April 16 when UMass comes to Fairfield.