Maggie Flaherty ’20
Twenty-five degree cold, 20-mile-per-hour winds, and the Fairfield Stags (1-0), came out victorious last Saturday afternoon at a frigid women’s lacrosse season opener at Father Kuzniewski field. The Holy Cross Crusaders (0-1) fell by a 13-9 goal margin. Piles of snow outlined the pristine turf field, and I can only imagine how the cold temperatures and windy conditions affected game play. The Crusaders and the Stags have met for the inaugural game of the season for the past three years. Fairfield came out with the win the last two meetups, but Holy Cross won in 2017. The teams all-time meeting record is now 9-9.
Senior midfielder Keely Connors, who was named to the Preseason All-Patriot League Team, scored four goals in the loss, a feat that named her the ckSmithSuperior Crusader Athlete of the Week. Connors also caused three turnovers, picked up two ground balls, and won two draw controls in the match. In the 2018 season, Connors was second in the league for draw controls per game (5.17) and free position shots (18). Connors now has 59 goals and 10 assists for a total of 69 career points.
Junior goaltender Sophie Ochs had a stalwart 14-save performance in her first varsity start in net and boasted a .519 save percentage on the game, but it was not enough for the Crusaders to pull off the victory. Ochs held the Crusaders to a close 5-3 margin in the first half, blocking ten of the Stags’ 15 attempts on net. She also scooped up two ground balls in the game. First-year midfielder Jolie Creo netted her first varsity goal in the matchup to close out the scoring in the first half. First-year attacker Jordan Arakelian also tallied her first varsity point with an assist to junior midfielder Audrey Mandaro’s second goal of the game.
Junior midfielders Bryn Carroll and Mandaro each had great performances on Father K field, scoring two goals apiece. The duo also hustled in transition, and picked up two ground balls each. Carroll won a game-high five draw controls for Holy Cross. Mandaro also won three draws, and sophomore defender Haley Walker corralled one.
Holy Cross had an offensive drive early in the second half to push the Crusaders within one goal of Fairfield for a 6-5 margin, but the Stags retaliated with four unanswered goals to widen the scoring gap to 10-5 and solidify the Fairfield victory.
The Crusaders look to get in the win column this Saturday, February 16 with another home match at Father K field at 1 p.m. against Central Connecticut State. It will be the CCSU Blue Devils’ first game of the season.
Holy Cross is coming into 2019 looking to improve on their 6-12 overall, 4-5 in Patriot League play 2018 campaign. A Patriot League preseason poll has them the Crusaders 7th in the league, but only time will tell. The Crusaders returns seven of their eight top scorers of 2018.
Photo courtesy of GoHolyCross.com