The Fairfield University women’s field hockey (now 18-2 overall, 6-0 NEC) team had an exciting weekend with two road wins, one of which was the Northeast Conference Championship. Yes, the lady Stags are heading to the NCAA tournament!
The weekend started for the Stags on Friday, Nov. 8 in Staten Island, NY, with a game against Sacred Heart University (5-15, 3-3 NEC). The team defeated SHU by a score of 2-1.
Although Fairfield outshot SHU 9-1 within the first three quarters of the game, the score remained 0-0 up until the fourth quarter.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Madison Hoskins ‘23 scored the first goal of the game for the Stags and her third goal of the season with the assist from Luzi Persiehl ‘22. However, Kelsy Hopkins of Sacred Heart was not going to let the game slip away from them that easily as she tied the game three minutes later at one.
Junior Zoe Rosen led the game defensively for the Stags in net with the help of Emily Halderson ‘20 and Kelly Buckley ‘21. Rosen made one save.
Offensively, Fairfield was led by Hoskins, Malen Iglesias ‘22 and Emma Matlach ‘21, who scored the winning goal for the Stags on a penalty shot, picking up a narrow one goal win 2-1. This would mean Fairfield would be playing in the NEC championship.
On Sunday, Nov. 10, Fairfield went up against Rider University (13-6) in the championship game. In a nail-biter match with each team registering eight shots, the teams both fought aggressively to send the game into a sudden death round.
With a scoreless first half, the game would accelerate in the third quarter when Julianna Kratz ‘23 scored her sixth goal of the season with the help of Buckley to give Fairfield a 1-0 lead.
Although Rosen played another astonishing game, her and the Stags’ defense were unable to keep Rider scoreless when Kaitlyn Flemming of Rider was able to find the back of the net to tie the game. Flemming’s goal would send the game into overtime, but it would not last long.
Two minutes and forty-one seconds into overtime, Hoskins was able to sneak the ball past Rider goalie Lena Vandam with the help of Persiehl to give Fairfield the winning goal and make them the champions of the NEC. The final score was 2-1 Fairfield.
The Stags are slated to battle American University (13-5), ranked no. 25 in the nation, at the 2019 NCAA Field Hockey Championship opening round on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. Whoever takes the win on Fairfield’s University Field will continue the postseason on Friday, Nov. 15 at the University of Connecticut.