Five fall teams win MAAC titles


The fall season in Fairfield sports has been one for the record books. All five teams won conference regular season titles and two of those teams went on to capture the conference tournament crown as well.

Women's golf does not have a traditional regular season, but it captured the MAAC Tournament championship.

In addition, five head coaches were named Coach of the Year: Maria Piechocki of women's soccer, Carl Rees of men's soccer, Jackie Leonard of field hockey, Todd Kress of volleyball, and Kevin Kiesel of football.

The football, men's soccer, women's soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams each set a school record for most wins in a season. Overall, athletic teams combined for 100 victories during the season and won over 80 percent of their games.

The football team went 9-2, finishing 6-1 in the MAAC, and won the conference title. Not bad for a three-year-old team that won only one game in its inaugural season. Safety Chris Silvestri, the team's only senior, helped the defense become the best in the nation, finishing first in Division I-AA for both total defense and rushing defense. On offense, quarterback Jim Lopusznick threw for more than 2,000 yards and scored 34 touchdowns (27 passing, seven rushing) to pace the offense.

The women's soccer team advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season, sweeping the MAAC regular season with a 9-0 record and posting two more wins against conference foes in the MAAC tournament. The team set a school standard with most wins in a season with 18 against just two defeats. Seven Stag players received first-team All-MAAC honors, including MAAC Player of the Year Abby Allan and MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year Anne Lyons. Joining Allan and Lyons for honors were Julie Stevens, Erin Caven, Suzy Folger, Pam Cluff and Colleen O'Connor. In addition, Jen Mitchell, Mackenzie Bruno, Eileen Murray and Gina Pantuosco earned a spot on the MAAC's All-Academic team.

The men's soccer team won a school-record 15 wins, going 15-4-1 overall and 7-1-1 in the MAAC. The Stags won the MAAC regular season title, but lost 1-0 to Rider University in the MAAC tournament finals. Still, the team secured the first national ranking of any Fairfield athletic team, reaching 24th during the season. Six players received All-MAAC berths - Aaron Kingi, Lee Williams, Dave Mancini, Rob DeFaveri, Danny Glynn and Sebastian Wojkaszka. Tom Bowles, Brian Homowitz and Mancini each earned MAAC All-Academic honors.

The field hockey team was regular season champion and set a school record for victories, going 14-8 overall and 5-1 in the Patriot League. Five Fairfield players collected academic honors from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA), including Carrie Flammia, Katie Jeffrey, Jodie Kuczarski, Nora Moran and Patricia Stanley. Kuczarski and Kandiss Kulp also received spots on the NFHCA's Mideast Region All-America team.

The volleyball team clinched the MAAC regular season and tournament titles for the second straight season. The Stags lost to Clemson in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Stags went 35-2, a program high in wins, and won 27 straight matches before losing to Clemson. Fairfield won its third straight MAAC regular season title as well as a second straight MAAC Tournament crown to advance to the national tournament. Sara Lein was named MAAC Player of the Year. Plus, Liz Bower, Jen McLaughlin and Lein were All-MAAC, while Kim Thomas and Liz Cassinelli were MAAC All-Academic.

The women's golf team shot a two-day total of 780 (386-394) and finished five strokes ahead of Siena College to capture the first MAAC women's golf championship. Sophomore Sarah Scattamacchia (Hampton, N.H.) won the individual MAAC title, shooting a two-round total of 183.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on December 1, 1998