Ending the weekend with two powerful wins, the women’s lacrosse team may have finally found its niche. The Stags dominated both Canisius [13-9] and Niagara [20-8] on Friday and Sunday.

The two wins put Fairfield at 7-8 overall in the season and 4-1 in the MAAC. The 4-1 record puts the Stags in a tie for second place with Marist in MAAC standings, behind conference leader LeMoyne.

Despite the less-than-desirable conditions, the Stags played two solid games heading into their last weekend of regular-season play. The real attribute to be credited is the turn around in Fairfield’s offense, which seems to have finally connected.

“In the last couple minutes of the Holy Cross game we just started on this turning point and we’ve been advancing ever since,” said sophomore Kylee Martin.

Head Coach Stacey McCue agreed, saying that everything has just gotten a lot sharper.

“It is a confidence thing, we’ve known we’ve had the talent and the potential,” she said. “We’ve been concentrating on becoming finishers. In general they have really shown that they are mentally tough and can buckle down.”

Fairfield got off to a slow start at the beginning of the season, playing tough out-of-conference competitors. But coming into the MAAC, Fairfield is marked one of the teams to beat.

The Stags’ strong performance this weekend is proof that they are heading in the right direction for a hopeful berth in the MAAC conference tournament.

Leading the Stags offensively during the weekend was Martin, who netted nine goals and two assists during the two games.

“She is a fierce competitor and disciplined in practice, and it has really made a difference in her play,” said McCue.

While there were impressive points racked up by the offense, who out shot Niagara 45-20, the Stags also picked up their overall defense, especially against rival Canisius. Canisius out-shot the Stags 35-32, but goaltender Lauren Chatnik ’09 came out big, making 15 saves against the Griffs.

Despite the win, it was a bittersweet weekend, as three senior Stags played their last home game for Fairfield. Captains Sarah Masterson, Ashley Chappell and Katie Keane all contributed to the successful wins over the weekend and for the program overall.

“I don’t think it has really hit us yet, being seniors,” said Masterson, who will leave Fairfield holding the record for draw controls. “We got really pumped up before the game because we knew it was the last time we would be playing at home.”

Martin agreed that the team really stepped up to give the seniors a good final home game.

“I think we have three great captains, and everyone was truly excited and we wanted to give them something good to go out on,” she said.

But the road for the Stags isn’t over, as they head out to play two of the toughest teams in the MAAC. Fairfield will travel to play Siena on Friday and LeMoyne on Sunday for their final two games in the MAAC. Two wins would guarantee a consecutive conference berth for Fairfield.

“Our big thing is to make sure we get into the MAAC tournament,” said McCue. “I think truly next weekend is going to be when we need to send our message. Next weekend will be a big challenge.”

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