The men’s lacrosse season is right around the corner; there are only a few more weeks to get the final preparations out of the way for the first face-off on March 3.

However, before the season even starts, the Colonial Athletic Association has named their picks for the 2021 Preseason All-CAA Team. Among the chosen candidates, two of them happen to be fellow Stags: graduate student Dylan Beckwith and Taylor Strough ‘21.

Beckwith, a current graduate student at Fairfield University, has been looking forward to this upcoming season for a long time. “I am hopeful that everyone can stay healthy and safe,” Beckwith stated. “In order for us to have a season, we need everybody.”

Although he is excited about the honor of being selected to the Preseason All-CAA team for this year, he realizes that now is not the time to be seeking individual success. In times like this, unity is the most important factor for any team to find success.

Beckwith is no stranger to the league’s honors, though. Throughout his college career, he has racked up accolades like the 2017 CAA All-Rookie Team and the 2019 All-CAA Second Team.

Head coach Andrew Baxter, who began coaching at Fairfield in 2018, nominated Beckwith and Strough for this honor, and the other five CAA coaches came together to vote for these two players, recognizing both of their past successes.

“Both players were among our leading scorers for last season, and Taylor [Strough] just got nominated for captain as well,” Baxter said. “They both have contributed to the team significantly since their freshman year.”

After departing from Fairfield University, Beckwith plans to find a job in the marketing field, and is also seeking to play lacrosse at the next level.

His teammate, Strough, has also been selected to the 2021 Preseason All-CAA team. The New York native has been holding a lacrosse stick since first grade, so it is no surprise that he has perfected his craft.

Strough’s main goal is to get out on the field and prove to the CAA that the Stags are not to be taken lightly; although the season got cut short at the outbreak of the pandemic last year, that does not mean that they have not improved as a team. 

Our team has been getting better each and every day, and we are excited to get back out on the field and represent Fairfield University,” Strough said. Like Beckwith said, this is a team effort.

After his final year of undergraduate education, Strough plans on using his final years of eligibility and his future graduate education to continue playing lacrosse with the Stags.

The team’s ultimate goal this season is to win the conference championship, according to Beckwith. The expectations are high for the Stags, who, in past years, have been just short of taking it home. 

The National Collegiate Athletic Association title is clearly on the minds of many players here at Fairfield, but following Coach Baxter’s mindset, the CAA title comes first. The team is seeking to take each practice, game and playoff round in stride; that is, they are taking the season game-by-game and focusing only on the near future.

This year has obviously not been easy for the Stags, with pauses in practice, uncertainty about a season and the closing of the RecPlex, but things are beginning to look up. Even when times were tough, the team made the best of it by going to public parks and local fields to put in the work.

Fortunately, the men’s lacrosse team was able to begin training again on Feb. 3. For four hours a week, the team is running small-group sessions outdoors so that they can continue forming relationships with each other, as well as stay active. Coach Baxter hopes that when campus begins to reopen, restrictions will loosen and his players can begin to practice like normal.

On March 3, the Stags will open their season with an away game against the Providence College Friars, and they will take to Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium for their home opener on March 6, against the University of Delaware Blue Hens.

This Stags team is the true embodiment of mind, body and spirit, because through the dark times of this pandemic, the players are striving to create the best possible version of themselves and persevere through whatever challenge they are presented with. 

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