On Saturday, Feb. 29, over 1,000 Stags fans filled the stands of Rafferty Stadium to watch the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team (3-1) take down interstate rival Quinnipiac University (0-5) on Conway Field. Fairfield’s 19-15 lead was decided late in the fourth period of the riveting match-up, earning Fairfield their best four-game start since 2012.
The first period was not promising for the Stags, as they struggled to gain possession. Of all face off opportunities in the first 15 minutes, Quinnipiac went 9-1. The quarter concluded with Fairfield down a manageable three points, 7-4; however, they would have to show insistence to make plays happen and catch up.
“The biggest thing we need to work on as a team is our sense of urgency. Urgency from the first whistle, and urgency from everything we are doing… it’s an overall theme for us that we need to continue to get better at,” commented head coach Andrew Baxter.
The second frame seemingly sealed the Stags’ fate, as they would have no chance in claiming their third win of the season if they kept up at the rate they were going. They posted seven shots to match Quinnipiac, but just two made it past DiMuccio in net for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac doubled that number, with four goals reaching the back of the net, which increased the deficit, 11-6.
The Stags turned up the heat following the halftime break. “One of our keys was to play one minute, 60 times,” said Baxter. “We clearly didn’t do that in the first half, but I told the guys at halftime that the great thing is we still have an opportunity to play one minute, 30 times. That’s all we can control.” A fire was ignited when Jake Tymon ’20 took junior Frankie Labetti’s place at the face-off X. Although he only won six while Quinnipiac took 13, it gave Fairfield’s already tired defense valuable time to assess the situation and gain control over their adversaries. “My role was to take great angles and keep [George] in front of me so we could ride him back into their defensive end, create turnovers and get the ball to the offense,” said Tymon.
During the second half, the Stags took off, limiting Quinnipiac to four goals while amassing 13 to establish the upper hand. Two-time reigning Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week Bryce Ford’s equalizing goal with 14:14 left on the clock tied the score, at 13, for the first time all game. B. Ford struck again, and was instrumental in setting up Charlie Curran ’2, whose goal claimed the lead for Fairfield, 14-13 at 12:51. Curran was also responsible for the first goal of the half, and his contributions on attack were pivotal in changing the fate of the Stags that afternoon. The Bobcats held on fiercely, posting a point in response, but a pair of goals by Taylor Strough ‘21 kept them at a distance.
Fairfield would top off the fourth with three goals, clutching a 19-15 win. The Stags would return to the locker room victorious, after proving that grit and hard work has the capability to trump adversity.
Credited on the scoring front were 11 different Stags. Senior Dylan Beckwith, who leads the CAA in points scored, accumulated seven points (four goals and three assists) to add to his total of 23 this spring. B. Ford and Travis Ford ’20 each had two goals and two assists. The four-point game was a career high for B. Ford. Sophomore Patrick Drake had a goal and an assist, and Dean Ford ’23, Zane Friedt ’21 and Lucas Pederson ’21 scored their first goals as Stags. D. Ford also contributed an assist. Kyle Borda ’22 dished out his first point of the 2020 campaign, and Brian Reda ’22 had three assists, upping his season-sum to 13.
On the other end of the field, James Corasaniti ’22 stood strong in the cage. He made 14 total saves, six of which were in the fourth interval, and helped lock in the win for the red and white.
“We’ve been having that ‘next-play mentality,’ but we have to come in Monday with a willingness to get better,” said Baxter, in regard to hosting Long Island University Brooklyn (0-0) on Tuesday, March 3 under the lights at Rafferty.
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