The Fairfield women’s lacrosse team kicked off their 2024 campaign on Saturday, Feb. 10, with a tilt against the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

Despite a thrilling back-and-forth battle, in the end, someone had to run away with the win. Even with their determined effort, the Stags lost in a heartbreaking 17-16.

The Stags got off the ground running quickly, as graduate student and hybrid attackman/midfielder Elizabeth Talluto scored the first goal just under two minutes into the contest. Holy Cross then scored three unanswered goals before the Stags found the back of the net with just 2:50 to go in the first quarter with Talluto finding fellow graduate student and midfielder Christine Fabrizi to make it a 3-2 margin. Holy Cross regained their two goal advantage before the end of the quarter to make the score 4-2.

A man-up opportunity gave the Crusaders a 5-2 lead just under a minute into the second quarter. The Stags soon started to fight their way back, as junior and attackman Brooke Marotti added her name to the scoresheet at the 12:46 mark to make it 5-3, before they won themselves a man-up opportunity. They took advantage of it by scoring again 37 seconds later with a shot from senior attackman Amanda Kozak to put the Stags down one.

Holy Cross soon regained their three-goal lead shortly thereafter on two man-up opportunities with goals at the 10:38 and 9:41 minute marks. The Herd once again dug themselves out of the rabbit’s hole with Talluto collecting her second tally of the contest with 8:39 remaining. Kozak took advantage of yet-another man-up opportunity with her second goal of the game at the 6:06 minute mark to once again bring the game within one goal.

After another Holy Cross goal brought the game to an 8-6 Crusader advantage, the Herd went right back to work. Talluto collected the first Stag hat trick of the season on another man-up challenge at the 2:28 minute mark to make the game 8-7, while junior and attackman Grace Slater helped set up Kozak in collecting the second Stag hat trick of the season just under 30 seconds later at the 1:59 mark to tie the game at eight apiece. Holy Cross responded with a goal of their own just before the conclusion of the half as they headed into the locker room with a 9-8 lead.

The first half of the third quarter was all Holy Cross, as they stormed out of the gates with four goals to give themselves their biggest lead of the day with five. Fairfield started to play with a little more urgency with junior and midfielder Haley Burns finding Slater at the 5:05 minute mark to make it 13-9 on her first goal of the campaign. Just under a minute later, graduate student attackman Libby Rowe became the sixth Stag to score to close the gap to three. At the 3:05 mark, Kozak scored her fourth goal of the game off a dish from Talluto to bring the Stags within two. Holy Cross scored once more as they headed into the fourth quarter up three.

The Crusaders scored once again to start things off as they saw themselves up four. Marotti scored her second goal of the game at the 12:29 mark, bringing the margin back down to three. Graduate student midfielder Maggie Fort became the seventh different Stag to score as she found the back of the net just under two minutes later with 10:55 to go to bring the Stags down to just two. 

A back-and-forth scoring contest soon followed, as Holy Cross scored at the 10:04 minute mark before Marotti became the third Stag to snag a hat trick at the 8:59 mark to make it a 16-14 game. Holy Cross scored for the last time just under a minute later at the 8:02 minute mark to once again make it a three-goal game. Given another man-up opportunity under a minute later, Rowe found Fort at the 7:39 minute mark to make it 17-15 before the battle fizzled out. No other bookkeeping was needed until Fabrizi found Rowe at the 1:41 minute mark to put Fairfield within striking distance on a man-up to make it 17-16.

Despite a disappointing result, the Stags returned to Fairfield eager to play on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium, where they will hold back-to-back games to kick off their home schedule. The University of Connecticut will visit the southwestern part of the state on Wednesday, Feb. 14, while the University of Albany will do the same on Saturday, Feb. 17. For more information on the Fairfield Stags women’s lacrosse team, please visit

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