With a little over two weeks until game day, the Fairfield University women’s lacrosse team is gearing up for their season opener on Saturday, March 6.
Last March, around the time of spring break, the women’s lacrosse team was traveling to Denver for a game before the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season began. Soon after they returned, things took a turn for the worse.
“Two days later, at practice that morning, our coach Laura [Field] got a call, and it was basically from the MAAC [saying] that we were completely shut down and everyone had to be sent home within the next two days” said Maggie Reynolds ‘21. “It was sad honestly. We had seniors that had prior commitments, that couldn’t do a fifth year. It was definitely sad because we really didn’t have any closing.”
The women went on to discuss the difficult change and lack of structure following the school’s shutdown.
“Going home and doing classes was weird enough and we really didn’t have any structure in our day. To add to it, working out on your own is hard enough and on top of that the gyms were shut down,” said Kelly Horning ‘21. “Not being able to work out with our team was hard and the only contact we really had with them was through Zoom.”
With that abrupt ending to their season, after only having played six games, the women were stripped of what they cared for most: the love of the game. Fast forward one year and things are looking up, even if competition may look a little bit different.
“Right now the MAAC has yet to determine if we can have fans. Honestly, they have yet to determine a lot of things, like if we have to wear masks or what happens if someone on our team or the other team gets COVID,” said Reynolds. “But, at the same time, we were just really happy we were able to play, and it does look like we’ll get a full season in, which is really nice.”
For senior captains Maggie Reynolds and Kelly Horning, this is one of harder realities to face as a result of COVID-19.
When asked if COVID-19 has affected their daily routines as athletes, the captains implied that things were rather similar to years past. Practice is everyday 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., with lift twice a week. “
The only thing that is really different is our lifts are shorter and also with less people. It’s weird because we’ll be in the lift room and it’s only 12 girls or so, when we’re used to having our entire team in there,” said Horning.
“It takes away that whole team camaraderie,” added Reynolds.
In times like these, it is much harder to bond and bring people together. That is one of the biggest struggles as captains that Reynolds and Horning must deal with. They constantly battle with how they could possibly try to bring everyone together when they can’t physically be together. The two stressed the difficulty of this and how important the team aspect was for them, especially as freshmen.
“We can’t do the team bonding things that we normally would,” said Reynolds. “I remember when I was a freshman and very homesick and the girls, especially the upperclassmen, made me feel so much better. You feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.”
Both athletes stressed the great importance of teamwork, bonding and how much the sport has given them, especially at Fairfield. Although this season will be different, both women feel extremely grateful that they will play and they will finish their college experience on the field.
You can catch the Stags as they open the season on their home turf of Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium against intrastate rivals, Quinnipiac University on Saturday, March 6. The first faceoff is slated to be at noon, and the game will be available for streaming on ESPN3 and ESPN+.
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