The Fresno State lacrosse team had 39 fouls called on them in its 22-12 loss against Vanderbilt. Head coach Jessica Giglio is blaming anyone and anything but the officials.
“I’m never going to blame an official for winning or losing a game. [The officiating] was something that we clearly couldn’t adjust to because [Vanderbilt] were hardly getting any fouls called on them,” Giglio said.
The Bulldog fans were more vocal than Giglio about their displeasure with the officiating. The complaints grew louder with each call.
Some fans even sarcastically cheered the officials when they made a call in favor of the ‘Dogs.
Early on, the physical play worked to the advantage of the Bulldogs. The physicality frustrated the Commodores players.
Defender Margaret Fee’s frustration compelled her to push one of the Bulldogs players after the whistle.
Fresno State established a 5-3 lead midway through the first half, which the defense helped create with turnovers it forced and clears it created.
But then, the Bulldogs’ physicality became a liability.
The Commodores went on a 7-0 run that put them up by five goals going into halftime. Four of the goals in that run came off free positioning from Bulldog fouls.
The ‘Dogs were also left a player down for two minutes when the team accumulated four yellow cards in the first half.
“It’s something that we have to work on and figure out how to fight through adversity and still come out on top while staying true to ourselves and being a physical team,” Giglio said.
She added that the new rules – which make free positioning shots easier to come by – did not help make the fouls any easier for which to compensate.
With the ‘Dogs down, Giglio was left looking for answers, which resulted in making a change at goalie.
Laurel Maunder was subbed out for Natalie Chaffin with a little under nine minutes left in the first half.
“[Chaffin] is a great goalie for us and [Maunder] just wasn’t really seeing the ball, and we wanted to get a little change and put Natalie in, and she stepped up,” Giglio said.
Chaffin finished the game with 10 saves, but the Commodores showed her no mercy, netting 14 goals on her, as well.
Neither Chaffin nor Maunder was completely responsible for the 22 goals allowed. Commodore attackers had their way with Bulldog defenders, especially in the second half.
Cutters were able to find holes in the ‘Dogs’ man and zone defenses. Giglio said that when the defense did do its part, the offense failed to capitalize.
“It’s nice that we have a little bit of time before our next game. We’re going to work on [defense],” Giglio said. Fresno State has eight days before its next game against St. Bonaventure, the third and final game of its homestand.
Giglio chose to look for the silver lining in the Bulldogs’ loss.
“There were some really nice moments that we put some things together,” Giglio said. “We had four players with [multiple] goals and assists, and it’s something that we need to continue to do.”
Fresno State also made the most of its free positioning opportunities, going 5-for-6 on those shots.
“We’re going to keep playing hard and keep focusing on us and keep focusing on the next game and the next win,” Giglio said.