The Fairfield University field hockey team has maintained an undefeated 4-0 record on University Field, contributing to an outstanding overall record of 7-1. This weekend they went 2-0, defending Stag Country by holding off a pair of fierce competitors.
On Friday, Sept. 20 the Stags returned home to face Columbia University (3-2) following a successful three-game stint in Missouri. Fairfield has had a longstanding difficult history with Columbia, as they have only managed two wins in the last ten matchups.
This time, they felt the pressure of keeping the hot streak alive, and battled hard to secure a 1-0 win. Columbia was an offensive force in the first 15 minutes of play, reminding Fairfield that they would not be easily defeated. Columbia wracked up three shots in the first quarter and one in the second while conversely, Fairfield registered one in the first and three in the second. The game was at a stalemate at the halftime mark, forcing the Stags to regroup for a more impactful second half.
The pace picked up a minute and a half into the third quarter when Fairfield’s Danielle Profita ‘21 took her chances against Columbia goaltender Alexa Conomikes but couldn’t get past her. Conomikes played a formidable third quarter, adapting to Fairfield’s offensive pressure. She faced and saved two shots, holding off the home team going into the final period of play.
Sophomore Luzi Persiehl was relentless, tallying two shots. One was blocked while the other was stopped at the goal. With 55:42 on the clock, Mackenzie Boyle ‘22 drew a penalty corner affording Fairfield possession.
Fairfield’s narrow one-goal win was made possible when rookie Page Lowry scored the only goal of the game, assisted by Faith Spaziano ‘22. Lowry’s goal was her fourth of the season, and third in the past four games. She broke the deadlock off of a rebound and forced Columbia to pull their goalie in a last-ditch effort to make up the single point deficit, but the time went stale and Fairfield prevailed.
The battle was won, but the weekend war had just begun. The Stags had no time to celebrate their win as they geared up for their afternoon match against Providence College (4-3) just two days after on Sun., September 22.
The group exuded the type of swagger exclusive to one high off of six consecutive wins, yet they still played with humility and determination. Fairfield fought exhaustion and the blistering heat to keep up with the Friars, who established a lead six minutes and 48 seconds into the game. Providence’s goal came after a reset when they drew a penalty corner. Their lead didn’t outlast the quarter when Profita gained possession of the ball. She fired a one-timer past Lydia Rice in the cage for Providence, evening out the score.
Head coach Jackie Kane praised Profita’s effort and credited the goal as a momentum changer. She said, “We weren’t playing as strong as we could the first quarter and then Dani got that goal and charged us up going into the second and third quarter.”
In the third, Emma Matlach ‘21 capitalized off of a penalty stroke opportunity, scoring her first goal of the season. Rice got a piece of it, but failed to protect the net and the ball went in which upped the score to 2-1 in favor of the Stags.
“We had a hard time outletting in the first quarter or two but then we picked it up. I think their composure was really high and they had great individual skills,” commented Matlach succeeding her game winning goal.
The remainder of the game consisted of Fairfield tirelessly protecting their lead, and that they did. Their seventh consecutive win matched their program high, set just last season.
The Stags are slated to face Northeastern University (4-2) for the first time in almost 17 years on Friday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m on University Field.
Coach Kane anticipates that Friday’s game will present unexpected challenges. “Northeastern is very strong, they’re ranked. It’s a new conference for us that we haven’t played this year, the Colonial Athletic [Association].”
Fairfield has two days of rest to strategize. Coach Kane said, “We are going to be doing a lot of homework with film, working on our consistency, our composure, and our confidence moving into that game. I’m glad it’s home, we play better at home.”
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