Sunday, December 31, 2006
Fairfield's comeback fell just short as LBS hit a jumber with five seconds left to provide the winning margin. Junior guard Sabra Wrice heaved a half court shot that hit the backboard and rim, but didn't fall as the buzzer sounded, sealing the loss.
The Stags fell behind early, and were held to a season-low 16 points and a season-high 17 turnovers at halftime. Down, 32-16, at the half, Fairfield would need to turn it one in the second in order to even have a chance of winning.
Coming out of the locker room the Stags did just that as guard Meka Werts '08 scored the first five points and Fairfield put in 17 in 3:29 cutting the lead to 36-33.
The game remained close the rest of the way as neither team lead by more than four points at any time. Fairfield used their second half spurt to win that half, 45-30, but it was not enough to overcome their play from the first half.
Wrice led the Stags in socring with 18 points and also pulled down 8 rebounds.
The Stags were able to dominate the boards, coming up with 50 to the 49ers' 34. However, after shooting 6 of 31 and turning the ball over 17 times in one half, Fairfield put themselves in a whole that they could not dig themselves out of.
The loss drops the Stags back down to .500 on the year at 6-6 overall. The travel to New York on the second to play St. Francis, the end of a eight game road trip.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Fairfield (6-5) has a 2-0 conference record, while the 49ers (2-11) have yet to play a conference game.
On Thursday, LBSU beat UC Davis to end a three-game slide.
The Stags have won four straight and are running on all cylinders.
In its last game against UC Irvine, Fairfield dominated the boards and scored a season-high 78 points.
So far this season for the 49ers, Karina Figueroa leads the team with 11.4 points per game. She is the only player in double figures.
Kaiti O’Brien leads the team on the boards with 4.5 rebounds per game.
Only 1-5 at home and 1-6 away, LBSU has been outscored and outrebounded by its opponents.
The 49ers have struggled offensively, netting 60 or better only three times so far this year.
In contrast, Fairfield has surpassed the 70-point total in seven out of its first 11 games.
LBSU has been hurting for the better part of the season, as several players are currently sidelined or not at full-strength.
One of the biggest losses come Saturday will be Lauren Sims, one of the team’s better offensive players who recently injured her leg.
To send a message early, the Stags must take advantage of the 48ers’ less-than-stellar rebounding and jumpstart multiple fast breaks right from the get-go.
Look for Fairfield to be aggressive early, especially on the boards.
With the defense in place and the offense getting better by the game, the Stags are in great shape for their final game on the West Coast.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
- Fairfield was led in scoring by senior guard Michael Van Schaick, who entered the game leading the team in scoring. Van Schaick scored 14 points and added 7 rebounds. He was the only Stags player in double figures. Marty O'Sullivan scored 5 points and led the team in rebounds, with 11.
- Anthony Johnson `10 had a strong game, when he was one the court. Johnson scored 8 points with 4 rebounds while playing just 15 minutes. Johnson fouled out of the game in the final minutes, but was forced to the bench with four fouls midway through the second half. He was also on the bench for most of the end of the first half with foul trouble. Johnson also suffered an ankle injury during the first half, during a collision at midcourt, but it did not seem to affect him during the second half.
- Greg Nero `10 showed some of the low post scoring ability he did earlier in the season, with 6 points. He had other opportunities to score, but had a few shots roll out.
- Both teams struggled with shooting, as Fairfield finished with a 39.5 shooting percentage and Fordham 34.7%. Fairfield was just 28.6% from beyond the three point arc and 43.8% from the free throw line.
- Fairfield was also hurt by turnovers, they committed 21, to Fordham's 12 and Fordham scored 27 points off turnovers.
- Fairfield's main strength was rebounding. They out rebounded Fordham 42-26 and had 17 second chance points on the offensive end. Van Schaick led the team with 5 offensive rebounds.
- After the game Van Schaick felt that Fordham took Fairfield out of what they wanted to do at times during both halves. He also felt missed shots hurt them, but thinks the team is still learning with every game.
- Devin Johnson `10, who returned from a shoulder injury, was disappointed with himself in missing a few layups and free throws at the end of the game. Coach Ed Cooley was also disappointed in the teams inability to finish on backdoor layups, which he knew the team would have against Fordham.
- Cooley felt that the team's youth and inexperience cost them in the game, but that it is not an excuse. He was pleased with the team's effort, but felt the team needs to learn how to handle themselves better at the end of the game.
- Fordham's coach, Derek Whittenberg, felt that Fairfield did a great job shutting down Bryant Dunston, who finished with 8 points and was 2-9 from the floor.
Check www.fairfieldmirror.com tomorrow morning for a full game story.
The game was closly contested throughout as there were 11 lead changes and the score was tied on 10 occassions. Fairfield was able to pull away in the final minutes as they went on a 16-5 run in the last 4:26 of the game.
Junior guard Sabra Wrice scored 11 in the second half, while sophomore forward Baendu Lowenthal put in another 12 in the second as well.
Wrice would finish with 17 points and also dished out a game-high six assists. Lowenthal ended with 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Junior guard Meka Werts also enjoyed a good game as well. She shot her way to 12 points.
The loss drops the Anteaters to 2-10 on the year.
The Stags' fourth straight win, all of which have come on the road, has kept their momentum from before Christmas rolling. The continue their road trip in California as they play Long Beach State on Saturday.
More Details will follow as they come in from California.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Fairfield (3-10) is 1-1 in the MAAC, while the Rams (5-5) have yet to start play in the A-10.
So far this season for the Rams, Marcus Stout has led the offense with a team-high 14.2 points per game.
Three other players join him in double figures: Bryant Dunston with 13.4, Sebastian Greene with 11.8 and Brenton Butler with 10.5.
On defense, Dunston leads the way, averaging 7.4 rebounds per game.
Fordham comes off two straight losses to Texas A & M and the College of Charleston.
Both teams stymied the Rams’ otherwise potent offense.
In each game, Fordham failed to score more than 70 points, which it had done in six out of its first eight games.
Versus Charleston, the Rams gave up some big momentum swings and shot poorly from the field – only 39.1 percent.
At one point, Fordham allowed Charleston to go on a 15-4 run.
If the Rams go cold like that on Thursday, the Stags must take advantage.
To win, Fairfield must build off its solid win versus Canisius on Dec. 10th.
Despite losing by 19 at one time in the first half, the Stags bounced back and notched 75 points to win 75-64.
Fairfield had tons of key baskets from its sharpshooters, but it also benefited from strong drives to the hole.
Guards and big men alike pounded inside, pressuring Canisius and drawing fouls in the process.
Devin Johnson left the game early with a shoulder injury, but multiple Stags stepped up—a key ingredient to success in the long-haul.
Fairfield will need contributions from up and down the lineup to be in contention versus the Rams.
Coming into Thursday’s game, senior Mike Van Schaick leads the squad with 11.8 points per game.
Senior Marty O’Sullivan continues to lead the team on the boards, averaging 5.9 rebounds per game.
Fairfield (5-5) has a 2-0 conference record, while the Anteaters (2-9) have yet to play a Big West conference game.
UC Irvine is coming off a five-game slide, while the Stags have won three straight.
So far this season for the Anteaters, Kelly Cochran leads the team with 12.4 points per game. Joining her in double figures is Angie Ned with 11.9 and Stephanie Duda with 11.6.
Duda leads the team on the boards with 10.5 rebounds per game.
Only 1-5 at home and 1-4 away, UC Irvine has had trouble finding its own rhythm.
The Anteaters’ last game came on the 21st versus Army, where they got outrebounded and flat-out outplayed.
Despite strong showings from Ned and Duda, they had major scoring lapses and allowed Army to go on several prolific drives.
While UC Irvine will look to get something going this Thursday, Fairfield will look to keep something alive.
After winning their first two conference games in early December, the Stags are currently on a three-game winning streak.
In its last outing against Canisius, Fairfield had quality minutes from its starting five and its role players.
Junior Meka Werts led the team with 23 points, sophomore Megan Caskin notched seven assists and freshman Stephanie Geehan had 10 boards.
Despite a high turnover rate per game, the Stags are really coming together on offense.
Caskin has settled into the point and has generated a lot of momentum for the squad.
Tara Flaherty `10 and Baendu Lowenthal `09 provide a solid frontcourt, while Sabra Wrice ’08 and Werts add to a strong backcourt.
Having last played Dec. 10th, the Stags need to come out with the same intensity that has characterized their play since day one.
This is especially important since the Anteaters’ will be fresh after their game against Army last week.
Coming into the game for the Stags, three players are in double figures on offense.
Wrice continues to lead the squad with a team-high 14.0 points per game, while Werts and sophomore Lowenthal have 12.0 and 10.3, respectively.
If Fairfield continues to execute on offense and maintain its strong defensive play, the Stags will be in good shape.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The practice lasted an hour and fourty minutes with a variety of drills involving several different senarios, including practicing post feeds to take advantage of the team's strength down low, free throws, and rebounding.
The practice was marred however, when freshman center Kendra Hussey went up to stop the fast break on sophomore Baendu Lowenthal. Hussey appeared to block the shot cleanly, but Lowenthal fell onto Hussey, who then appeared to hit her head on the floor. Head Coach Dianne Nolan said afterwards that she should be fine and it was just a slight bump on the head. However, to be cautious, Hussey sat out the rest of practice.
On a related note: Sophomore guard Megan Caskin was held out of the previous practice due to a slight tweak of her knee. The measure was largely precautionary and Caskin returned to play today.
Ending on a light note, the team played a game of knock out in which graduate assistant Clare Faurote was crowned the champion after some timely free throw shooting.
The women take a break tomorrow and return to practice on Tuesday.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Due to exams, I could only stay for around a half-hour, but in that time I was impressed with how hard they were working. When I arrived, they were playing a full court game and afterwards moved on to shooting foul shots. The final drill I saw was a 3 on 3 drill practicing post ups and cuts.
The frontcourt played very well in this final drill. Sophomore Baendu Lowenthal was impressive as were freshmen Tara Flaherty and Stephanie Geehan. Junior guard Sabra Wrice also looked good in practice.
Sophomore guard Megan Caskin did not practice. Unfortunately, I did not have time to talk to Coach Nolan afterwards. Hopefully, we can find out later from why she was held out.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Alex Cunliffe found out at 2:00 AM that he had been selected for the MLS Combine.
"I was asleep and my teammate and dear friend Tom Skara called me a couple times to wake me up. He was the first one to tell me about it and was quite silly about it. He wouldn't tell me what was going on just to go on the computer." said Cunliffe, "I checked out the MLS website and it was congratulating the people selected, so I was chuffed and a little tired, but happy none the less. So thanks to Tom Skara." Cunliffe said with a laugh.
Cunliffe's coach, Carl Rees, believes that Cunliffe has the ability to play at the next level.
“He has the size and technical ability and he also has a insatiable appetite for competition and the game of soccer,” said Rees, “The biggest challenge for a lot of players making the transition from college to the pros to perform everyday in training. Alex’s hunger and commitment will help him with this challenge.”
Sophomore Kerr McLeod who was not surprised that his teammates was selected for the combine said, "“Coming from England, Alex knows the standard for professional soccer; therefore, there is no question in my mind that he will approach this opportunity with pride and conviction while representing Fairfield honorably."
Freshman forward Paul McQuade agreed with McLeod.
“In my opinion he has been our best player this year, not only with his ability but his determination and drive to win,” McQuade said, “There were games throughout the year where he grabbed the team by the scruff of the neck and lead us to victory. Because of this attitude I think he has a great shot at making it as a pro.”
McLeod believes that through the team and Cunliffe’s success, the Fairfield soccer program will continue to keep growing.
“For a program, any acolades or honorably recognition shows not only potential recruits, but our peers and faculty the dedication and passion that we designate to soccer outside the classroom,” McLeod said, “ I think because of our exemplory year led by players like Alex has given the team a foundation for years to come.”
Both McQuade and McLeod have played at the international level for their home countries, Scotland and Canada respectively, as Cunliffe did as well. The two both have aspirations of playing pro soccer as well and seeing Cunliffe receive the opportunity will serve as motivation for them.
“To have played with Alex has been a great experience, and I hope I can eventually get the chance to play at a higher level, like he has done,” McQuade said, “He has left me and the other guys with some hard footsteps to follow, but everyone in the team, especially myself is determined to carry on from last season and make the following seasons a success.”
“To play professionally, one has to play outside their comfort threshold and be tested daily, for this reason, I am thankful that as a program we are moving forward, which helps me as an individual player and the team grow stronger,” said McLeod.
Cunliffe will now have to work hard to prepare for the challenge of competing against the nation’s best. He knows it will be tough, but believes that with hard work he can accomplish his goal.
“There’ll be a lot of quality players at the combine, but I’m coming off my personal season and hopefully I can carry that into the combine,” Cunliffe said, “I will be working hard with my coaches and teammates to make sure I’m in the best shape going into the combine to do my best to do well.”
Rees, who played professional soccer following his career at Hartwick, will help Cunliffe prepare.
“Alex needs to get as fit as possible and work hard in training once he gets there. He needs to be prepared for a big challenge but he should remember that he has talent and should not lose faith in himself,” said Rees.
Cunliffe is definitely ready for the challenge, but knows he still has a lot of work in front of him. “There is a long way to go, but with a lot of hard work and maybe a little bit of luck, who knows what could happen.”
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
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With that in mind, Coach Nolan has the team focused on staying in shape, doing conditioning drills and staying sharp. Nolan recognizes that with finals and the Christmas break approaching, she can't do too much teaching for fear of overloading the players. She is trying to keep practices entertaining; she decided to end today's practice with a half-court shot drill (the players made 3 in five minutes, and maintience may have to replace the backboard).
However, she is still trying to instill the defensive fundamentals that have made the team so sucessful. Not only does the Stag's defense stop the opposing team, but it also leads to their fast break offense.
Nolan also acknowledged that since the Stag's have so much talent, each practice provides an opportunity to grow by simply going against each other. The players challenge each other and improve during practice without the game experience.
These players are talented enough where Nolan should be able to keep them sharp during their long layoff.
Maron was named to the Soccer Buzz All-Northeast region first team. Maron, who was also the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, had one of the best seasons for a Fairfield goalie in school history.
Freshman Casey Frobey was also named to the All-Northeast region All-Freshman team. Frobey, who was the MAAC Rookie of the Year, leading the team in scoring with 27 points. It was the eighth best single-season total in Stags history.
Next season the Stags return Maron, Frobey and a team that consists of 3 other All-MAAC first team members, MT Church `08, Ahna Johnson `09, and Alex Caram `08. The freshman class played a major role on the team last season and should only improve next year, led by Frobey, and fellow MAAC-All Rookie team members Chrissie Sidie and Adrienne Boyer.
The Stags will look to win the MAAC Championship for the second time in three seasons next year.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Looking back on this weekend’s duel meet for the Fairfield women’s swimming and diving team, the words “complete smash victory” come to mind.
With a final score of 93-47 against
Senior Brittany Hunter, recently honored as the MAAC Swimmer of the Week, led the team with first place finishes in all three of her individual events. A time of 9:34.00 secured her the 800m freestyle, 4:37.39 took the 400m freestyle and 2:31.24 the 200m individual medley.
Close behind Hunter were Jennifer Masi ’07, Liz Lawlor ’08 and Sarah Dent ’08 all earned two victories each.
Masi grabbed the 50m freestyle and the 100m free, while Lawlor nabbed both the 100m and 200m breaststroke and Dent came out on top for the 200m freestyle and the 200m backstroke.
Erin Carrather ’08 also took first place in the 100m backstroke.
The women’s diving team also dominated the meet, just as they have been consistently doing for the whole season.
Katharine Yee ’08 once again led the team, taking first place in both the 1-meter and the 3-meter events.
In the 1-meter, Hillary Urbancic ’10 followed Yee closely and secured the second place spot with a score less than 30 points behind. Liz Freskakis ’09 showed similarly well with a 132.23 in the 3-meter and a third place finish.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams are now finished for the fall semester, but will return to the Recplex in January.-Michelle
Unfortunately, the answer this season seems very clear and certainly cut and dry. When the games are convenient, students will go. When they are not, there are better places to spend your weekends.
The Alumni Hall games drew sell-out crowds, whereas under 100 students attended the last men's basketball game at the Arena. On-campus events are much easier to attend then off-campus. Take the lacrosse and soccer games for example, thousands attend because it is there. When you wake up, it's in your face.
This is too easy of a cop-out however, as the location is certainly a strong factor, but not the sole one. Fairfield basketball has not been entertaining for a long time. Losing seasons, failed expectations, and having to pay to see it? Seems like an awfully big request.
Luckily, this season the women are pretty good, but will never draw the same as the men. Why? Demographics, this a predominantly female campus and as my Associate Editor Ali stated in her first column this year, there is more to the game than the sport.
Fairfield needs to also accept one grand theme in all of this: alcohol. Petty and immature, yes. However, kids are going to get drunk before, during, and after any event they can. Pre-game in a dorm room and walk to Alumni or risk getting arrested or shot in a drunken stumble through Bridgeport. Which would you choose?
I know the University doesn't like talking about alcohol and drunkenness is as big of a taboo as diversity, but this is what college is certainly about, the WHOLE experience. Kegs and eggs, post-game parties, drunken chants.
Fairfield is going to have loads to consider if they are ever going to revive school spirit. We all love the Red Sea, but it has to go much deeper than that.
In the Friday win against Niagara Wrice scored a game-high 18 points and helped the Stags rally from a nine-poine second half deficit against Canisius, Wrice scored 16 points and had seven boards.
Wrice leads the Stags in scoring, averaging 14.0 points per game through the first 10 games of the season, good for fourth in the MAAC.
The Stags will be off until January, but stay tuned to the Mirror Sports Blog for continued practice updates. - Dan
Sunday, December 10, 2006
- In the press conference, Coach Cooley and the players seemed pleased with the victory. Van Schaick, who had a game-high 20 points said that he could finally get some rest and actually sleep, something he has not been able to do with all the basketball. Cooley was especially pleased with the performance of Mamadou Diakhate, who he felt deserves the game ball for all the hustle he put in. Van Schaick felt that energy plays from Diakhate and Anthony Johnson, who had a career-high 16 points, led the Stags comeback.
- Fairfield shot 62.5 % in the second half, including 5-8 from three point land, definitely the team's best shooting game of the year. Fairfield offense was clicking, they were making the extra passes and finding open shots and then making them.
- Devin Johnson will have an MRI and X-Rays tomorrow to determine the status of his shoulder injury. It appeared that he seperated his left shoulder when Wilson dunked over him. Cooley feels that Johnson's physical ability as a wing player will be missed and that he hopes Johnson will not be out for long. Although with the violence of the collision, and the look pain on Johnson's face, even after returning to the bench, Johnson may miss an extended period of time, look for Diakhate to step in for Johnson, especially after his night.
- Fairfield committed just 6 turnovers in the second half, while forcing 6 as well, although pressure led to forced shots and it appeared like the Stags were playing a much cleaner game than Canisius. When Fairfield took their first lead, it seemed like they killed any momentum Canisius had and the Golden Griffins looked deflated. At one point a defensive rebound rolled right past a Canisius player who did not even move for it.
- The Stags now head into a much needed 17 day rest. Anthony Johnson and Van Schaick both looked happy to have the time off when discussing it following the game.
- Fairfield's leading scorer in the half is Anthony Johnson, who has 8 and 3 rebounds. Johnson caught an alley oop from Han and slammed it down to ignite the small crowd, which features only about 8-10 students. Michael Van Schaick is second on the team with 7 points.
- Freshman forward/guard Devin Johnson left the game 6 minutes in after being dunked on by Canisius' Darnell Wilson. Johnson injured his left shoulder and went into the locker room. Johnson returned to the bench in the second half, with his arm in a sling. He sat at the end with the trainer and his face showed both pain and disappointment with being out of the game.
- Fairfield is shooting 47.8% from the floor, 11-23, but most of those shots did not come until the final 10 minutes. They are also shooting 70% (7-10) on free throws. They are 3-9 from 3, with Oglesby, Van Schaick, and O'Sullivan, the 3 seniors, connecting on all the long distance shots.
- Fairfield has used half court pressure to force turnovers and help them back into the game. Back to back steals by Van Schaick and Oglesby led to 4 fast break points during the final run of the half. The Stags forced 5 turnovers in the final 5 minutes.
- Fairfield's bench is again contributing, with 15 points.
Fairfield trailed early and were down 36-31 at the half. However, they came back to outscore the Golden Griffins 45-30 in the second half, a large part due to limiting Canisius to 25.7% shoting in the 2nd.
Junior guard Meka Werts had the hot hand in this game, tying her career-high with 23 points while shooting 50% from the floor and beyond the arc as well. She also pulled down 7 rebounds and dished out 3 assists.
Again the Stags out rebounded their MAAC opponent, 49-40. Freshman center Stephanie Geehan had 10 rebounds in only 20 minutes of playing time. She also added 8 points along with 2 blocks and steals apiece.
Megan Caskin '09 had another good game playing the point. Playing nearly the entire game, she racked up 7 assists with only three turnovers. The Stags had 18 turnovers total this game, not great but not terrible at the same time.
Sophomore forward Lauren Groom hasn't done much yet this year. But she broke out in this game, scoring 11 points in only 23 minutes (while also winding up with 9 rebounds) and jump started a 12-0 Fairfield run, when they retook the lead.
This win also snapped a six-game losing streak to Canisius and dropped the Golden Griffins to 6-3 (0-2 MAAC).
Despite all of the hoopla over the men's team with the arrival of Ed Cooley and swirling rumors of Dianne Nolan's job security, the women's team is turning out to be the team to watch at Fairfield.
The Stags have now won three games in a row and have some momentum going into Christmas break, but their next game is not until December 28th and Coach Nolan is going to have to keep her players sharp without game experience.
Saturday, December 9, 2006
Fairfield (2-10) is 0-1 in the MAAC, while the Golden Griffins (2-5) are also 0-1 in conference play.
So far this season for the Griffs, Corey Herring has led the offense with a team-high 13.9 points per game.
Joining him in double figures is Chuck Harris with 13.6 points per game and Darnell Wilson with 10.9.
On defense, Wilson leads the way, averaging 5.6 rebounds per game.
The Griffs have a strong core of senior ballplayers, four in total and all starters.
Three out of the four seniors—Herring, Harris and Wilson—make up the bulk of the offensive threat.
Their X-factor however, may very well be freshman and standout guard Frank Turner.
In the team’s first conference outing versus a solid Marist squad, Turner tallied 11 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
A major problem in the Griffs’ loss to Marist was poor transition defense, which allowed the Red Foxes to put together a 14-3 run at one point.
Should problems continue into Sunday, look for the Stags to use their strong fast-break offense to capitalize on Canisius’ mistakes.
To win, Fairfield must recover from its three-point loss to Manhattan this Friday, where the team shot a season-low 27.7 percent from the field.
Both teams came off to a slow start in the first half, but each turned things on in the second.
Key outside shooting kept the Stags within reach, but a series of turnovers allowed Manhattan to pull ahead at the end.
On Sunday, the Stags must continue to use their hot-handed outside shooters, but in conjunction with cuts to the basket.
Fairfield is at its best when all players drive to the lane, whether it be to ultimately kick the ball back out or take it to the hole.
The Stags draw more fouls this way and put pressure on the opposing team’s defense—an essential versus Canisius’ experienced squad of big men.
Coming into Sunday’s game, freshman Greg Nero leads the squad with 11.5 points per game.
Senior Marty O’Sullivan continues to lead the team on the boards, averaging 5.8 rebounds per game.
Fairfield (4-5) has a 1-0 conference record, while the Golden Griffins (6-2) are 0-1 in conference play.
So far this season for Canisius, Amanda Cavo leads the team with 13.1 points per game. Joining her in double figures is Abby Radunske with 11.9.
Megan Lyte leads the team on the boards with 6.1 rebounds per game.
To win, Fairfield must build off this Friday’s solid conference opener, where the Stags beat Niagara 77-63.
The Stags had contributions up and down the lineup—a key ingredient to success in the long run.
Sabra Wrice and Baendu Lowenthal led the way for a combined 30 points, proving why they are a powerful offensive duo.
The defensive play was as outstanding as it has been all year, as Fairfield trounced Niagara on the boards, 53-35.
Fairfield needs to continue to rebound and defend with intensity, since little things like these are what win games.
To come out on top on Sunday, the Stags will also have to stymie Canisius’ potent offense.
In their first conference game versus Iona, the Golden Griffins had four players in double digits, with Lyte notching a team-high 15 points.
Nonetheless, now that Fairfield’s offense is really gelling, the Stags have some room to trade buckets throughout the game.
Coming into the game for the Stags, three players are in double figures on offense.
Sabra Wrice `09 leads the squad with a team-high 13.8 points per game, while fellow junior Meka Werts and sophomore Baendu Lowenthal have 11.2 and 10.8, respectively.
If Fairfield comes out of the gate strong and strings together a series of scoring drives throughout the game like it did versus Niagara, the Stags will be in contention throughout the game.
While Coach Cooley could not come out to the media and shift the blame onto the schedule, and while he was correct in saying that they had no reason to not be ready to play, they did play a lot of tough games over a short period of time.
The Stags were coming off of two grueling losses to BC and Providence and could not have been in a great mood. The team was sloppy and could not keep up with a Manhattan team that was just as sloppy. Fairfield should have been able to easily get past the Jaspers, especially with Arturo Dubois on the bench. The fact that the opposing team's leading scorer played less than a minute in the second half, and Fairfield was unable to take advantage of it, was disappointing.
They held on to the ball way to long. I understand that Cooley wants them to run the clock down and play at a slow pace, but they are not taking shots with open looks, and are not moving well enough in the flex offense. Too many times Jon Han or Herbie Allen were stuck at the top of the offense with no options to pass and less than 10 seconds on the shot clock.
I also thought that the final 20 seconds were questionable. Fairfield put Antoine Pearman on the line and he hit just one of two, giving the Stags an opportunity to tie the game. However, Han quickly drove the length of the court and attempted a layup, looking to get fouled, but missed, ending the Stags' chances. In my opinion, it would have made more sense to slow it down and set up a final shot for Van Schaick, Han, or Allen, who all can hit threes.
Now the Stags head into what almost becomes a must win game once again. They are in the same situation that they were in against St. Francis, needing to win for the team's psyche. They cannot come out tomorrow night and lose, it will be a very hard loss to take going in to winter break.
This is a team that has talent. I know some people say they don't have heart and are unprepared, but I do not see that. What I see is a young team, with no truly experienced veteran stars. Mike Van Schaick is a talented player, but he is a streaky shooter, who is not a guy who can carry a team. Anthony Johnson and Greg Nero could both develop into two of the best players in school history, but neither is anywhere close to that right now.
Johnson is the most athletic player on this team by far. The way he can rebound, play above the rim, and work in the flex offense reminds me a lot of Craig Smith at Boston College. Johnson is running similar plays to Smith and I can see that Cooley wants him to be that type of player. But at the same time, he makes stupid mistakes, as a freshman with little experience on the college level would.
Nero is the same way, he is affected by double team pressure, which can shut him down on the offensive end and often makes silly fouls on defense, that take him out of the game. He has shown he is a consistent scorer who could average 15 to 20 points a game, but these last few weeks he has not shown that he is ready to do that.
Finally, I think this Stags team is very inconsistent. Not just game to game, but during the game. Twice during the first half it looked like they could pull away, but turnovers and missed shots allowed Manhattan to get back into it and eventually take over the game. At one point Fairfield's Mamadou Diakhate came up with a nice steal, but then Han tried to force a pass to him and it was stolen. Diakhate fouled the Jaspers player and that helped them get back into the game. Allen also had some poor passes that led to bad turnovers.
Tomorrow night will be a game that sets the tone for how the winter break goes. Will it be a merry Christmas for the Stags?
Game recap should be on www.fairfieldmirror.com soon. Also Frank's game preview should be up on the blog tonight or tomorrow morning.
Friday, December 8, 2006
- Leading Scorers: The Stags were led on the offensive side by Jonathan Han, who broke out of his scoring slump to score 13 points, along with 3 assists, after starting the game on the bench. Freshman Anthony Johnson continued to improve, scoring 9 points and bringing down 10 boards. Mike Van Schaick and Herbie Allen each scored 10 as well.
- Foul Trouble Stops Stars: Freshman Greg Nero, who is the team's leading scorer for the season, played just 16 minutes due to foul trouble and did not score a point or have a rebound. Manhattan's leading scorer Arturo Dubois played only 8 minutes, 7 in the first half, and did not score either.
- Post Game Anger: Head Coach Ed Cooley held a brief press conference with the media and was very disappointed with the team's play. He blamed himself for not preparing the team well enough and said that they had no reason to show no energy, not even the tough schedule. The players left quickly and refused to speak to the media.
Fairfield was able to shoot 49% from the field while limiting the Purple Eagles to 33% and also out rebounded them 53-35.
The easiest problem to identify is the team's free throw shooting. They were terrible from the line shooting only 11 of 26 (42%!!).
Shoot the ball Rick Barry style if you have to, but just make the gimmees!
That is just a terrible number and if Fairfield is in any close games, it will cost them.
The Stags also struggled slightly with turnovers. I thought they had broken through with the play of sophomore PG Megan Caskin, but the team didn't play as well as I thought they would. Caskin didn't play bad, 5 assists along with 3 turnovers, but the team had 20 turnovers total. Junior guard Sabra Wrice had six assists along with 4 more turnovers. Hopefully they can get their average down to about 13-14 per game.
Junior backup center Stephanie Cziria played another physical game with 4 fouls in 12 minutes.. She is currently averaging 3.4 per game in only 14.5 minutes. While she also leads the team in blocks, she seems to have taken the role of an enforcer down low.
The Stags also had two players foul out, Caskin, and Meka Werts. A recent crackdown by the refs on hand checking from the guards is the likely cause.
Despite their problems, the Stags proved that they can play well within the MAAC.
Up next for Fairfield is Canisius on Sunday as the Stags look to go up 2-0 on the MAAC.
Fairfield has a 2-9 overall record, while the Jaspers are 2-5. Friday’s matchup will be the first conference game for both teams.
So far this season for the Jaspers, Arturo Dubois has led the offense with a team-leading 14.6 points per game.
Joining him in double figures is Devin Austin with 11.0 points per game.
On the defensive end, Dubois is a force as well, averaging 5.9 rebounds per game.
Manhattan, a contender in the MAAC Championship for the last several years, is currently experiencing what some might call a “rebuilding year.”
New Head Coach Barry Rohrssen, Bobby Gonzalez’s successor, has some pretty big shoes to fill.
In Gonzalez’s seven-year tenure, he led the team to three MAAC Regular Season titles and two MAAC Championships. In 2004, the Jaspers beat Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Senior standout Jason Wingate is gone, and sophomore Jeff Xavier, one of Manhattan’s best players, transferred to Providence after last season.
To win, Fairfield must bounce back from a tough loss to Boston College Wednesday night.
The Stags kept things close for almost the entire first half, but faltered again on offense, ultimately losing 75-52. At one point, Fairfield did not score a bucket for five minutes and B.C. went on a 10-0 run.
Even when things are going well, a long scoring drought like this can kill a team’s momentum.
Fairfield needs to consistently take good shots and finish down low—something the Stags have shown they can do well in several games already.
Coming into Friday’s showdown, senior Mike Van Schaick leads the squad with 11.2 points per game.
Fellow-senior Marty O’Sullivan currently leads the team on the boards, averaging 6.2 rebounds per game.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Fairfield has a 3-5 overall record, while the Purple Eagles are 6-2. This Friday’s matchup will be the first conference game for both teams.
So far this season for Niagara, Shaunna Ambrose leads the team and the MAAC with 16.0 points per game. Joining her in double figures is Chantelle Wilson with 10.5.
Sarah Wilson leads the team on the boards with 8.5 rebounds per game.
To win, Fairfield must continue to generate offense. Before Sunday’s game versus North Dakota State, the Stags had been up and down execution-wise, scoring less than 50 points in two of their first three games.
On Sunday, the Stags scored 76 points and won 76-56. This year, Fairfield has won every time it has scored more than 70.
Even when the offense has not always been there, the Stags have played tough defense and rebounded well—especially against teams like Richmond and Villanova.
A key part of this solid defense has been the trio of Meka Werts `08, Tara Flaherty `10 and Stephanie Geehan `10. Werts leads the MAAC with 20 steals over eight games, while the two freshmen each have six or more rebounds per game.
Coming into the game for the Stags, junior Sabra Wrice leads the squad with a team-high 13.3 points per game.
Werts and sophomore Baendu Lowenthal are right behind her with 11.1 apiece.
The Stags will have to fend off Ambrose and a Purple Eagles team that is among the MAAC’s top five in offense.
If Fairfield carries its offensive momentum from last Sunday’s game into Friday’s game, and continues to play strong defense and crash the boards, the Stags will be in good shape.
Those games gave the young team useful experience, now it is time to see what they can do against teams more on their level.
Will they play like they did against Central Arkansas or St. Francis?
Cooley's first game against a MAAC team is a big one, against Manhattan, who has historically been Fairfield's conference rival. With just one day in between the BC game and Manhattan, and then one more day before a game against Canisius, the Stags will have to find a way to stay fresh.
With the number of players Cooley is able to rotate, I doubt that fatigue will be a problem. At the Hispanic College Fund Classic earlier this year, they played on three consecutive days and were able to win on the third day. If Herbie Allen's injured wrist is worse than it appears, the pressure will be on Jon Han to step up and play for more minutes than he has this year.
Here are my predictions for this first MAAC weekend of the year:
- Friday Night: Stags 56, Manhattan 52 - Fairfield will pull out a win in another tight game. Manhattan had a tough loss earlier in the year, but like the Stags their 2-5 record is not an indication of how good or bad they are. Manhattan did not have nearly as tough a schedule as Fairfield, but other than NJIT, they won the games they were expected to. It will be a tough fight for Fairfield, but I see them pulling this one out. The Stags need to be ready for a tough physical team, which plays a style similar to Pittsburgh. If they get out-toughed, as Cooley felt they were against St. Francis, it will be a rough night. Look for Michael Van Schaick to step up in this game, if he can hit his shots, the Stags will win.
- Sunday Night: Canisius 62, Stags 57 - After a physical game against Manhattan it is possible that the Stags will struggle against Canisius just two days later. This will be another tight game and it will depend on whether or not Fairfield can stick with Canisius through all 40 minutes or allow them to go on a run, like the Stags have allowed many times this year. Canisius is 2-4, but plays an up-tempo style and if Fairfield allows them to run, it could be a long night for the Stags.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
A few quick hits:
- When will Van Schaick find his rhythm? He had 7 points which was second in scoring, but is still far away from where he should be.
- Are we starting to see Mamadou? He played 11 minutes tonight, tallied four points. Devin Johnson played 22 minutes and scored eight. I see a pattern.
- Time for Roi. Though he has sparingly played (and had some NCAA issues earlier) he may be a sleeper for the Stags. If you can play internationally, you can play in the MAAC. His size will also be welcome on this team if he is used properly. Two minutes tonight...too little.
- Better to be an assistant on a good team or a head coach on a bad one? Poor Cooley. Though it is too early to tell how the Stags will fare in the MAAC, he has been embraced by this community and his team. Then his old team goes and defeats him by 23, how disrespectful.
In 11 games last season, Downing scored a team leading 26 goals. His 2.36
goals per game ranked him tops in the ECAC Lacrosse League and 11th
nationally. He finished the season with 35 points, third on Fairfield. Downing sits fifth all-time in Fairfield history with
114 points. His 81 career goals ranks him fifth all-time as well.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Fairfield has a 2-8 overall record, while the Eagles are 4-2.
So far this season for B.C., multiple players have led the offense. Chief among them is Jared Dudley, averaging 19.0 points per game.
Four other players are currently averaging double figures in points—some guys can flat out score. The Eagles have netted more than 80 points in three of their six games.
That does not mean they are unstoppable however. A mid-November loss to Vermont showed B.C.’s vulnerable side. Later that month, the Eagles dropped another one to Providence.
To win, Fairfield will need to generate more offense than it has in the past. Up until now, the Stags have shown a lot of intensity on defense, especially with rebounding. A main problem has not been the type of plays, but rather, their execution.
The Stags have generated some stellar fast breaks coupled with drives to the basket in their last few games, but have not been able to put the ball in the hoop on a consistent basis.
Nonetheless, given the team’s relatively young age, the squad has really shown a lot of promise.
Most notably, Fairfield dominated American University on the boards and came close to out-rebounding the Hoyas, 23 to 24.
Coming into Wednesday’s game for the Stags, freshman F Greg Nero continues to lead the squad with a team-high 13.4 points per game.
Senior Mike Van Schaick is right behind him with 11.6, thanks to a breakout performance this past Saturday versus St. Francis, when he scored 19 points.
Fellow-senior Marty O’Sullivan currently leads the team on the boards, averaging 6.5 rebounds per game.
The Stags will have to fend off Dudley and B.C.’s other big men. If they play as well as they did against the Hoyas, who had a 7’2” guy, they will be in good shape.
Another key to success will be staying out of foul trouble—something Anthony Johnson, Nero and O’Sullivan have gotten into early on in several games this season.
In their histories, B.C. and Fairfield have faced each other 35 times. This Wednesday’s matchup however, is the first under Head Coach Ed Cooley. The Eagles lead the series, 25 games to 10.
Here is what they have been working on:
Offense: Zone penetration - as teams pack the lane to prevent Fairfield's taller players from getting the ball, the Stags have been working on finding gaps in the zone. Nolan also feels that against MAAC teams, getting the ball up and out quickly before the opponents get set will help their offense out.
Defense: Nolan feel that their man defense is very strong and are currently working on a run and jump D. Also, she is introducing a 1-1-3 zone defense to give teams a different look.
Other notes: Stephanie Geehan stayed after practice to work with assistant coach Craig Madzinski. Already a strong rebounder, look for her to increase her scoring in the post as her extra reps pay off.
Against Niagra, look for the Stags to concentrate on stopping penetration as Niagara looks to drive and draw the foul. Fairfield will need to keep their hands in check and not reach for the ball; just concentrate on keeping their bodies in front of the opponents.
- A recap of the overtime thriller against St. Francis, 68-64 by Tom
- Are the seniors feeling the pressure heading into MAAC play? My story tells all.
- Christopher looks at the week that was for the women's team. We know you can't get enough Lady Pirate Classic coverage.
- Men's and Women's Report Cards by the Mirror Staff.
- Dan rants about something in his holiday column.
Until next time, keep viewing. - Keith
Following an exciting season that ended with a tough 2-0 loss to Towson in the second round of the NCAA tournament, three players from the team have been honored with post season awards. The NSCAA named senior midfielder Alex Cunliffe to the All-North Atlantic Region first team and juniors Tom Skara and Sam Bailey to the second team.
Cunliffe was the team's leading scorer this season with 20 points, scoring 8 goals and 4 assists. He finished his Stags career in eighth place on the Fairfield all-time scoring list. Cunliffe was also named to the All-MAAC team and was the MAAC tournament MVP. Cunliffe led the Stags in the their wins over Loyola and St. Peter's in the tournament, playing as the only forward. Head coach Carl Rees praised Cunliffe following the tournament, saying how difficult it is for a player to play as a lone striker.
Skara was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and led a solid Stags defense that finished in the top twenty in the nation in goals allowed, with only 0.84 goals scored against them per game on the year. Skara was a key player throughout the NCAA tournament, against both UConn and Towson as he faced talented forwards who put continous pressure on the goal. Skara showed his value at the end of both games, keeping the Towson game close and helping hold of UConn's final charge.
Bailey was the team's best offensive player after Cunliffe, scoring six goals, five of which were game winners. He also contributed with his passing, recording four assists on the year. Bailey will return next season as the team's go to scorer, with a chance to move into the all-time scoring spot. He has 42 career points, which is 12 points behind first place.
Brett Maron was named to the NSCAA third team All Northeast region, the first player to receive that honor since 1999. Maron had 17 shutouts on the year and moved into third place all time. She was named MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and was also a member of the MAAC first team. Her goals against average was the best in Fairfield history, at 0.93. Maron returns next season with hopes of moving up on the career wins list (she currently ranks fourth with 23), shutout list (she is 7 away from first) and saves list (she ranks third all time).
Ali Bart - Assistant Sports Editor
Mary Therese Church - Online Sports Editor
James Thompson - Assistant Online Sports Editor
Tom Cleary - Men's Basketball Beat Writer
Keith Conners - Men's Basketball Beat Writer
Chris Simmons - Women's Basketball Beat Writer
Michelle Morrison - Staff Writer
Brendan Monahan - Staff Writer
Frank Romano - Staff Writer
Bill Klump - Staff Writer
Kylie Jelley - Staff Writer
Ben Doody - Executive Editor/ Sports Contributor
Get ready! - Dan Akeson - Sports Editor
However, we have to continue to ask where the outside shooting will come from. The Stags shot 39% in field goals and 18% from three-point range.
Also, why is Mamadou being used so sparingly? Granted he was injured, but he leads the Stags in points per 40 minutes with 23. True an abstract statistic, but shouldn't it at least warrant more than 10 or so minutes a game?
That's it for now. - Dan
The Mirror Game Story at fairfieldmirror.com
Monday, December 4, 2006
A few other notes:
Fairfield takes on Providence tomorrow in what should be an interesting match up. In no way are the Stags given a legitimate chance, however now that they are off the schneid this could propel them into a big upset.
The women continue their win-one, lose-one pattern. They defeated NDSU 76-56 on Sunday and will play their first MAAC game at Niagara on Friday.