WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.- Monmouth University women’s lacrosse (7-9, 4-3 MAAC) let a 4-1 halftime lead slip through its hands to Fairfield University (11-4, 6-1 MAAC), ultimately falling to Stags 5-4 in the contest.
“I was pleased with the team that we followed our game plan,” said Head Coach Denise Wescott. “It is tough when you don’t score in the second half. We needed to get some more looks, we only took eight shots in the game. I felt we took control early, got some goals we just needed to keep doing the same thing. We lost possession a little bit on the second half in the midfield and offensive end and we paid for it with late goals from them. We still had options in the end of the game, we just didn’t get goals. We were in the right place, we just need to finish it.”
The Hawks scored three straight to end the first half and take a 4-1 lead into the break. From there it was all Fairfield, who outshot Monmouth 9-3 in the second half. Stag Riley Hellstein cut the lead to 4-2 on a feed from senior Melanie Raso with 21:18 to play. After 11 minutes of scoreless action Raso took over, scoring a pair of goals in less than two minutes to tie the game up at 4-4. Raso gave Fairfield its first lead of the game at the 7:52 mark with the Hawks down a player. Monmouth had two opportunities after winning the ensuing draw but the first shot was wide and the second shot was swept aside by Fairfield netminder Chelsey Sidaris. The Hawks got possession by way of turnover with 44 seconds left in the half and worked the ball into the Fairfield zone but could not muster a shot.
Monmouth senior Danielle Rakowitz (Montville, N.J./Montville) tallied the first goal of the game at the 21:39 mark but 46 seconds later Hellstein tied the game up on a free position attempt. Monmouth retook the lead almost two minutes later on freshman Claudia LaMarca’s (West Long Branch, N.J./Shore Regional) goal then a pair of free position goals in the final 3:12 gave the Hawks a 4-1 lead going into the break.
Junior goalie Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic Secondary) had five saves, five ground balls and a caused turnover in the contest. Monmouth was outshot 13-8 in the contest, including 9-3 in the final 30 minutes. Fairfield dominated the draw 8-4 but Monmouth held a 16-12 advantage in ground balls.
Raso led all scorers with four points on her three goals and assist. Sidaris made three saves, including two in the second half for Fairfield.
Fairfield, which leads the all-time series 7-5, has won seven straight contests against the Hawks.
Monmouth, which is still in fourth place in the MAAC standings, faces conference-leader Marist on the road on Saturday in the regular-season finale.