StagTracks

A first-person account of Stags Athletics!

Stags Keeper To Spend Summer Training In Brazil

Blog Note: Rising sophomore goalkeeper Matt Turner of the men’s soccer team is writing about his summer in Brazil.

Brazil has been a unique and an unbelievably good experience for me thus far. After arriving here from the 10 hour flight last Sunday morning, May 19th, I went into the city of Sao Paulo.  The first thing that struck me was the traffic.  The traffic is so bad in this city because there are so many people! I didn’t go to the academy until the next day.

The Traffic Futbol Academy hosts the club Desportivo Brasil’s youth teams.  The people that live here are comprised of u15s, u17s, and u20s.  The academy makes its money by selling players to clubs around the world. I am a part of the u20s, but we train alongside the 17s (when I’m not with the goalkeeper coach).  The quality of play is very high, and the training sessions are high intensity.  If you switch off for a moment you will lose the ball or concede a goal.

Soccer is life for the kids here, and everything they do is in preparation for the next day’s training. It’s fun to be in the professional environment.

For me it was difficult at first because there aren’t many English speakers here.  It was hard to branch out and make friends also because I didn’t get the opportunity to train until the Tuesday.  Once I began to train, the football really allowed me to settle in.

We train usually twice per day besides Thursdays when we only lift before our game on Fridays.  I got to play the entire game this past Friday.  Playing in a game is such a bonus for me because I only thought I was coming down here to train, but to get in-game experience as well is more than I could ask for.

We get weekends off, so I went back into the city of Sao Paulo and spent it with my dad at his hotel, it was refreshing to speak some English finally.

It’s the beginning of my second week here, and tonight I’m playing in the staff game versus the coaches of the Iranian National Team, it should be a really fun time.

Talk soon,

Stags Abroad – Matt Danaher

Blog Note: Fairfield University students have numerous opportunities to study abroad during their time on campus, and often student-athletes are among them.  Today’s Stags Abroad post is from men’s soccer player Matt Danaher who is currently in Ireland.

I can’t say enough about how much I’ve enjoyed playing with Salthill Devon F.C. for the last two months. We’ve played four friendly matches since I last wrote, one against the best team in Ireland in Sligo Rovers, the Ireland U-19

Matt Danaher is in Ireland, studying and playing soccer.

Matt Danaher is in Ireland, studying and playing soccer.

National Team, and two against county teams. These were four opportunities that I was extremely excited about, as it is not something I’ve ever had the chance to do before back in the United States.

I have to say, in the warm-up to the Sligo match, I was extremely nervous! I would glance to the other side of the pitch and see full-time professionals who play football for a living. I was on the bench for the first half, and I intently watched the game to see how the play was unfolding and where I could potentially find myself in the second half. The Sligo right-back, the captain, was playing on my side, so he was the one I watched the most. Every time he got the ball, he made his decision early; where he was going to pass it, if he was going to switch the play, if he was going to clip a ball in behind the back four. Just from a spectator’s perspective, I couldn’t believe how quick the speed of play was. Every player knew exactly what they were going to do with the ball when it got to them, and their movement off the ball was fantastic. Every player in the Sligo attack was 2 steps ahead of the last pass and were able to find space where a few seconds ago there was none.

Although I was initially nervous in the warm up, I thought about Dan Abrahams Soccer Tough and realized that in a game where the speed of play is that fast, you don’t have time to be nervous! You have to have full confidence in your abilities and your technique so you can focus on your movement, work rate, and decision-making. So as I warmed up to come on in the second half, I set my mindset on how I was going to check to the ball to receive the ball from the center back, and where I was going to be in our defensive shape when we didn’t have the ball. Tony Mannion, the manager, called me over around 25 minutes into the second half and put me on as a right-winger. At this point, Sligo were putting on a passing clinic, keeping the ball for the majority of the game. I think I might have touched the ball 3 times in the 20 minutes that I played, and all I could do was complete 3 passes to my teammates. I know I did more tracking of the Sligo left back than he did of me. Despite us losing 5-0, the experience of playing against a team like that is invaluable. You don’t fully appreciate the speed of play on the television until you are thrust into a situation with it.

The next match we played was against the Ireland U-19’s. While the starting 11 played the first half, the rest of the players and myself trained for an hour on the Astroturf pitch next to the field. We came onto the bench for the second half, and I came on as a left back in the 60th minute. It was a little awkward at first for me because I’m not naturally left footed, but I managed to get past two Irish players on an overlap and put a good cross into the penalty spot with my left foot. The next time I got the ball, I unbalanced the Irish back four with a long ball over the opposing left back to put our right winger in on goal, where he just nearly missed past the outside of the post.

In our most recent preseason friendly, I got the start at right back against Mayo County. It was one of the most beautiful days I’ve had so far in Ireland, so I couldn’t have asked for better weather to play in. Our team played well in the first half, and we found ourselves 3-0 up at halftime. I almost got myself on the score sheet when I came forward midway through the first half. A cross was over hit and as I came forward it bounced a couple yards away from me from the corner of the 18 yard box. I struck the ball on the way down and drilled it back across the frame of the goal, causing the keeper to parry it across and away from the goal. Over the course of the 55 minutes, I made sure to stay positive in everything I did. I made a few mistakes sure, but I made sure to immediately divert my attention away from them and back onto the game. I’ve stopped trying to be a perfectionist and just play because I love to play. If there’s anything that I can take back with me from Ireland to Fairfield for next fall, it’s going to be this mentality of focusing on the positive and being 100% confident in my ability.

Also, on a side note, last Saturday we had the day off so I had the opportunity to go see the Cliffs of Moher for the first time. They are truly breathtaking! I haven’t had the chance to do any traveling since I’ve been here, unlike my American friends (Talking to you Maddie) but I’m really happy I got the chance to see them. The pictures really don’t do the cliffs justice; you have to experience them for yourself to understand what I’m talking about. I made sure to wear my South Central Premier cap to give them a little shout out! I also wanted to give a little shout out to my BTE family. Eric and Mike, you guys have been with me this entire way and I can’t thank you enough for the things that you’ve done to get me to this point. Tiff, Matteo, and Manya, you guys are the best and whenever I hear about you guys doing well it’s like hearing about an accomplishment from a brother or sister. I always make sure to wear BTE on my wrist every game to remind myself of you all and to help me remember that I’m not doing this alone.

Unfortunately, as the first match approaches on March 8, I remain stuck in limbo. My international clearance has not come through yet from the United States, and until that happens I cannot play in any first team matches. Unfortunate as it is, there’s nothing I can do to control it. I could be cleared to play tomorrow, or it could be the end of April. All I know is that I can’t focus on that, I just have to remain positive and keep working hard and playing well in training and when my chance finally comes, I’ll grab it with both hands.

Thanks for reading, God bless, and go Stags!

Special K

Sorry, we know it has been a while since we’ve talked but we let midterms, 6am practice and turkey comas get the best of us. Thankfully our blessed coaches have limited the amount of 6:15am workouts to twice a week, don’t get me wrong #FUSBoncall24/7 is ALWAYS in full effect.

I think Coach Laura and Coach B realized what a drag morning practices are so they introduced Team Olympics. Our entire team was split into four teams and told to choose a team name. The teams are as followed: Sleepyheads, PMS, Boom and Clueless. Games have ranged from soccer, basketball, relay races, ultimate handball and poison ivy. If you are imagining delicate girls running around making sure they are ever so careful in not shoving anyone or stepping on any toes, think again. These are the OLYMPICS people, and we are Division I athletes, we all want that #GOLD. Our true teammates may be our competitors for 45 minutes but, by the end of the morning we are back united as one team.

In the locker room, we are all laughing about how Coach Laura caught one of us cheating or how Coach B just gave up on us completely because we turned into a pack of savages during the game. #FUSB #oneofakind #ifyournotcheatingyournottrying?  Regardless we are all very happy with the new addition to our weekly practice routine.

As for lifting, Spellman is still our best friend. You know you’re lifting the right amount of weight when your family back at home comments on how your arms look like they might pop out of the sleeves of your shirt. #mustwinMAACS

Well, just as we did with this blog, we procrastinated far too long on the homework we have due tomorrow . . . so that is all for now #FUSB fans.

We promise to write again soon,

Special K

Blog Note: Softball players Kristen Filicia and Kimi Kurata are teaming up to bring Special K to StagTracks.

Keeping Up The Chase

Blog Note: Greg Chase is a senior on the men’s cross country team. When not running for the Stags, Greg is involved in numerous campus organizations and community service activities. You can keep up with him all season long on StagTracks.

 

Hey Stag Tracks Followers!

Today is the eve of the biggest day of my cross country career. Tomorrow we will be running the MAAC Cross Country Championship at 8am. What makes this one better than the last three years of conference championships? Well, BECAUSE WE ARE IN DISNEY WORLD!!!

So, we’ll be running in the morning at the ESPN Wide World of Sports which will also be on ESPN3! We not only want to perform well for the conference championship but also to look good for the University, since people can watch it from all over the nation.

Noting all of this, I just want to say that I’m so proud to be a senior in Fairfield’s Cross Country program. All five of the guys who joined me as the Class of 2013 four years ago are all still on the team. Disney, thus, becomes the greatest way to say goodbye to a program we’ve put so much heart, energy, and time into.

I really have to take the time to thank my parents for adopting me and bringing my twin brother and me into America and giving us not only an opportunity of a lifetime but really a second chance at life.

I also have to thank everyone at Fairfield for keeping faith in the cross country program over the long decades and helping us recruit better runners, attend more competitive meets, and help us fundraise. Obviously, a huge shout out to the fans. For those who do come out and support us, it is greatly appreciated. I also have to give a shout out to Athletic Directors Kelly McCarthy and Joe Klauder for helping us out with everything this weekend and of course, Coach Sags and Coach Maloney. Unfortunately, Coach Maloney can’t be with us this week and so we send him our hopes and prayers.

I can’t say how excited I am to be here in Disney right now as it is almost unreal trying to sit here and wrote this while still trying to soak it all in. I’m just so excited, so blessed, and so ready to put my best foot forward in tomorrow’s race.

Plan on writing again after Disney and can’t wait to fill you all in on our performance and our day in the park!

-Greg Chase

On Deck With Cacky & Meredith

Blog Note: Cacky Keating and Meredith LaBerge are teaming up to provide a look into Fairfield Swimming & Diving for Stag Tracks this season.

Hey Stags!

Last Saturday we had our third meet of the season against Manhattan and came out with a double win on both the men’s and women’s sides!

Our women’s team was favored going into the meet, so we had a little bit of a fun meet where we switched our events around, swimming some strokes we normally don’t swim. It was definitely fun and less stressful!

The men, on the other hand, had a tough meet that we knew was going to be close, but they pulled ahead the end!  Besides the win, there were many records shattered on Saturday on the men’s side. Freshman Connor Daly broke the 200-meter IM and 100m fly records. Junior Cody Parker broke two very old and fast times in 200m free and 400m free. Senior Ryan Krebs won both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events, which helped the men’s team earn numerous and important points.

A large tailgate followed the meet with all parents and alumni from our team. It was great getting to see our old teammates. The next day, Sunday, we hosted our final swim lesson session for the fall, which concludes our fundraising event for our annual training trip to Hawaii in January.

This week we began including weightlifting into our schedule, so some days we are working out three times, but the hard work will pay off!  This Friday, October 26, we will be hosting Fordham at 5pm in the RecPlex for another tough meet!  Hopefully we will be updating you next week with another win!

Go Stags!

Cacky and Meredith

M&M Boys

Blog Note: Max Buchanan and Marshall Johnson, members of the men’s lacrosse team, will be pairing up throughout the season to give you a view from their eyes.

Well this week marks the last week of practice until the spring comes.  Fall ball has been a bit of a roller coaster.  We’ve had some fun days and some days that divided the men from the boys, but it’s all been good progress on our way to getting better.

Since this is a “game week” practice started off especially tough today.  About halfway through, however, the mood was lightened a bit when junior defensemen Greg Perraut was formally introduced to freshman defensemen Rob Popdan who basically gave Greg a big bear hug.  I’ve seen girls hit harder, but it was nice to see that Rob is a little bit tougher than we thought.  It was all good competition though.  No hate between the two, just a desire to win.

This weekend promises to be a fun one with all our alumni coming back to play and spend the weekend here in Fairfield.  Our very own MLL champion Brent Adams will be back to showcase his professional talent.  Most of our parents will be making appearances as well to get a taste of what this season will bring.  Hopefully this formal “red/white” scrimmage will live up to all the hype that it has been getting.

Next Monday is the start of the final winter conditioning for me and the rest of the senior class.  I don’t think we can say we’ll miss it, but it’s necessary evil in order for us to be in the best shape as possible come January.  That being said, my partner in crime Maxwell Buchanan will be joining the fat boy club for the second season in row.  Max and the rest of the fat boys will be getting in tip top shape over the next 6 weeks.

All that being said, we are going to do our best to have a great week of practice, so we can impress the fans on Saturday morning.  Hope to see you all out there.

Yours truly,

Marshall

The Special K Debut!

Hello readers,

My name is Kristen Filicia and I would like to finally introduce myself along with my partner, Kimi Kurata, to Stag Tracks and its followers. Kimi and I are both juniors on the softball team who have become Stags all the way from California. We are special in more ways than one and will refer to ourselves throughout the year as Special K. We will do our best to post blogs about the softball team if and when we find time away from our many practicesand workouts. #FUSBonDemand

The Stag softball team has a short window of time where weekends are free of softball and Tis’ the season so what better way to celebrate then a little apple picking.

On Sunday the team carpooled up to the Beardsley’s Cider Mill & Orchard located in Shelton, Conn. There were hundreds of apples, but only a few were ready to be picked. It was picking time for Winesap, Braeburn and Fuji apples, but this didn’t stop us from exploring the whole orchard. We selected a few of our favorites and then went into the Farm Bakery to enjoy some apple donuts and cider.

Apple picking was a delicious success and a first timer for many of us. All the apples we ate seemed to benefit us at our 6:45 a.m strength and conditioning session this morning, as we all survived the lift and passed our sprint test.

Until next time … Go Stags!

Special K

On Deck With Cacky & Meredith

It’s great to be back in the water and racing again!! We had our first meet of the season last weekend against Boston College. It came down to a close finish between the two teams. Even though BC ended up pulling ahead, we were excited with how we all swam. We had some very exciting races that got us enthusiastic for the rest of our season.  This coming weekend, we are heading up to Holy Cross for our second meet where we hope to have even more AMAZING races and get our first win under our belt!

Even though our meets have started, we are still continuing to do double practices every day and we are adding weightlifting into our schedule next week. But, when you swim well at the meets, it makes it a little easier to get up at 5:30am because you can see all of your hard work beginning to pay off!

Aside from swimming, the entire team has been active in the community as well. We are currently teaching swim lessons for three hours on Sundays every week. And, during the last weekend of September, our team participated in the JTB Heart Club Walk on campus. Just to give you a little background, the Club is a chapter of the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation, a non-profit established to prevent sudden cardiac death. The Foundation was named in honor John Taylor Babbitt who died at the age of 16 when his heart stopped during a basketball game at his church gym.

Anyway, the Walk began at noon and ended at 2pm, with a lunch and snacks. This leisurely walk was 2-miles around campus, passing all eight AEDs (automated external defibrillators) located here. More than 160 students participated and the Club raised about $2,000 dollars, which will help Fairfield purchase more AEDs for campus! The event was a great success and, hopefully, the Club will continue hosting this Walk every fall, raising more and more money to purchase AEDs for every building on campus.  If you are interested in becoming a member of the Club, please contact me, Cacky Keating.

Well, that’s it for now! We hope to see you all at our next home meet, our MAAC opener against Manhattan College, on October 20th at 12pm!

Casey’s Corner

Blog note: Casey Heely is a freshman goalkeeper for the Fairfield field hockey team.

 

It’s been a bumpy ride since our venture to Michigan two weeks ago.  We have had six matchups, one being our first conference game of the season.

Two weekends ago, we shut out Holy Cross 4-0 in a great performance by the Stags. We then fell to Columbia 4-3 at their field, a tough loss. Unfortunately we then fell to our first conference opponent in double overtime. Although we lost the match, we competed with UNH for the majority of the game, with massive saves by Maddy Sposito, along with defensive saves by Michelle Loor and Nikki McLucas and a picture perfect goal by Lindsey Hatch assisted by Hillary Fitts. The game had many highlights, but we were unable to pull through with the desired result.

With hope to avenge this loss, we traveled to Rhode Island on Sunday to face Brown University. This match was particularly special for me because it was my first collegiate start, where I was given my first 70 minutes of hockey. I had missed being on the pitch, for in high school, I played essentially every minute of every game for four years, finishing with a heartbreaking loss in the Suffolk County championships in sudden death strokes. You could say I was itching to redeem myself from that game that still haunts my dreams. However, the first half was a definite reminder of how I am competing at a level superior to my previous experience. Within the first three minutes I was scored on, which was not easy to cope with. Then, before the end of the half I was scored upon two more times. I felt that I had worked so hard for this moment to prove that everything I had done since August 10th was worth it. But, as the sport goes, you don’t always get what you wish for.  My teammates were more than supportive; especially my fellow goalie Maddy [Sposito] and they all forced me to refocus on what I knew I could do. So for the second half, I was able to keep the ball out of the net. However, it was not enough, as we still fell 3 to 1.

Our assistant coach Joey [Civico] always tells us “it’s the next game that defines you.” I appreciatively got this chance a few days later when we faced Siena College, where I again started and played the entire game. It was an impressive turnout by the stags, with an 8-0 win—and my first shutout. Although I only had four saves, it was still a confidence boost from the tough Brown loss. It gave me the belief that as long as I put my mind to it, I can be the goalkeeper my team needs me to be.

After this game, we traveled eight hours up to the University of Maine where we competed in our second conference game. Another heartbreaking loss of 2-1 in overtime, with the Stags dominating the entire game, made for a rough trip home. Even from the sideline it was hard to bear. This Friday, we hope to come back from our two conference losses when we face America East opponent University of Albany on our home field at 3 PM.

The M&M Boys

Blog Note: Max Buchanan and Marshall Johnson, members of the men’s lacrosse team, will be pairing up throughout the season to give you a view from their eyes.

Greetings to all readers who continue to read these blogs. I would like to apologize on the tardiness of this piece because of the serious schoolwork that was thrown at me last week. Therefore I was unable to get into the blogging mood/flow.

Anyways I would like to introduce you readers to my partner Marshall Johnson who is supposed to help me compose these masterpieces. A few words on Marshall, he likes to be portrayed as a very intimidating and scary man, but he really is a little softy who sleeps with his “blanky and teddy” at night and gets popped in practice by freshman TJ Neubauer. #SitMarshall

Speaking of freshman I would like to mention one of the most interesting people I have ever met, Tom Branca. Tom is a very diverse and interesting human being. When Tom isn’t playing goalie he likes posting “selfies” of himself on Facebook along with playing piano. He is a quite talented pianist with the ability to play music ranging from Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles which is a wonderful tune. He will be holding frequent locker room concerts for all who are interested.

#IDon’tAlwaysListenToPianoButWhenIDoIPreferTomBranca

This past week has been quite a blur due to the lack of sleep and studying so I will try my best to give the recap of the week. We had a few players return, including Tom “The Baptist” Lukacovic and Mike “The Smartest Filmer” Roe. Welcome back to the madness men. Speaking of madness Coach Spellman made us push a sled and drag a chain 100 yards. This really showed what team was made of. I saw a few young ones turn blue in the face and shaky legs because they have never experienced the craziness that Fairfield University Men’s Lacrosse endures on a daily bases, but to their credit they persevered the madness. Well Done.

Finally I would like to give a shout out to our very own Coach Lopes for managing to keep it real on a day-to-day basis. Whether it is warming up the goalies with that smooth low to high ripper or watching me suffer doing abs he always manages to keep it real. #CoachLopesIsAnAnimal

Thanks for reading,

Max

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