Having not lost a conference game in two years, the women’s lacrosse team is poised to repeat as MAAC champions this weekend.
The Stags finished for the second year in a row with a perfect 6-0 regular season league record and will face fourth-seeded Marist in the first game of the four-team conference tournament on Friday, which will be held on Fairfield’s University Field.
“We played a pretty good game against them [Marist] the last time,” said head coach Laura Brand. “Hopefully we will come out and play as well on Friday.”
The Stags defeated the Red Foxes 15-7 two weeks ago, in the midst the team’s eight game winning streak. The streak, however, was halted last Wednesday when Fairfield fell in overtime to nationally ranked Connecticut 12-10.
Second-seeded Lemoyne will face Manhattan in the tournament’s other semifinal game. Lemoyne finished with a 5-1 MAAC record this year, with the team’s lone defeat coming against the Stags 9-8 on April 14.
“Hopefully we can beat Marist,” Brand said. “Then a match-up against Lemoyne in the finals would be perfect.”
Fairfield’s one-goal victory over Lemoyne earlier this year was the Stags narrowest margin of victory against a MAAC opponent. The Stags outscored conference opponents by a total of 92-32 in the team’s six league games.
Fairfield has been led offensively this year by Lauren Uhr. The senior midfielder leads the Stags with 46 points, netting 39 goals and passing out seven assists. Defensively, freshman goalie Monica Janowitz has taken over as the Stags’ top netminder and has emerged as one of the team’s top defenders, according to Brand.
“She [Janowitz] has been doing really well. You would never guess that she’s a freshman,” Brand said. “She is one of our top defenders and will probably be the favorite to be named MAAC goalie of the year.”
Janowitz hasn’t let her rookie collegiate season get to her on the field.
“There’s some pressure being a freshman, especially being the goalie and knowing I need to step it up,” Janowitz said. “I think about it a little before the game, but once I get in there I don’t think about it, I just do it.”
Fairfield’s game against Marist is scheduled for 2 p.m on Friday, with the title game slated for noon on Saturday, with the MAAC champion for the first time receiving an automatic NCAA Tournament berth
“We went undefeated in the MAAC during the regular-season, we have a lot of confidence,” Janowitz said. “I think we’re going to come out and play well this weekend.”
Last year’s MAAC Tournament finalist, Niagara, didn’t make the tournament this year after finishing in a three-way tie for third place. Instead of using a tie break system, the MAAC implemented a random drawing for the final two tournament spots.
The Stags defeated the Purple Eagles 8-5 in double-overtime for last year’s championship, and look to reign as the league’s best team again this year.
“We have the ability to beat all of the teams in the tournament,” said Caitlin Perry. “We should win, no problem.”