Fairfield Wins at Manhattan to Clinch MAAC Berth

RIVERDALE, N.Y. - In the final home game of the season, Manhattan struggled offensively as they fell 16-4 to Fairfield in MAAC play on Wednesday night. It was also the final home game in the careers of seniors Amy Branchini and Maria Aloe who were honored in a pre-game ceremony.

In what started off as an exciting contest, things quickly turned south for the Jaspers (4-11, 1-4 MAAC). After Fairfield's Chloe Mangan scored just 17 seconds into the game for the first goal, freshman Stefanie Ranagan knotted things up on a free- position shot at the 27:43 mark of the first half. However, it would be the only goal of the half for Manhattan.

The Stags (9-7, 4-2 MAAC) went on an offensive tear, scoring 11 unanswered goals in the first. Jenna Slowey broke the deadlock with the first of her three goals before Courtney Chmil scored three consecutive times to put her squad up 5-1 with 15:28 to go in the frame.

The final 15 minutes of the first saw two goals apiece from Jenna Fuchs and Amanda Best while Mangan, Chmil and Slowey added another tally to their score sheet. It would be Chmil's free-position goal with 5:19 to play till the break that put Fairfield up 11-1, inducing a running clock.

Manhattan's biggest struggle of the night was ball control despite both teams winning seven draw controls. They committed ten turnovers in the first and were held to just 3-6 on clear attempts (6-10 for the game). The Stags also picked up 12 groundballs to the Jaspers three during that stretch.

After the halftime break, Fairfield added to their lead with man-up goals from Fuchs and Slowey capping off a 13 goal run. They would then control possession throughout the remainder of the game, not allowing Manhattan a chance at a comeback. Freshman Claire Roediger snapped the scoreless stretch for the Jaspers with a free-position goal with 9:16 remaining in regulation. That goal ended a drought of 48:27 minutes of game time in which they were held without a score.

Kaitlyn Cunningham added another goal less than two minutes later for Manhattan before Roediger notched her second tally of the game, cutting the lead to 14-4. However, Fairfield added two late goals from Samantha Mazzeo and Julienna Mascera to keep the advantage above double-digits. Chmil led all players with four goals while Slowey had three goals and an assist.

In total, the Stags outshot Manhattan 27-21 (20-8 in the first half) while winning 12 of 22 draw controls and forcing 14 turnovers. The Jaspers forced just 10 of their own while Fairfield was 12-13 on clear attempts. They were also 4-6 on free-position chances while Manhattan was just 2-8. Sophomore Christina Fiorinelli made five saves in the game while Katie Keenan made three saves for Fairfield playing only the first half. Chelsey Sidaras took over in the second frame and made six total stops.

The Jaspers now go on the road for their final two games as they visit Niagara on Sat., April 20 in their league game of the season before traveling to take on Columbia a week later.

* * * *

Fairfield secured a berth in the upcoming MAAC tournament with a 16-4 win over Manhattan on Wednesday night in Riverdale, N.Y. The Stags improve to 9-7 overall and 4-2 in league play, while the Jaspers fall to 4-11 on the season and 1-4 in MAAC action.

Katie Keenan started in net for the Stags and made three saves, against one goal allowed, in playing the first-half to earn the victory. It was her eighth of the year and the 46th of her career, moving her into a tie for first place on the all-time goalkeeper victory list in Fairfield history.

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