The Fairfield University field hockey team lengthened their win streak to five following a dramatic pair of weekend games, both decided in overtime.
The Stags kicked off competition on Friday, Oct. 18 in a Northeast Conference matchup on their own University Field in Fairfield, Conn. against Rider University (9-4, 3-1 NEC). They narrowly upended the Broncs, 2-1 after 66 minutes and six seconds of play. Next, on Sunday, Oct. 20, they travelled to Conshohocken, PA where they picked up another 2-1 overtime win against Villanova University (6-1) in a non-conference game. Fairfield improved their overall record to 12-2, 3-0 NEC.
Fairfield out-shot Rider 14-2, nine of which were on target. The first quarter was quiet from both ends, where not a single scoring attempt was recorded. The second 15-minute period was where Fairfield applied some pressure to Rider. Despite two shots made by Males Iglesias ‘22, the first half came to a scoreless close. Just six minutes and 46 seconds after halftime, Rider capitalized on a penalty corner drawn just a minute earlier, and just like that they held the first lead of the afternoon.
The Stags were thirsty for a victory, and their offensive surge made that clear in the fourth quarter, where they tallied four shots while disallowing Rider an opportunity to make any scoring efforts.
Rookie attacker Julianna Kratz fired a rocket to the upper corner of Rider’s net with 40 seconds of regulation time. Her relentless efforts are the reason why she is one of the team’s top scorers, as she has chalked up a season total of 16 points (five goals, six assists). The play that kept Fairfield alive was set up by Danielle Profita ‘21 (six goals, six assists to the season), whose backhanded pass was redirected by Kratz. Her equalizer sent the match into extra time.
Finally, Emma Matlach ‘21 finished off the game with a goal assisted by Luzi Persiehl ‘22, building up the Stags morale as they continued their weekend stint of competition
Rider goalkeeper Lena Vandam managed to record seven total saves to Friday’s game, however Fairfield’s Zoe Rosen ‘21 was protected by the redshirts’ defensive forces and didn’t need to make a single save.
Two days later, Fairfield took on Big East competitors at Villanova University. The contest yielded the same results as the one prior, and Fairfield amassed their fourth triumph of the 2019 campaign in overtime, contributing to a 4-0 overtime performance.
Matlach was on fire, accounting five shots. One made it past Villanova’s defense and to the net early in the game at 13 minutes and five seconds. The point was made possible when Kratz took possession of the ball and dished it out to the forward. Unlike their previous performance, the Stags promptly established a dominant tempo, which put them in a more comfortable position to win. Unfortunately, the Wildcats pulled a move similar to Fairfield’s on Friday when they made it to the scoreboard late in the fourth (54:29). Neither team managed to secure another lead but Persiehl ended the game, securing her third winning-goal of the season. She played a part in all four overtime wins, and continues to be the lucky charm for the Stags when they need it most.
Fairfield’s win over Villanova marked coach Jackie Kane’s 200th career victory over her incredible 25-year career here at Fairfield. Additionally, this is Kane’s seventh season with 10 or more wins, which is a testament to her enduring success.
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