Three conference championships in four years. Win the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. Those are just some of the aims of the women’s lacrosse team this coming season.

The Stags graduated just two players from last year’s championship-winning team that was a perfect 6-0 in the MAAC, and will return seven starters to this year’s lineup.

“We’re definitely looking to win the MAAC. This is the first year the champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament—that’s our main objective,” said first-year head coach Laura Brand. “With the [MAAC] tournament here at Fairfield again, our chances look pretty good.”

Despite the loss of Colleen Cunningham, the school’s all-time leading scorer and last season’s MAAC Player of the Year, Fairfield’s fast-paced and well-balanced attack is likely to dominate the conference again this year.

“We don’t really have any one go-to player. I couldn’t name them all,” Brand said. So many people have stepped up. I think goals are going to be spread out across the board. I don’t think there’s going to be any one person that really stands out.”

“We’re a fast team with a lot of seniors,” said senior attacker Lauren Uhr. “We work real well together.”

The Stags have a balanced lineup that includes six seniors, five juniors, seven sophomores and seven freshmen. Fairfield is led by co-captains Caitlin Perry and Calista Corley. The tandem started every game for the Stags last year and will anchor the defense again this season.

Twins Megan and Lauren Uhr are the Stags’ top returning scorers. Megan was fifth in the conference in scoring last year with 37 points, netting 25 goals and passing out 12 assists. Lauren wasn’t far behind, with 34 goals and 2 assists for 36 points.

Sophomore Kathleen Crane returns as the Stags starting goalkeeper. Crane was an All-MAAC Tournament team selection last year and finished fourth in the conference for both goals against average and save percentage, while compiling an 8-5 record overall.

Fairfield’s veteran core is complimented by the team’s freshmen class, who will be a big factor in the Stags’ championship equation.

“We have a good freshmen group. They’re going to get a lot of playing time,” Perry said. “Everyone on this team has potential. A lot of people are going to score for us.”

One freshman standout that will immediately break into the Stags’ starting lineup, according to Brand, is attacker Jess Golden

“Jess has really stepped up,” Brand said. She’s doing real well on attack.”

The freshman is surprised how well she’s been playing and is excited for the upcoming season. “I didn’t expect to be starting. I just hope to contribute any way I can,” Golden said. “There’s confidence in everyone. We play some tough teams, but we definitely have the potential to beat them.”

The Stags, who will be playing their final season on University Field’s turf, face top non-conference opponents such as Bucknell, Villanova, Boston College, Yale and UConn this season.

Next year Fairfield will play its home games on the yet to be built natural grass field where the track now lies, which could be an adjustment for the Stags who have become a “turf team,” according to Brand.

Brand, a former assistant coach at Rutgers and a former member of the Canadian National Team, inherits a talented Stags’ squad who open their season on Saturday at Holy Cross.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.