“The hourglass has been turned upside down.”

That was the message of the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse coach, Andy Copeland, after the team’s 11-5 defeat at the hands of the 5th ranked Denver Pioneers over the weekend.

The team wraps up the regular season at .500 both in the ECAC conference (3-3) and overall with a 7-7 record.

“You have to put together a sixty minute effort.  You can’t have any of those lapses like we saw on Saturday,” Copelan said.

Fairfield led the Pioneers, who finished the year undefeated in the conference, by one goal midway through the third quarter.  Denver then lit up seven unanswered goals.

The Stags finish as the third seed in the inaugural ECAC tournament and will be matched against rival Loyola in the first round, a team that Fairfield lost by one goal to earlier in the season.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Copelan said.

In their last meeting, the Stags came up one punch short, as they gave up another lead late in the game and lost in overtime.  Copelan attributed their struggles against the Greyhounds to the face-off and offensive side.  Fairfield only won 7 out of the 17 face-offs in the last meeting, a troubling issue  the team has had to addresss.

“The more of a struggle it’s going to be when you don’t see the ball regularly, it’s tough to get into a rhythm.  It’s certainly been two points of emphasis and we’re hoping we can clean those up,” he said.

That loss came in early April, and the Stags have grown since then. According to Copelan, “part of that is the maturation process and part of that is young guys getting more experience.”

This tournament will give them more experience too.  Four teams travel to Denver with their season on the line, and Fairfield is looking for anything that can provide them with a spark.  Even if it’s a loss.  “Our guys should at least have some confidence that we can certainly run with a top 5 program in the country,” the coach added.

The loss against the Greyhounds was the 11th all-time against the Maryland team.  In fact, the Stags have only defeated Loyola once in their history, not being on the winning side since 2006.  But the team has put all those losses in the past.  They are entering a tournament that could make up for the many heartbreaking losses throughout the season.

With their season on the line, Copelan looks back at all the ups and downs, and knows that with two more wins, his team will be heading to the NCAA tournament.

“This year hasn’t been perfect.  There have certainly been ebbs and flows, but I’m proud of our guys just for the perseverance they’ve shown,” he said.

The sand is trickling, grain by grain, on the Stags’ season.  Their year has consisted of numerous games where they have just barely come up short, but the ECAC Committee could have helped the Stags.  Because in any tournament, it all comes down to is whichever team is playing the best over a short period of time. This is something that Coach Copelan realizes.

“Right now the hourglass has been turned upside down,” he said.  “And how quickly that sand pours out or how slowly that sand pours out is ultimately up to them.”



Another year, another heartbreak.

All season, the Fairfield University women’s lacrosse team has been a dominating force, consistently in the top class of the MAAC.  But when it mattered most, in the MAAC Championship game, they lost. Same as last year, same as two seasons before that.  In a four-year span, they have not lost a regular season conference game.  This year, it was a 13-8 defeat against Canisius.

“We were very disappointed,” coach Mike Waldvogel said.  “We focused on winning the regular season and winning the MAAC Championship. That’s our goal every year and we let ourselves down.”

Senior attack Katie MacKay said, “We were a little bit heartbroken.  We expected so much more out of ourselves, we’ve worked the whole year to get to that point and kind of just failed.”

And they did experience another promising year, which disappointingly came crashing down in the title match.

How does this unfortunate ending continuously happen to a team who has won 24 straight regular league games?

Is it the pressure for the top seed to win everything?

“All athletes who are great athletes revel in that.  We talked about that and we look forward to that,” Waldvogel said.

This isn’t a team who is going to run and hide from the big stage.  They held their own against nationally ranked teams all year, almost pulling off an upset against #9 Florida.

“I think they do [thrive off the pressure].  I think the young players feel it, I think they’re loose,” Waldvogel said.

Is it the absence of the best player in the program history?  After all, the way the team defied all expectations after Kristen Coleman, the leading scorer in the history of the program, went down with an injury before playing a game in 2011 should be a success in itself.

“I thought the character of the team after losing the best player who probably ever played at Fairfield at the beginning of the season, having a young team, I think our expectations to win it weren’t very high….we only had three seniors coming back,” said Waldvogel.

Maybe it’s just the game.  The way it is played, the rules themselves.

“I think the game has to be changed.  Just like basketball and men’s lacrosse changed,” he added. “They put a shot clock in basketball and [men’s] lacrosse has boundaries.  I think that’s needed unless people just want to be in that situation where they stall the last 25 minutes of the game.”

Whether it’s the pressure, the injuries, the youth, or the game, the Fairfield women’s lacrosse team is hurting from it.  They have built a program that could rival many of the top 25 teams in the nation. Nevertheless, they will not be able to get the national recognition they deserve until they win the big game.

“We’re in the range of 25 right now, and we want to be a top 10 program.  To do that we definitely have to win the MAAC Championship,” Waldvogel said.

So what is it?  It’s not the pressure, it’s not the loss of their best player, it’s not the youth.  If it’s the game, are they really going to change?  If they don’t, maybe next time the lacrosse team will suffer another year ending in a heartbreaker.

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