Disappointment is one word that comes to men’s lacrosse head coach Ted Spencer after the team suffered its worst loss in his eight years at Fairfield – a loss that officially eliminated the Stags from earning an NCAA Tournament bid.

The Stags were ripped 14-4 by Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) foe Notre Dame last Saturday. The loss dropped Fairfield to 5-5 overall and 1-3 in the league.

“We just didn’t come to play,” Spencer said. “We played such a good game against Ohio State … I don’t know if we faced a let down or what. I’m very disappointed. It was maybe the worst performance since I’ve been here. I can’t explain it.”

Fairfield came into the game against the 19th-ranked Irish after narrowly losing to Ohio State, the top team in the GWLL and ranked 14th in the nation, 11-9 on April 13.

The Stags jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against the Buckeyes, and led 7-5 at halftime. Ohio State, however, took advantage of an extra-man opportunity late in the game to break a 9-9 tie.

A.J. Califano, ’04, led the Stags with three goals, while Matt Buecker, ’03, and Chris Manley, ’06, each added two goals.

Fairfield’s hopes of repeating as GWLL champs were crushed last weekend with the team’s lackluster performance in the Stags’ first game on Lessing Field. The team was able to re-open the field after it had been deemed not playable during the fall soccer season.

“It’s a fabulous facility,” Spencer said. “I will always remember the first game there … it was probably the worst game we’ve played here in a while. The field is great. The kids were really excited to play there.”

The Stags finish their season Saturday on Lessing Field against Denver. Spencer hopes the team can end the year positively by defeating Denver, a team that beat Ohio State last weekend.

Fairfield showed signs of improvement when the team won the GWLL Title last year after finishing second in the GWLL two years ago, the team’s first season playing the league. Spencer, however, said the Stags haven’t taken a step back this season, despite the team’s sub-.500 record in the conference this year.

“We’ve never beaten Brown and Harvard in the same year until this season,” Spencer said. “At the same time, we certainly haven’t played to our utmost potential this year. We have to sit down as a group and figure out why that is.”

Spencer said the team has faced many peaks and valleys over his eight years at Fairfield, and this season is one of those valleys.

“I don’t think we’ve taken a step back, I just think we haven’t played the best lacrosse that we could have,” Spencer said. “This has been a learning experience for me, but I’m very positive for the future.”

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