FAIRFIELD, Conn. – In a contest where Fairfield twice had four-goal leads, the Marist Women’s Lacrosse team fought hard throughout and would eventually knot the game at 8-8 before losing on a heart-breaking last second goal. Senior Ashley Miller (Montville, N.J.) and freshman Allison Gionta (Eastport, N.Y.) led Marist’s offensive effort with three points each, while sophomore Christine Astarita (Kennett Square, N.Y.) and senior Jessica Irvine (Hauppauge, N.Y.) led a stout defense with five combined turnovers.
After Miller shot the Red Foxes out to an early 1-0 lead with a successful free-position conversion, the host Stags would run off a 5-0 goal streak to take a 5-1 lead into the final minutes of the first half.
At the break, Fairfield held advantages in shots (9-6), ground balls (10-7) and successful clears (8-10 to 2-6).
Coming out after the break with just a 5-2 deficit, the Red Foxes realized that tightening up their ball control and taking advantage of scoring opportunities would be of huge importance in their second half comeback attempt.
After the Stags pushed their lead back out to four at 6-2 with 23:44 remaining, the Red Foxes would convert three straight goals over a span of 5:35 from 20:58 to 15:23. Two caused turnovers by Astarita, as well as two draw controls by Jamie Romano (Kings Park, N.Y.) would set up Marist’s offense for success. Kirsten Viscount (Smithtown, N.Y.), Miller and Gionta registered the Red Foxes’ goals during this run.
With the score 6-5 in favor of Fairfield and the clock running under 10 minutes, the teams traded goals at 8:22 and 7:16 with Jamie Leone scoring for the Stags and Viscount netting the Red Foxes’ tally.
At 5:03, Fairfield’s Katie Keenan would make a stop on a Tuck shot on goal; with possession, the Stags would run nearly three minutes off of the clock before Jenna Slowey converted to make it 8-6 at 2:11.
With Fairfield in possession of the ball in Marist’s zone with less than 90 seconds things looked bleak for the Red Foxes. After an unforced turnover by Courtney Chmil gave Marist the ball back with 51 seconds the hope was back; eight seconds later Romano rifled a shot into the back of the net to make it 8-7.
After a successful draw control by Tuck, the Red Foxes would rapidly make their way back down the field and with a quick pass from Miller to Gionta it would be an 8-8 game with 34 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately for the visitors a draw control and rush down the field by Chloe Mangan would spell defeat as the Fairfield player registered the game-winning goal with just 18 seconds left in the contest.
In the 9-8 setback, Marist finished with advantages in shots (16-15), draw controls (12-7) and caused turnovers (10-8), while Fairfield won ground balls (17-14) and clears (14-19 to 9-14).
Individually, Romano won a game-high six draw controls in addition to her one goal, Astarita finished with three caused turnovers on defense and goalie Ashley Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) made four saves in net.
The Red Foxes will have a quick turnover as they will be back in action on Saturday, April 6 at Siena. The opening draw in Loudonville is slated for 1 p.m.
Record Book Notes … With her six draw controls, Jamie Romano broke her previous single-season program record of 52. She’s now won 53 on the year … Her career total of 152 has overtaken Jamine Aponte as the program’s all-time career record holder; Aponte’s career mark was 150 set from 1998 through 2001.