After a seemingly endless slew of cancelled practices and rescheduled games brought on by a 2020 full of uncertainty, the Fairfield University Stags finally took to their respective playing fields to finish what they started. Some teams came up just short of hoisting a championship trophy, and others were able to secure one. Here is what you might have missed in terms Fairfield’s sports teams (from fairfieldstags.com):
If you haven’t heard about the baseball team, have you been living under a rock!? The Stags made a glorious run into the regional round of the college baseball playoffs, where they faced off against powerhouse teams like the University of Texas and Arizona State. Although they could not nab the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship from Rider University, they set historic records throughout the entire season; their record-shattering 29 game win streak at the beginning of the season showed that the Stags were one of the best squads in the nation.
Men’s Basketball (10-17)
The men’s basketball team wrapped up their season by making it to the MAAC Championship game, falling short to Iona College who eventually lost in the first round of the March Madness tournament. The end of their season was nothing short of impressive, beating Manhattan College, Monmouth University and Saint Peter’s University to arrive at the final game. The team is undoubtedly eager to return to normalcy, as this past season was a flurry of COVID confusion.
Men’s Cross Country
Unfortunately, the men’s cross country team was unable to have an actual season, which would normally consist of meets against other schools. The MAAC settled for just one race that would decide the champion for the questionable season, where the Stags placed ninth out of ten participating schools.
The men’s golf program attended many different tournaments throughout their season, placing third of five teams in the MAAC spring kickoff tournament and placing third of six teams in the Hartford/Blackledge Invitational. In the back half of their regular season, the squad placed eighth of twelve teams in the Connecticut Cup. In the postseason, they ended up placing third in the MAAC championship where a total of eight teams competed.
Men’s Lacrosse (2-9)
Although the men’s lacrosse team battled hard all season, other Colonial Athletic Association teams were able to top the Stags. The lacrosse team were able to fend off Lafayette College and Sacred Heart University, but ended up falling to teams like Providence College and Hofstra University. Since the team will no longer be confined to strictly CAA play next season, the Stags will undoubtedly bounce back.
If I told you that the men’s rowing Varsity 4 boat placed 13th in the nation to end their season, would you be surprised? Probably not, considering they completely swept through the competition in their regular season. To top it all off, Fairfield’s novice four boat received the gold medal at the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta in early May.
Men’s Soccer (4-3-1)
Following a similar trend as some other sports programs, the men’s soccer team was pretty limited on games; they only had one stab at select MAAC matchups. The team ended with four wins, three losses and one tie to Rider University. The Stags ultimately lost to the Quinnipiac University Bobcats in the MAAC playoffs, capping off a solid season.
Men’s Swim and Dive (0-1)
To honor their seniors, the Fairfield University swimming and diving team hosted a “red vs. black” matchup, where the squad was split up into two teams. Facing off in the RecPlex Pool, the men’s and women’s black team combined for 120 points, beating out the red team who only posted 113 combined points.
Aside from that event, the men’s team fell to Iona College and then placed second out of seven teams in the MAAC invitational just over a week later.
Men’s Tennis (6-4)
With an overall record of 6-4, the men’s tennis team had some ups and downs, which fortunately landed them in the 2021 MAAC Championship. That record featured a “three-peat” of sweeps, where the team won 4-0, 7-0, and 7-0 in each match. Quinnipiac University was forced to withdraw from the first round of the MAAC championship due to COVID-19 protocol, which pushed the Stags to the championship match, where they fell to Monmouth University by a score of 2-4.
Women’s Basketball (11-5)
The women’s basketball team reached the MAAC semifinals, where they lost to Marist College by a final score of 66-50. Overall, the team posted a 11-5 record, which kept them near the top of the MAAC standings during the season. Alongside the men’s team, they played their last few games in the former Alumni Hall, which is under construction and is being converted into a brand new Convocation Center.
Women’s Cross Country
The women’s cross country team shared the same consequences of COVID-19 as the men’s team, where the only race during the season was the MAAC championship. The team came in seventh overall out of ten participating teams. With more time to prepare and grow as a team during regular season races, both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are due for a significant breakout in future seasons.
Field Hockey (5-2)
The field hockey team at Fairfield University showed out this season, with wins in decisive games against the University at Albany and Hofstra University. Although the team was unable to participate in the Northeast Conference championship (which only invited the top two teams in the conference), they were still able to end their season in style. A series of cancellations prevented a “senior day” matchup, which led coach Jackie Kane to schedule one more game in order to give the seniors the sendoff they deserved; that game was a 5-0 win over their cross-town rival Sacred Heart University.
The women’s golf team had a similar regular season as the men’s team, who placed in the middle of certain tournaments, like the Hartford Invitational and the Sacred Heart University Spring Invite. In the final round of the MAAC championship tournament, the women’s golf team ended in the middle of the pack, placing fourth of nine teams. Coach Holub, who runs both the men’s and women’s golf teams, is ready to bounce back even stronger in the 2021-22 season alongside his student-athletes.
Women’s Lacrosse (13-2)
The 13-2 breakdown helped them gain the momentum they needed to win the MAAC championship. With victories against Marist College, Niagara University and finally Siena College, our Stags boasted their MAAC championship trophy right on Conway Field. This is their third MAAC championship win in a row, not counting the cancelled 2020 spring season. Shortly after their 2021 run, they entered the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament where they lost to the fourth-seeded Boston College by a score of 19-6 in the first round.
An abbreviated season showed the Stags besting the Sacred Heart University Pioneers two times, and then competing in other events against Sacred Heart University, Manhattan College and Iona College, where their second Varsity 8 boat and their varsity four boat took home first place. The team placed fourth in the MAAC championship, being beaten out by Marist University, Jacksonville University and Stetson University.
Women’s Soccer (2-3-1)
Both the men’s and women’s soccer seasons looked similar in structure, with bouts against each MAAC team one time in the regular season. The women’s team won two games, lost three, and tied one; their game against Niagara University was postponed. The two teams last played each other in 2019, where the Stags won by a final score of 5-1. The team tallied one goal over Manhattan College on March 27 to secure the win on Senior Day.
The softball team saw an impressive regular season, sending Siena College home early in the opening rounds of the MAAC tournament. The team enjoyed a 22-14 record during their season, which came to an end after losing to Manhattan College and Canisius College in later rounds of the MAAC playoff. Rising seniors on the team like pitcher Katie Kudlacik are poised to take on a large leadership role within the team.
Women’s Swim and Dive (0-2)
The Stags were forced into a very abbreviated season with only two matches, the first of which came at the hands of Sacred Heart University, and the second which came from Iona College. The women’s swimming team ended in fourth place of the MAAC invitational out of the seven total teams that competed. The women’s swim and dive team also participated in the Red vs. Black match paired with the men’s team.
Women’s Tennis (5-8)
The women’s tennis team was able to secure some decisive wins throughout the season, but occasionally came up short against teams like Bryant University and the University of Connecticut. The team was able to make their way to the MAAC semifinals, where they were eliminated from the playoffs by Siena College. Throughout the semifinals, they were able to secure some match wins, with Anna Komer and Sophia Prinos taking home a doubles win and Scarlett Hutchinson getting a singles win.
Last but certainly not least, the volleyball team went 9-1 throughout their season. It is no secret that the team has been dominant over the last few years, especially with 3-time Setter of the Year Manuela Nicolini at the helm. Heartbreakingly , the Stags had to withdraw from the MAAC Championship due to a positive case within the program; it will be extremely exciting to watch them take the court next year after the unfortunate events that occured at the end of their 2020 season.
Some teams ended their season with a bang, and others went back to the drawing board in order to gear up for next year’s events. 2020 ended up being a strange year altogether, with the level of uncertainty being at its highest. No one could have predicted the events that transpired over the year, but the resilience of the Stags proved that they can overcome any challenge.