Their second season starts now. That was the message that fourth year head coach Andy Copelan delivered in the locker room before Saturday’s ECAC league opener against Hobart.
“I think sometimes we don’t give young men enough credit. I think everybody in the locker room knew just how important that this game was,” Copelan said.
The Stags answered their coach’s call with a 17-12 victory over the Statesmen. It was the seventh straight season that Fairfield has won its opening ECAC league game.
“That was as complete of a performance we had all year,” Copelan said. “We’re happy to be 1-0 in conference [but] we certainly know we have a long way to go.”
The squad is coming off their most successful conference run in school history. For the first time ever the Stags reached the ECAC championship game before falling short to eventual national Final Four team Denver.
“The ECAC is without a doubt the number two maybe number three conference in the nation,” junior Sam Snow said.
The Washington native is currently third on the team in goals and is the reigning conference player of the week. “It’s because all the teams in there are very good teams and every time you can walk in and [outscore] the other team it’s a very good thing.”
The ECAC currently has three teams ranked in the top 20 in the nation with Fairfield checking in at number 15. And in such a tough division, it is important for the squad to know that every game counts.
“That’s college lacrosse now-a-days,” Coach Copelan said. “Everybody talks about parody and parody is here. You can beat anybody any day and you can lose to anybody any day. Every team on our schedule is really talented.”
Now Fairfield hopes to get over the hump in league play. This ‘second season’ is when the squad wants to be better than ever before. The Stags are currently 15th in the nation and supporting an 8-1 record, but they know that if they don’t play as a team this season can go from a success to a failure.
“We need to be a family,” Snow said. “We have a ton of great players on this team, this might be the most talented team that I’ve ever seen at Fairfield and it all comes down to how we come together. It’s just like what we say when we break the huddle, we got to be a family.”
And in order to accomplish that team chemistry it comes down to that old saying that practice makes perfect. As one of the nine seniors on the squad, Brent Adams knows how important that hard work is.
“[It’s about] coming in working hard every day,” he said. “The coaches are talking about how they are handling all the analytical stuff and all the mind stuff and all we have to do is bring the effort in everyday.”
This ‘second season’ also means a lot to head coach Andy Copelan as well. He has been here the last four years and has seen the program develop during his tenure. He feels extra passion this year because this ‘second season’ are the seniors’ last.
“It means a lot to me personally but it means more to me to do right by these seniors,” he said. “I have been with these seniors since the first day that I got to campus so I feel pretty connected to those guys. I just want to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to give those guys the senior season I think they deserve.”