This past Saturday, the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team faced off against the Towson University Tigers. The Stags were unable to pull out a win, falling to the Colonial Athletic Association’s top-seeded Tigers with a final score of 12-10. Towson is now 6-3 (2-0 CAA) on the season, and Fairfield is now 4-5 overall, with a 1-1 record in the conference. 

Additionally, the team was celebrating Senior Day, honoring the members of the class of 2024. Unfortunately, the Stags did not get to celebrate Senior Day in perfect weather. It poured throughout the day on Saturday and the gusts of wind were chilling. Still though, the message of the ceremony was not lost in the storm. 

After the game, senior captain Braden Lynch spoke on his experiences both over the last four years and his time as a senior. “It’s a brotherhood…everyone’s there for one another,” said Lynch. In addition, Lynch described the pre-game ceremony as “the culmination of four years of hard work”, so it was certainly a special feeling. 

Coach Andrew Baxter stated after the game that the seniors “have elevated this program tremendously,” said Baxter, noting that they have helped the team achieve a “higher standard of excellence.”

Interestingly, both Baxter and Lynch mentioned “leaving the team better than they found it.” Given that the class of 2024’s first season in spring 2021 ended with a 2-9 record, it really shows that the team has been able to improve thanks in no small part to the efforts of the seniors. 

Now onto the game itself. The match against Towson was a back and forth affair throughout the entire game. Just when one team seemed to pull ahead, the other would answer back immediately. 

Senior midfielder Luke Okupski got the Stags off to a hot start, scoring the first goal of the game just 19 seconds in. However, the Tigers would respond quickly, as just 40 seconds later Mikey Weisshaar got his first of three goals in the game. 

One thing to note is that the team was able to score its first man-down goal of the season. Instead of waiting for the penalty to end, sophomore Jake Gilbert noticed an opening in the Tiger’s defense and made them pay for it, notching the first of his four goals on the day. 

Unfortunately though, a defensive miscommunication left the goal wide open for another Tiger’s goal to close out the first quarter. Heading into the second, Towson led 4-3. 

Not wanting to be outdone, Gilbert took it upon himself to catch the Stags back up. Gilbert got two back to back goals just over two minutes into the second quarter. The Stags had just regained the lead in the blink of an eye. 

Still though, the Tigers would answer once again with another goal from Weisshaar. The back and forth scoring came back, with neither team willing to concede an inch. Going into the second half, the game was tied 8-8. 

For the second week in a row, junior Owen Hirsch came in relief of starting goalie Will Snyder for the second half. When asked about it, Coach Baxter said that this was by design, as they are “trying to figure out if we’re going to stick with two guys or if one guy is going to emerge.” 

One thing to note was that by the time the second half began, the conditions on the field were not great. The wings of the field were flooded, and for lack of a better term, it was a slip and slide out there. 

The third quarter was rather slow, perhaps due to the adverse weather conditions. Keegan Lynch got a nice pass from Bryce Ford to score two minutes into the half. However, this would be the Stags’ only goal of the third quarter. 

To give an idea of just how much water was on the field, on one possession, Towson shot the ball wide of the net. Instead of the ball rolling out of bounds, the shot actually stopped dead in its tracks and remained in play. 

However, the Tigers ended the third quarter on a very strong note, scoring three straight goals to take an 11-9 lead. 

Ford did manage to score a goal three minutes into the fourth quarter. However, the Tigers once again responded quickly, with Joaquin Villagomez scoring an unassisted goal a minute later (12-10). 

From here, it was a defensive battle, as Towson drained the clock during their possessions. Despite two man-up opportunities in the fourth, the Stags failed to score for the rest of the game. 

This was a tough loss for the Stags, but they have a good opportunity to bounce back at Drexel this weekend. Fairfield will face off against the Dragons on Saturday in Philadelphia at 1 pm. 

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