Before meeting the Red Storm of St. John’s, the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team was on a roll, winning three consecutive contests against the likes of Quinnipiac University, Binghamton University, and Providence College.
During that stretch, key players such as senior goaltender James Corasaniti and promising first-year hybrid attackman and midfielder Jack McKenna played major roles in leading the Stags to victory. Corasaniti made a total of fifty-nine saves in those outings, including an impressive twenty-three against Providence.
When asked about his stellar performance, he said focusing on keeping things smooth and keeping a strong mentality enabled him to be successful.
“I think from a fundamental standpoint with the goalie position, you can kind of break it down into just trying to see the ball and saving the ball,” the goaltender says. “We always try to just break it down as simple as it can be. Over the past couple of months I’ve been working on saving the ball low, stepping through, and stabbing the stick low in order to smooth the ball up. I think when it comes down to it, just being mentally prepared and focusing on making the next play and save is important.”
Corasaniti, a senior out of Fordham Preparatory School in New York, recognizes the importance of winning and achieving something special. One of the goals he and his teammates would like to achieve is winning the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title.
“I think this season is really important. Just all of us are chasing, winning,” he says. “We really want to win the CAA. We want to make a statement so that we can really stick out and just give Fairfield that recognition in the CAA. It’s a difficult conference, but we always have a chance to win and I think this year with this team, we really have something special and something that we can do.”
McKenna, a first year, is a promising player with high potential that should be a force to be reckoned with. The hometown product has twenty-nine goals already this season, including thirteen in that three-game stretch. When pressed about the transition to the Division I level, McKenna didn’t blink any eyes.
“It’s essentially been different but it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve met a lot of friends so far and the older guys have really helped me along the way, such as [redshirt sophomore] Bryce Ford and Patrick Drake [‘22], they’ve been a great help to me,” the first-year, do-it-all player says. “They have helped show me the ropes and have helped me realize that at the end of the day, you’re just playing lacrosse and you’ve played this your entire life, so you’re going to be just fine.”
Despite their success, the Stags faced off against the Red Storm of St. John’s on the evening of Tuesday, March 22, on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium. Although they put up a good fight, they fell a little short in a 17-14 defeat.
Both players, along with head coach Andrew Baxter, agreed that both the level of focus and a lack of attention to details played a role in the tough loss.
“I think they were a strong team. I think we went into it probably not as focused as we could’ve been, and I think we just needed to kind of dig in and focus on winning the game,” Corasaniti says. “I think we came out a little slow and they took advantage of that and I think we’re able to learn from that for our next game against Hofstra which will be big.”
“Speaking offensively, we talked about it today as an offensive group and as a team we have got to hit our details, which the coaches preach every day and just get back to what makes us Fairfield Lacrosse,” McKenna says. “We just need to do a better job finishing, creating shots, finishing shots, just doing all of those things. We learned a lot from that game and I’m hoping now we can go into the next game with a new mindset and use it as a reset.”
“Our takeaway from this one is that we need to be focused and adhere to our details,” head coach Andrew Baxter says. “Every opponent is going to be prepared and has talented players, and we need to put ourselves in a position to be successful every time we step on the field.”
Notwithstanding the brutal loss, the Stags are moving on to Hofstra, and have already begun preparing for their next opponent.
“So seeing how Hofstra plays, from a defensive standpoint, how their offense plays, we’re working on how we can possibly be a half step faster on defense and just be ready for what they’re going to throw at us so that we can minimize their offensive ability,” Corasaniti explains.
“Yeah, like coach said, offensively we’re going to kind of get back to the basics, kind of harp on those basics, and get better on those, and that’ll help us build on our complicated stuff,” McKenna says. “We need to recommit to those basics and get better as well as everything else.”
In addition to looking for ways to improve on the field, the strong team chemistry that the team has will be vital to keeping the overall team morale at a high level. The two players have credited teammates such as senior midfielder Kyle Borda for his at-times, suspect antics for their contributions to maintaining a family-like atmosphere.
“I think we’ve all been great. I think that things have been going well in terms of chemistry,” the senior goaltender says. “[Kyle] Borda has always got something to say and he’s been hilarious and has helped make the locker room a better place.”
“I think for me, especially being a freshman, those guys have really embraced us and helped us along, especially in the fall when gearing up for practices and everything,” the freshman attackman and midfielder explains. “And just with our entire transition, the upperclassmen have really helped all of us and it’s been a great locker room, a lot of fun. We’re all really good friends and it’s been good so far.”
Both players acknowledge that as the team continues through their season, they will have each other’s support in both the high and low moments. They recognize that there is a lot of lacrosse to be played and that they want to keep finding ways to improve. As they embark on the second half of the regular season, the Stags will look to continue the dominance shown from the first half.