The Fairfield University women’s lacrosse team dropped their second game of the season as they fell to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 12-8 on Saturday. The defeat puts the Stags’ record to 4-2 on the year.
“[It’s] very disappointing in the sense that we caused our own problems out there,” said third-year head coach Mike Waldvogel. The Stags struggled on offense, being limited to a season low eight points and amassing 24 turnovers.
“We just don’t have the ball enough. Right now we have the ball, clear the ball and turn it over,” Coach Waldvogel said.
The inability to keep the ball and transfer those possessions to points is a stark turnaround for a team that just last year was rated eighth in the nation. However, the team itself is a stark turnaround from a season ago. They graduated one of the most successful senior classes in program history last year, and are now also forced to deal with the injury to captain Kristen Coleman ’11 that will end her season before it even had a chance to start. Coleman is the all-time leader for the Stags in both points and goals and was ironically named preseason Player of the Year.
But the Stags are trying to pick up the pieces after losing 55 percent of last season’s offense due to graduation and injury. “It does [affect the offense] but by this time of year we get used to that,” Waldvogel said. With the exception of the Saturday contest, the offense has had the same spark that it held in 2010, averaging 14.2 goals per game.
“Right now we’re going in the right direction, I just think we have to limit our unforced turnovers,” Waldvogel said. In Saturday’s game, the Stags were facing a squad who currently ranks sixth in the nation in caused turnovers and 29th in overall defense.
With the injury to their senior star Kristen Coleman, Fairfield is going to have to rely on their young star. Sophmore Chloe Mangan was named the 2010 MAAC Rookie of the Year and was selected to the All-MAAC First Team.
“Our offense is still strong and we need to keep coming together like that,” Mangan said.
Despite being ranked 21st in the nation last week, this team is dealing with a lot of transitions. They are looking to fill the void of graduating seniors and the, now injured, best player in Fairfield history – yet they still have not missed a beat. They nearly upset #10 James Madison a week ago, and are still by far the most talented team in the MAAC.
A preseason loss could even help this team improve their game, as Mangan explained.
“After you lose, you always dwell on what you did wrong, but it’s a step you need to take after that,” Mangan said. “It’s back to the fundamentals, catching and throwing, protecting our stick, and getting those ground balls.”
So far, this team has jumped over all the obstacles in its way. A big factor helping the team is the chemistry that allows the team to bond both on and off the field.
“I’ve never been on a more connected team…[a] more united [team],” Mangan said. “We need to trust each other. We do. But we need to have a little more.”
With the team facing the challenges of replacing stars, their goal remains the same despite a loss before the conference slate. “We’re so good and we just fell apart,” Mangan said.
The 2010 MAAC Runners up will try to improve after the disappointing upset to Marist in the Championship. Chloe Mangan said, “This is the best team at Fairfield so far. We just have to win… really, that’s our biggest goal.”
“To beat some of those top teams that we’re going to be playing and really prove ourselves not only in the MAAC but in the lacrosse world,” she said. “We’ve come very far and we just need to drive it home.”