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Lindsey Barnes was one of the top defenders in the MAAC in 2024.

NCAA Rewind: Uber-Consistent Fairfield a Top Mid-Major Threat

July 3, 2024
Kenny DeJohn
Peter McLean / Fairfield Athletics

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.


USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: unranked/also considered
2024 record: 16-3 (9-0 MAAC)

What went right: Fairfield was once again a MAAC powerhouse, overcoming an unexpected season-opening loss to Holy Cross to win out the rest of the regular season. What became a 16-game winning streak came to an end to upstart Niagara in the MAAC championship game, leaving Fairfield waiting anxiously for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Stags earned a spot but lost in the first round to Johns Hopkins.

Offensively, Fairfield boasted nine players with at least 21 points and six players with at least 20 goals. Elizabeth Talluto led the team with 56 goals, 27 assists and 83 points, with Libby Rowe (42G, 23A) and Amanda Kozak (33G, 7A) imposing their will, too.

There were things to like defensively, too, with Lindsey Barnes putting together one of the top not-talked-enough-about seasons in the country. Her 56 ground balls and 34 caused turnovers both led the team, helping MAAC goalie of the year Claire Morris face minimal pressure.

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What went wrong: The fourth quarter of the MAAC championship game against Niagara is a 15-minute period the Stags would love to have back. They opened the final quarter clinging to a 9-8 lead after squashing a 6-2 deficit, but Niagara opened the fourth with three straight goals to go ahead 11-9 with 9:55 left.

The Fairfield offense only got one more the rest of the way. Thankfully for the Stags, their resume was a strong enough to still earn an NCAA tournament berth.

Season highlight: A 12-5 win over Drexel — another NCAA tournament team — on March 9 was perhaps the perfect confluence of steady offense and sturdy defense. Grace Slater had her season-best performance with four goals and two assists, and the defense limited Drexel to 17 shot attempts.

Verdict: Fairfield has become one of the top mid-major programs in women’s lacrosse, one capable of beating a notable team and one that will always be in contention for the MAAC title. What it does next to thrust itself into the national conversation remains to be seen, but Fairfield is not a team to be slept on.