In 2005, the Fairfield men’s lacrosse team made a significant decision, one that arguably altered the course of the program for good.
The Stags changed conferences, leaving their conference for one of the nation’s finest divisions, the Eastern Coastal Athletic Conference (ECAC).
The logic? Simply put, “To be the best, you have to beat the best.”
Two years later, the women’s field hockey team is now hoping to emulate that same successful transition, moving from the Northeast Conference (NEC) to the America East Conference.
The America East, arguably one of the most competitive divisions in the sport, boasts several national powerhouses, including nationally ranked Boston University and University of Albany.
Based on the past, the move may prove to be difficult from the outset.
Still, a late season surge last season saw the Stags win four of their final five games. Head Coach Jackie Kane and her team hopefully to build upon last season’s late success.
A vital component to some of the late season boon was the play of a talented junior class, most notably goaltender Liz Thomas ’08. Aside from a tremendous 2.26 goals against average, Thomas’s play in net sparked four consecutive conference victories to close out the 2006 campaign.
In the team’s consecutive NEC wins, Thomas and fellow goalie Lauren Callahan ’08 allowed a mere five goals in only four games.
Another player vital to the team this season is senior captain Chelsea Hicks. While listed as a forward, Hicks has played in nearly every position on the field throughout her Fairfield career.
Hicks, though, is far from the only offensive threat at the forward position.
A strong junior duo in Emily Janis and Brittany Bates, both of whom had personal bests in scoring for the Stags last season, provide depth at arguably the most important position on the field.
Janis led the team in scoring last season with 12 points, including six assists.
To support a veteran team, the Stags also boast an experienced head coach in Kane.
Entering her 17th year at the helm, Kane has led the Stags to much of its success, including four straight appearances in the Patriot League playoffs from 1998 to 2001.
In fact, Kane coached her team to a championship appearance in 2004, their first season as part of the NEC.
As for the 2007 Stags, they are undoubtedly hoping for more of the same after in their latest move.