Dan Leitao/The Mirror

The Fairfield Men’s Rugby team not only faced extreme humidity during their last game on Fairfield’s Lt. Hans Grauert Field, but also the stiffest competition it’s seen in the early part of this season.

The Red Ruggers were narrowly defeated by the Marist Red Foxes by a 8-5 score this past Sunday in a game that was full of excitement.

Although Fairfield was able to score first thanks to a try by senior Anthony “Carlos” Raymond, Marist responded with multiple points in the second half and held on for the victory.

This loss comes after two games in which Fairfield dominated their opponents, including a 34-5 win against Hofstra and a 38-3 beat-down of Seton Hall. It was clear that this match-up against Marist was something the team had been looking forward to all season.

“This was the game our team had been waiting for, a chance to face a real competitor in regular season play,” said senior player and FUSA president Charlie Knights.

Despite the loss, first year coach Matt Barnett felt there was some positives to take away from the game.

“Although Marist was able to get the best of us, our team played well with different guys stepping up. Our players, especially the seniors who have set a great example for the younger guys, have shown a strong commitment to the program and I’m proud of that,” Barnett said.

Injuries and questionable refereeing also seemed to be factors in the final result of the contest.

“We played hard out there. Marist is the best team in our division and we will see them again for sure, with a different ref this team hopefully,” said senior Billy Connors.

Coach Barnett echoed the fact that Marist is a team that he and his team are eager to face again after what transpired this past Sunday.

“In terms of the refs, they can be bad or they can be good, its something you have to adapt to,” he said. “Marist is a team that we will hopefully see again in the playoffs.”

Moving forward, Fairfield has a three-game road trip coming up before they return home to face William Patterson on October 23rd.  Although the team is off to a 2-1 start and have shown they are a strong unit, there is still some room for improvement.

“We need to take better advantage of opportunities given to us during the games and need to work on becoming more technically sound for the weeks to come,” said senior Nick Hall.

As the season takes its course, hopefully the team will have learned from this loss.

And when those cold November days comes, they’ll be ready to bring the heat against whatever challenger they may face, perhaps the Red Foxes of Marist.

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