After being down three goals after the first half, the Stags knew they needed to change up their game if they wanted to get the win against Lehigh on March 3 at University Field.
Originally, the matchup was scheduled for March 2, but due to ongoing frigid temperatures and constant threats of inclement weather, the game was rescheduled to Monday. And although the temperature increased by about 10 degrees, the cold weather seemed to have forced the women’s lacrosse team to take a slow start in the first half of the game.
For the start of the game, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks dominated against the Stags in goal scoring. Although the Stags lead Lehigh in draws won and shots taken, Fairfield struggled to play defensively. Of the six shots Fairfield made, only one made it into the net while the Mountain Hawks were able to make five shots and put four into the goal, making the score 1-4. Fairfield’s captain, Melanie Raso ‘14, was the sole goal scorer for the team during the first half.
“I was disappointed with the way we started up today, I don’t know if it was the weather or the change. Every game has been a change whether it be where we are playing or injuries,” said Head Coach Mike Waldvogel. “But there’s really no excuse for the first half, we were flat and it showed.”
Last season, the women’s team defeated Lehigh 9-4. After struggling during the first half of the game, the team wanted to turn the game around and make their overall record against Lehigh, since 1998, even with six wins and six losses. And as the second half of the game began, it was clear that the mindset of the team had completely changed.
Starting the half off strong, Raso scored the first goal of the second half only six minutes into the game. Three minutes later, teammate Julieanne Mascera ‘16 put another point on the scoreboard, making the score of the game 3-4 only 10 minutes into the second half. As the game continued, Lehigh managed to make another and final goal, but Fairfield fired back with three more goals in the remainder of the second half. As Fairfield’s intensity picked up, so did Lehigh’s aggression. In the second half of the game, Lehigh received 22 fouls while Fairfield only received 1. That gave the Stags a big advantage. With three minutes left in the game, Fairfield’s defense kept the Stags ahead, making the final score of the game 7-5. The second half was a completely different game than the first.
“I thought our determination in the second half was great. We really came focused and started moving the ball because we had the potential to do that,” said Waldvogel. “In the second half, we were playing as a team with hustle and determination.”
Without the help of Raso, who scored four of the seven goals, a win would have been difficult.
“Mel did a great job out there, not only what she did scoring wise, but generating good looks for other teammates and that makes a big difference,” stated Waldvogel.
Looking forward, under the guidance of their captain, the team has set their standards high for the rest of the upcoming season. The team is looking to come together to play both halves strong, to win games and most importantly, to win the MAAC tournament. The Stags will use the next couple of out-of-league games to prepare themselves for the competition they will face in the MAAC.
On March 8 the team will host Vermont at University Field.