The Fairfield field hockey team lost their second consecutive game on Saturday after a valiant fight against the University at Albany, SUNY. The Great Danes were able to edge past the Stags 2-1.
“I think we worked really hard [and] tried to keep focus on the positives,” said Head Coach Jackie Kane. “[We] didn’t give up. [We] played every minute of the game. I think our strengths outweighed our weaknesses.”
After Anna Bottino scored for the Great Danes just about two minutes into the game, Fairfield regrouped to play a defensive first half with bursts of momentum. The Stags had just two shots on goal the entire first half.
The second half started out strong for Fairfield, playing the majority of the first 15 minutes on the offensive. Just past 14 minutes into the half, Kaitlyn Taddeo ‘16 was able to rebound a shot from Ann Burgoyne ’17 and put Fairfield on the scoreboard.
Sophomore Maclaine Matties, Valerie Buurma ’15 and Felicitas Heinen ’15 played strong defense for Fairfield as Albany gained momentum in the latter part of the second half. Buurma recorded a defensive save for the Stags.
Bottino was able to push a second goal past Fairfield’s goalkeeper Caitlin Bennett ‘17 in the last 10 minutes to secure the lead for the Great Danes.
Despite a tough loss, Fairfield played relatively well against Albany, who is ranked eleventh nationally. Bennett recorded seven saves against the Great Danes and the team had a collective seven shots on goal.
“I think our overall desire and commitment to each other to play as a team [worked well]. I think Emily McCauley ‘16 did a great job marking out their best player and we neutralized her, which was awesome,” Kane said.
Paula Heuser, Albany’s top scorer with 19 goals so far this season, was limited to two shots on goal as McCauley continuously shut her out of the game. McCauley knew she had a tough job in defending Albany’s best, but stuck to the basics and kept composed to neutralize Heuser.
“She’s a great player. She’s gotten a lot of accolades in our conference so it’s always intimidating going into that,” McCauley said. “You think about it, you’re playing against a top competitor. You just think about marking your man, which you’ve always been taught.”
The Stags knew going into the game that it would be a tough one. The last game played against Albany in 2013 resulted in a resounding 6-1 loss. So, on Saturday, Fairfield came into the game prepared to go down swinging.
“We knew from the beginning that they were really good so we tried to put everything in it and I think it was just a team effort. We knew it was something we could only do as a team and I think we really came together and worked hard,” said Heinen.
The possibility of playing Albany in the America East Conference Tournament brings hope that the Stags could finally outplay Albany and secure their first victory against the team.
“I think we had chances that we could have put in and we gave them chances that we shouldn’t have so I think we were pretty equal and right there and next time, it’ll be a good game, if we meet again,” Heinen said.
Before they can have their rematch, the Stags must play the final two games of their season. They’ll host Vermont for their final home game on Oct. 24 and travel to Lowell, Mass. on Oct. 31 to close out the season.
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