Fairfield Defeats Marist to Earn 5th Straight MAAC Title

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. Marist was defeated by MAAC leader Fairfield on Wednesday afternoon at home by a score of 14-7. Faced with the intimidating mission of matching up with a Stags team that hadn't lost a regular season conference game in 28 tries, the Red Foxes were more than up to the task, as they pieced together a 3-0 run to take a 5-4 first-half lead.

An ensuing 6-0 run by Fairfield proved to be the difference. Seniors Ariel Kramer (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Shannon Haas (Farmingdale, N.Y.) paced the offense with two goals a piece. Junior Ashley Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) made eight saves in net for the Red Foxes.

Following an early 2-0 lead for Fairfield, the Red Foxes and Stags would trade goals for a five minute span of play between 19:26 and 14:28. Kramer got the scoring going as she took a pass from junior Amanda Tuck (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) and beat Fairfield's goalkeeper Katie Keenan to the high side. The second Red Fox goal was an Ashley Miller (Montville, N.J.) free position marker at 15:24.

With the score 4-2, sophomore Jamie Romano (Kings Park, N.Y.) kick started Marist's three goal unanswered streak with a conversion off of a Kramer pass at 12:31. Goals two and three would come courtesy of Haas, who netted the scores with 26 seconds of each other at 9:18 and 8:52. The senior's first goal came after a Tuck pass, while the second was a free position tally.

A Fairfield goal by Melanie Raso with 2:18 closed the first half scoring at 5-5, but not before Casiano made a huge free position save on Chloe Mangan with the clock expiring.

The first half stats mirrored the scoreboard as draw control totals were tight with Marist having six and Fairfield five, turnovers were Marist five, Fairfield four and clears were Fairfield 7-8 and Marist 6-6. The Stags outshot the Red Foxes at 12 to eight.

In the second half, the Stags picked up their efficiency on both ends of the fields and would go on to outscore the Red Foxes six to one in the first 20 minutes. Kramer netted Marist's lone goal during this span at 11:47.

Down five, sophomore Tierney Larson (Fairfield, Conn.) converted a free position shot to bring Marist within four at 11-7 with 9:11 left to play. Unfortunately, for the Red Foxes a trio of Fairfield goals down the stretch would see the contest go final at 14-7.

For the game, Fairfield outshot Marist 24 to 16 and held a 18 to 13 advantage in ground balls. The Red Foxes won more draw controls at 12 to 11 and converted more free position shots a three to one. Kramer, Hass and freshman Emily Leonard (Brookfield, Conn.) all had three draw controls.

The Red Foxes will close their regular season on Saturday, April 21 when they head to Niagara in search of a MAAC Tournament bid. With a 2-3 MAAC record, the Red Foxes are one of five teams within one game of each other in positions two through six. The top four teams qualify for the conference championship. The opening draw of Saturday's game is slated for 1:00 p.m.

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Fairfield used a strong second-half surge to defeat host Marist, 14-7, and clinch its fifth consecutive MAAC regular season crown. The victory was the Stags 29th consecutive regular season conference win and improved the squad's record to 11-3 overall and 5-0 in league play. The Red Foxes fell to 3-12 on the year and 2-3 in MAAC play.

With the score tied 5-5 to start the second half, Fairfield's defense tightened, not allowing a Marist goal for nearly 19 minutes. Meanwhile the Fairfield offense continued to click, as Chloe Mangan struck for consecutive goals 69 seconds and 3:10 into the half to put the Stags in front, 7-5, for good. Courtney Chmil followed with her second of the game at the 19:46 mark and the run reached 5-0 with a Caitlin Townsend tally at 16:16. Mangan scored her third of the half with 13:03 to play in regulation to give Fairfield its largest lead, 10-5.

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