On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team held their home opener against rival Sacred Heart University. The Stags showed a dominant performance, putting up 17 goals and only allowing five to the Pioneers.
The game started off slowly with the score being just 1-0 at the end of the first quarter. Things heated up, however, in the second quarter as the Stags netted six past Pioneers goalie Alex Pazienza who would end the day with 15 saves.
Going into half, the Stags were up 7-2 and continued their dominance in the third and fourth quarter putting up five goals in each and only allowing three. According to the game’s official recap, this was the largest margin of victory and the fewest goals allowed by a Fairfield team since their 18-5 victory at New Jersey Technical Institute back in March of 2019. This was also the largest margin of victory for Fairfield on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium since its opening in 2015.
Stags head coach Andrew Baxter, who extended his undefeated record against Sacred Heart, stated in the game’s recap that “I wouldn’t call it a complete game, but it’s certainly as close as we’ve come to that so far. We learned a lot from our first two games, and it was a good step to see our guys implement what we’ve been working on out on the field tonight.”
Fairfield had ten different goal scorers Wednesday night. They were led by midfielder Will Consoli ‘26, who got four past Pazienza and had an assist for a five point day and the best of his young career as a Stag. Following Consoli was Jack McKenna ‘25, who added to his already impressive numbers on the season with a hat-trick and two assists with Bryce Ford ‘24 also having a five point day with two goals and three assists.
The other goal scorers consisted of Max Paparozzi ‘23, with two goals and an assist. Jake Coleman ‘24, Kevin Dolan ‘26, Rob Moore ‘25 and Reilly Sullivan ‘24 all scored one goal and added an assist. Jake Gilbert ‘26 and Cam Barisano ‘24 each also had one goal to finish out the Fairfield goal scorers. Dolan, Sullivan and Barisano’s goals were all the first of their Fairfield careers.
Freshman goalie Will Snyder made nine saves in the Stags win. The Stags were also helped by their riding effort, forcing nine Pioneer failed clears and their starting defense trio of Matt Rice ‘25, Zack Antoniou ‘25 and Eli Adams ‘26, who helped Fairfield force 20 Sacred Heart turnovers on the day. Dylan Smith ‘25 also dominated at the faceoff X, winning 16 of 22 draws and adding eight ground balls.
This was the Stags second win and moved their record up to 2-1. Fairfield more than doubled Sacred Hearts shots with 47 compared to 23. Fairfield also dominated on the ground game, with the Stags having 38 ground balls to Sacred Heart’s 22.
The Stags then followed up their strong home win with a loss in Richmond against University of Richmond on Sunday, Feb. 26 to even their record at 2-2. In a very tightly contested battle throughout, the most glaring shortcoming for the Stags was them getting outshot 39 to 26, which led to the final 10-8 score.
Richmond has started out their season hot, going 3-1 through their first four games with their only loss coming at the hands of last season’s national champion University of Maryland. Richmond received votes this week in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Associaion’s coaches poll to be ranked in the top 20 in the nation.
Ford followed up his strong performance against the Pioneers with another five-point game, including a hat trick of goals. McKenna and Paparozzi each netted two, with McKenna earning an assist as well. Consoli rounded out the Stags scoring with a goal of his own, tallying seven in his freshman season so far.
The goalies on each side were the story of this game, with each having stellar days in net. Snyder totaled 11 saves with seven coming in the second half, giving the Stags a chance in the contest. Richmond goalie Jared Vigue also had eight saves, including a clutch stop at his doorstep with just 2:23 left in the game and a 9-8 Richmond lead. Fairfield did not have a possession after his stop.
Neither team could pull away throughout the contest, with the largest lead being two at any given point in the game. Fairfield took the lead in the second quarter, only to be stopped by a three-goal run from Richmond, leading to the score being 7-5 at the break.
In the third, not much changed as each team exchanged goals with Fairfield closing the gap to an 8-7 game. In the fourth, McKenna put in his second of the match to tie it up. However, just two and a half minutes later, Richmond took the lead for the final time and did not give it back.
Fairfield is set to travel to Providence College on Saturday, March 4 to play the Friars and then head home for back-to-back games in Rafferty Stadium on March 7 and 11.