The 2018 Fairfield Men’s Lacrosse season officially kicked off this past Saturday, Feb. 10, and a lot of excitement swirled around the campus and the team for the season’s start. However, head coach Andy Copelan and the Stags did not perform like they expected to start the season, losing 12-5 to Vermont. The Stags never set the tone in the game which led to them being behind the entire game. Fairfield fought until the final horn Saturday afternoon which cannot be overlooked or forgotten.
Head coach Andy Copelan was the first one to give his team credit for the relentless effort against the Catamounts. “I hate starting the season 0-1. I’m proud of how the guys battled during the second half, but it’s frustrating on so many levels. This group has done everything we asked them to do. They’ve done everything right and they deserve better,” said the head coach.
Senior Joe Rodrigues is entering the season as a focal attacker for the Stags and he was also frustrated with the loss. “There’s a lot to learn from this game. I think we could have come out and played a little better and stronger,” said the attacker.
However, the 10th year head coach knows how to turn his team around after a game like this. “Losing is a part of college athletics but you just have to handle it the right way so we’re looking to put all of our focus on learning from this experience, responding the right way and turning the page come Monday,” said Copelan.
Aside from moving on from the opening day loss, coach Copelan is aware the team must make adjustments internally going forward. “I think the emphasis needs to be on fixing us right now and not focusing on who the next opponent is. Honestly, in this case we just need to fix us. But us at our best can be very dangerous which I really believe,” he said.
Rodrigues echoed Copelan’s point so he knows how to direct this team after this defeat. “We just have to worry about ourselves, not worrying about the other team. We just have to come out firing from the first whistle and play 60 minutes of good lacrosse instead of just one half,” said the senior.
Even though Rodrigues scored two goals in his season debut, he was not satisfied, as he wants his team to succeed. “I think the loss pretty much speaks for itself simply,” said the attackman.
Both teams had just about the same amount of shots as Fairfield finished with 33, and Vermont finished with 32. Fairfield and Vermont had the same amount of shots on goal as they finished with 21 for both so the opportunities were there for the Stags and Catamounts. Both teams had an existent offense on Saturday. The decisive factor was the goalkeeping play, since Vermont had seven more saves than Fairfield as Vermont finished with 16 while Fairfield finished with nine. The Catamounts pounced on that poor goalkeeping play which decided this matchup.
This game against Vermont at Rafferty Stadium was not what the Stags expected to start off the season. Coach Andy Copelan will have a chance to assess his team and turn his and his teams’ eyes toward the next game. Even though it was a disappointing loss, it is only the first contest of the young season and the team will have an opportunity to bounce back next Saturday, Feb. 17 when the Stags travel to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph’s.