The Fairfield University Women’s lacrosse team hosted Monmouth University on April 13 at Rafferty Stadium, where the Stags faced a strong Hawks squad that currently sits second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The game did not start in favor of the Stags though, as the Hawks opened the scoring with a rapid pair of goals in the early part of the first quarter. Fairfield was unphased, as they would go on a 6-2 run to end the quarter, taking control of the game and feeling confident with a 6-4 lead.
Even with an advantage, the Stags did not feel comfortable, as the Hawks are a team that can score in bunches; that is exactly what they did. Monmouth started the quarter with four goals with no answer from the Stags, giving the Hawks a two-point lead and the Stags a little rattled at home.
Maggie Fort ‘23 and graduate student Kelly Horning each found the back of the net to tie the game at eight a piece, but the Hawks would simply not stop putting points on the board. Monmouth ended up finishing the quarter with another 3-0 scoring run, which resulted in the Stags trailing 11-8 heading into the break.
Monmouth started the third quarter just like they had ended the second, netting the first five goals of the period, taking a 16-8 lead, which put the Stags in a tough place for a comeback. The Stags would trail throughout the rest of the game around an average of five goals, never truly close enough to spark a real comeback.
The Stags did indeed bring the game within three goals in the fourth quarter, but that was the closest the Stags would get to Monmouth, as the Hawks added two goals for safety in the dying embers to keep the game out of reach from a Stag late-game run.
The final score concluded in favor of Monmouth, 21-16, in a very high-scoring affair. Horning led the Stags in both points and goals, netting five and assisting on two. Rylee Harrell ‘24 finished just behind Horning in goals, scoring four of her own.
After a tough loss to the Hawks, the Stags were given the opportunity to bounce back with an away win against the Niagara Purple Eagles on April 16, but ultimately failed in an overtime loss.
The contest was neck and neck throughout, yet Fairfield would never take a hold of the lead. constantly trailing during the game. A late Horning goal in the dying embers of the fourth quarter sent the game to overtime at 10-10, where the Stags were desperately looking for a victory.
Unfortunately, a Purple Eagle’s goal in the extra period sent the Stags back to Fairfield with their third consecutive loss in a row. With the MAAC tournament quickly approaching at the end of this month, it is definitely not an ideal time for any team to go cold, but Coach Fields and her team will have two more chances to get back into their groove.
Fields has led the Stags to a MAAC Championship title the last four seasons and is revved up to get her fifth in a row. For Fields though, it is not about the hardware; it is about building solid relationships with her players and a winning program with a winning mentality.
Women’s lacrosse will be back in the mix on April 20, where they will host the Manhattan Jaspers at 3 p.m. Make sure to check the game out on ESPN+ or ESPN3 and show your support.