The Fairfield University field hockey has two games on the docket for the upcoming weekend beginning with a key Northeast Conference (NEC) match at Wagner College on Friday afternoon. The Stags will return to campus for a Sunday afternoon match with Hofstra University with game time slated for 1 pm.
Head Coach Jackie Kane has watched her team come into its own over the last few weeks, winning four of its last five games which includes three NEC results. Last weekend featured three unbeaten teams matching up with one another, namely Rider, Sacred Heart, and Fairfield. The Stags earned victories against Rider (2-1) and Sacred Heart (3-0) to hold the top spot in the conference standings coming into the weekend.
Wagner stands second in the NEC rankings just one game behind Fairfield which gives much meaning to Friday’s match. The Seahawks won four straight games from September 19 to October 1 before dropping a pair of games. The team returned to its winning ways with a 2-1 overtime victory against Bryant College, the second extra-time victory for Wagner this year. Julia Cruces Pastorino scored the game-winning goal which was her second deciding in goal in overtime this season.
Cruces Pastorino places second among her teammates with a team-high seven goals along with six assists for 20 points. Liselotte Koop represents the team’s top scoring threat with 21 points, netting six goals and a team-best nine assists. The Seahawks are ranked second in the Northeast Conference with 2.03 goals against average with Cruces Pastorino and Koop accounting for 13 of the team’s 25 goals this season. Goalkeeper Daisy Ruhle has spent a majority of time defending the line for Wagner, playing 660 minutes in her 12 appearances. She owns a 1.79 goals against average with . 789 save percentage (5.9 saves per game).
The high-potent offense of Wagner will certainly challenge Fairfield which ranks first in goals against average (1.35 per game) and in shutouts (5). Goalkeeper Zoe Rosen along with NEC Defensive Player Of The Week Mackenzie Boyle have played a key role in the Stags’ defensive success. Rosen places 13th in the nation for save percentage, making 66 saves against 18 goals allowed for a .786 mark.
The Stags offense continues to receive dependable play from Malen Iglesias while Julianna Kratz has more recently found her stroke inside the circle. Iglesias leads the team in scoring with six goals and one assist for 13 points. Kratz is next in line with four goals and one assists for nine points, scoring three of her four goals in the last four games. Two of her goals came in the team’s 2-1 win over Rider University last Friday.
Hofstra is also on the schedule this weekend and comes to University Field this Sunday beginning at 1 pm. The Pride open the weekend with a matchup against Towson University on Friday at home. Eline Oldeman and Mercedes Currie are tied for the team lead with six goals each, accounting for nearly half of the team’s 27 goals scored this year. Merlijn van der Vegt has spent every minute in the Hofstra goal, registering a 1.93 goals against average with a .711 save percentage (69 saves in 14 starts.
Fairfield completes a two-game homestand next Friday when it hosts Saint Francis at University Field at 4 pm, the final regular-season home game of the 2021 Stags field hockey season.