Fairfield’s women’s lacrosse team continues their undefeated streak against cross-town rival Sacred Heart University. Fairfield hosted the Pioneers on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium on March 19 in a game that would turn out to be a nailbiter. Although at times it appeared that the streak was in jeopardy, Fairfield prevailed with an 11-10 victory.
The game was close throughout, with neither team ever truly pulling away. There were four total lead changes in the game, which led to an exciting finish. Both teams competed hard throughout but in the end, the Stags stood tall.
The Stags were led by a great performance from Olivia Doody ‘23, who had two goals and two assists. Other contributors to the win included Elizabeth Talluto ‘23, who also added two goals, and Graduate Student Kelly Horning, who had a great performance on offense and defense with two goals, three draw controls, two ground balls and a caused turnover on the final possession of the game.
Statistically speaking, the Stags dominated in most categories. Outshooting the Pioneers 33-24 meant more offensive opportunities for the Stags, which led to their narrow victory. Along with this, they had five more ground balls than the Pioneers and more forced turnovers.
The game started off with a close first quarter leaving the Stags up 4-3. However, a slow second quarter followed in which they were out scored 3-1, leaving them at a one goal deficit going into half.
They then bounced back with strong third and fourth quarters. Two Stag goals were scored right out of halftime, giving them all of the momentum and the lead. Later came key goals from Horning and Doody plus four unanswered goals from the end of the third through the middle of the fourth quarters. The Pioneers then scored three unanswered goals to make it an 11-10 game with Fairfield leading with just 1:20 left on the clock.
The Pioneers won the draw and had a possession to tie the game up, putting the pressure on the Stags defense. However, the Stags had other plans. A shot wide of the net from the Pioneers led to a restart which was followed by a Pioneer’s turnover caused by Horning and a key ground ball from goalie Casey Collins ‘23, who had seven saves in the game. Once the Stags gained possession, they ran off the remaining clock securing their close victory against the Pioneers.
Overall, the Stags offense spread the ball around leading to their offensive success. They had eight different players managing to score. “Spreading the ball around makes us harder to scout and harder to stop,” head coach Laura Field said in the game’s official recap. “We need to be a little more cohesive as a unit, but overall, we did have a lot of spread both offensively and defensively today.”
Coach Field went on to say that the team “stood strong against a good Sacred Heart team,” continuing by stating, “[The Pioneers] have competed hard the last few times we’ve played including the fall, so we knew what to expect and I’m happy we were able to gut it out.” This game was the first one goal game for the Stags so far this season and their second win at home.
Looking forward, the Stags are beginning their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule on March 30 against Iona College (7-1) on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium at 3 p.m.
Iona is currently on a seven-game win streak after losing their first game by one goal. Their offense has been on fire as they have been averaging about sixteen goals per game during their winning streak. The Stags will then continue its conference schedule on April 2 at Marist College (2-6) at 1 p.m. Marist has been struggling so far this season, with only two wins. However, their game against Merrimack College on March 20 was a one-goal victory, and they are likely to be looking to build on that momentum.
The Stags have only played non conference teams so far and are currently at 5-3, with two of their losses being to top twenty-five teams. They are looking to put their best foot forward with their MAAC conference games coming up.