The Fairfield University Men’s Lacrosse team beat Hofstra University last Saturday in a very close game. The game was played at home on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium, with the Stags just barely beating the Pride 12-11. 

The Stags (4-4, 1-0 Coastal Athletic Association) have now won four out of their last five games. Hofstra (3-5, 0-1 CAA) has lost four straight games after starting the season 3-1. 

Fairfield was led by sophomore duo midfielder Will Consoli and attackman Jake Gilbert, with Consoli scoring four goals and Gilbert getting a hat trick and an assist. Graduate student and midfielder Dean Ford and first-year attackman Keegan Lynch also both notched a pair of goals in the victory. 

The Pride was led by graduate student and attackman Sam Lutfi who scored four goals, junior midfielder John Madsen who got a hat trick, and junior midfielder Griffin Turner who scored two goals of his own and added four assists as well. 

The game was a back-and-forth battle, with Lutfi opening the game up for Hofstra, scoring an unassisted goal just a minute into the game. However, the Stags would not take long to respond, as Ford and senior midfielder Reilly Sullivan would score the first two goals for Fairfield. Consoli would also score his first goal of the game with under ten seconds left to go in the first quarter. 

Fairfield would hold a 4-2 lead going into the second quarter. However, this lead would not last long. After a man-up goal from Gilbert, Hofstra would score three goals in a row to take a 6-5 lead. 

Thankfully, the Stags would take the lead back, with goals from Ford and Gilbert. Going into halftime, the Stags held onto a 7-6 lead. 

The third quarter was a much quieter affair than the first half had been, as only 3 goals were scored. Heading into the final 15 minutes of play, Fairfield held a two-goal lead (9-7). 

Following back-to-back goals from Consoli, Fairfield extended its lead to four. However, the Pride would not go down without a fight. 

Madsen kicked off a fourth-quarter surge with a man-up goal at the seven-minute mark. Hofstra would then quickly add 2 more goals, making the score 11-10 with six minutes to play. 

In just a minute of play, Hofstra scored three straight goals and now looked to tie the game up. The tension of the fans in attendance on the Fairfield side was palpable. 

On the very next possession, Lutfi had a shot bounce off the crossbar, hit the left post, and then bounce back out in front of the net. Madsen got the ball and went wide on a turnaround shot right in front of the net. All the Fairfield fans in the stands breathed a huge sigh of relief. 

Fairfield got possession back after a nice save from first-year goalie Owen Hirsch, who came in relief of sophomore Will Synder for the second half. Once the Stags had the ball, Lynch scored off a nice feed from senior midfielder Luke Okupski, making the score 12-10 with three and a half minutes remaining. 

This would not be the end of the Stag’s fears however, as Turner found the back of the net with a minute and a half left to play in the game. 

This would ultimately be the final score of the game (12-11), but the Stags very nearly lost a game that they should have dominated. Part of the reason was certainly due to the performance of Hofstra goalie Sean Henderson, who finished with 15 saves on the day. 

Another key to Hofstra’s fourth-quarter resurgence was that they dominated the faceoffs in the final minutes of play. Hofstra won seven out of the eight faceoffs in the fourth, which allowed them to continue their offensive push. 

However, when Hofstra gives the ball up 19 times and you get seven more ground balls than they do (33-26), the score should not have been as close as it was. 

The Stag’s offense has certainly improved since the beginning of the season, but it could definitely be better. 

The Stags will celebrate Senior Day prior to next week’s game against the Towson University Tigers, who currently sport the best record in the CAA at 5-3. The game will be played at home on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium at 1 pm this Saturday. 

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