FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield University women's lacrosse team heads to the 2017 MAAC Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. to face Marist in the semifinals on Friday, May 5 at 4:00 p.m.
No. 2 Fairfield (11-5, 7-1 MAAC) vs. No. 3 Marist (10-8, 5-3 MAAC): The Stags and Red Foxes will meet on Friday for the 29th time in program history. Fairfield topped Marist in the regular season, 10-9, in overtime on April 15.
Scouting the Red Foxes: Marist is coming off a 17-10 first round win over sixth seeded Quinnipiac on April 29. Olivia Pitonzo led the Red Foxes with three goals and five assists, while Hailey Wagner tallied two goals, four assists, and grabbed 21 draw controls. Abigail Witczak faced 22 shots, while making 10 saves against the Bobcats. On the season, Pitonzo leads the MAAC with 42 assists, Wagner is the league leader with 127 draw controls, and Witczak leads the conference in save percentage (.510) and saves per game (11.39).
Last Time Out: The Stags closed the regular season on April 26 with a 14-6 win over Manhattan. Senior Riley Hellstein tied a career-high by scoring seven goals against the Jaspers. Alex Fehmel had a hand in four goals as she scored twice and dished out two assists. Scarlett Sulliman tallied two goals while recording one assist. Brenna Connolly tallied two goals, while freshman Meaghan Graham fired home her first career goal. And rounding out the offense statistics, Kathleen Hulseman handed out an assist. Between the pipes, Caleigh O'Connor tallied her 11th win of the season while making five saves in just over 43 minutes of work. Amy White and Caitlin Bennett split the remainder of time for the Stags.
Career Milestones: Seniors Riley Hellstein and Alex Fehmel have now both tallied over 100 goals in their Fairfield careers, making them just the 11th and 12th players in program history to hit that mark.
Both seniors also rank in the Top 10 in free position goals, Hellstein with 43 and Fehmel with 33. And are tied with the most career game-winning goals (10).
Hellstein has also racked up 161 draw controls in her career to become the program's all-time leader in that category.
Fehmel has jumped into the Top 10 this season with 77 caused turnovers in her career, placing her with the seventh most in program history.
National Notice: Fairfield as a team ranks among the best in the nation at converting their free position shots. For the season, they have scored 52 times on 100 chances (.520) ranking 7th best in the country.
The Stags post the No. 1 scoring defense in the MAAC and tied for 13th best in the country allowing just 8.81 goals per game.
At 3.40 goals per game, Hellstein ranks second in the MAAC and tied for 12th best in the nation. And with 4.40 points per game, is second in the league while ranking tied for 21st best in the country. She also leads the MAAC with 1.20 free position goals per game, a mark that is 4th best in the nation.
Leaders in the MAAC: Besides Hellstein on the offensive end, the Stags' senior goalkeeper Caleigh O'Connor has the best goals against average in the conference and 14th best in the country allowing just 8.86 goals per game.
Sophomore Erin Mammele has collected 82 draw controls to break the program's single-season record of 55 set last year by Colleen Reynolds. And with an average of 5.12 per game she is third best in the MAAC.
Junior Brenna Connolly leads the Stags with 21 assists this season while recording 1.31 per game, which ranks seventh best in the league.
Fehmel and Hellstein rank fourth and fifth in the league with 1.62 and 1.53 caused turnovers per game, respectively.
Looking Ahead: If Fairfield can get past Marist, they would advance to the 2017 MAAC Championship Game on Sunday, May 7 at noon to face the winner of No. 1 Canisius and No. 4 Niagara. The MAAC Tournament Champion will receive the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.