The Fairfield University field hockey team had arguably their biggest road trip of the season so far this past weekend.
The Stags were in unfamiliar territory, traveling to the Midwest by taking on No. 24 Miami University of Ohio and No. 4 Louisville University this past Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Despite their efforts, the Stags lost in both contests, losing to Miami (Ohio) 2-1 and Louisville 5-0.
Through eight contests this season, the Stags have a 2-6 record while facing challenging opponents such as Villanova, Holy Cross, and the University of Albany to name a few.
Those who are leading the Stags this season include midfielder Augustina Casteluchi ‘25, attacker Julianna Kratz ‘23 and goaltender Payton Rahn ‘25.
Casteluchi is tied for the team lead in goals with Kratz, who each have two, while Rahn has made 38 saves with a goals against average of 1.95.
According to Rahn and Kratz, they are both excited about the opportunity to face some of the best field hockey programs in the country.
Particularly, Rahn shares excitement regarding the chance of playing against Louisville goaltender Sasha Elliott, a graduate transfer from Virginia Commonwealth University who has been one of the most respected players at her position in the country.
“Playing this weekend against one of my idols, Sasha Elliott from Louisville, is something that I am humbled and excited about playing against,” Rahn, the second-year goaltender from Orange, Conn., elaborates.
“The saying, ‘train until your idols become your rivals’ is something that I never would have expected to work out this way.
She is someone that I have watched closely over the past five years.
I can confidently say that she is one of the reasons why I decided to pursue playing college field hockey.”
Kratz, a senior out of Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pa., has experience playing against well-recognized programs such as Miami and Louisville.
She feels confident that with her past experiences, she, along with the rest of her teammates can handle the pressure of facing off against some of the most talented field hockey players in the nation.
Kratz “welcome[s] the challenge of facing these nationally ranked teams.”
“I think back to my freshman year when we set a record for most wins in a season [went 19-3 in 2019] and impressively won at least one game against an opponent from all ten field hockey conferences,” she elaborated.
“Coach Kane does not shy away from scheduling against strong competition and I feel that no matter the score, it will only help us improve individually and as a team, and further help to get us prepared for upcoming conference play.”
When asked what needs to be focused on when preparing for these opponents, both players believe that having trust in one another and paying attention to details is vital to having consistent success.
“You have to have trust.”
“At the end of the day everything boils down to trust and holding the rope for your teammates,” Rohn explains.
“I want to be able to look around our huddle and know that each and every one of these girls have my back and will play till the end for me and with me.
This is such a special bond that is necessary in order to succeed and we have begun to see it in our win against Lafayette.”
“There’s definitely been an adjustment period, with losing a lot of players while gaining new players,” Kratz says.
“So, it’s been a transition getting to know one another while becoming adjusted with each other’s strengths.
We need to focus on the little things, such as being in the right mindset and being able to play with confidence.”
“I feel like if we are able to do these things, we will be able to be successful,” Kratz added.
While the two players understand that the team is more important than themselves in order to win, they recognize that they need to keep doing their parts to the best of their abilities in order for the team to succeed. They noted that they are always finding ways to improve.
“I know that I will never be satisfied with how I perform and this makes me always on the lookout to improve,” Rahn explains.
“I watch my film, I talk with our goalie coach, Steve, and we go over every play to then figure out how to fix it. We constantly strive for excellence on and off the pitch and I will push myself to be the best version of myself that we can be.”
“So far this season I have been successful with scoring on corners; however I need to be able to score elsewhere as well,” Kratz says.
“I feel my strengths are my speed and the ability to see the field and anticipate. I need to continue to pass with my teammates and look to set them up for crosses and other scoring opportunities, and I also need to be able to finish on shots myself.”
For more information on the Fairfield Field Hockey Program, as well as Fairfield Athletics as a whole, visit www.fairfieldstags.com for news, updates and more information.