Hofstra's Alyssa Parrella (7) takes that ball to the net...

Hofstra's Alyssa Parrella (7) takes that ball to the net and scores in the first half while being covered by Fairfield's Kathleen Hulseman (14) during the NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse game between Hofstra and Fairfield on Saturday Feb. 24 , 2018 at Hofstra University. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Perhaps the lesson in the Hofstra women’s lacrosse team’s 13-12 overtime loss to Fairfield in a non-conference game Saturday is that middles matter. The middle of the game that is. The Pride played well in the first and last 10 minutes of the dreary afternoon contest at Shuart Stadium, but ultimately did not do enough to keep their unblemished record alive past the final weekend of February.

Fairfield’s Brenna Connolly, who hails from Wantagh, scored on a free position shot with 41 seconds left in the first overtime to send Hofstra home disappointed. The goal capped a whirlwind 12 minutes in which the Pride took the lead with under two minutes left, only to have it wiped away as regulation ticked away.

Alyssa Parrella scored with 1:23 left in regulation to give them a 12-11 lead, but Hofstra’s defense could not make a stop at the end and Fairfield’s Jillian Winwood, from Kings Park, scored on a free position shot as time expired to send the game into overtime.

Parrella led Hofstra (2-1) with six goals and showed, once again, why the sophomore is so essential to the Pride’s success. Winwood and Connolly both scored four times for Fairfield (2-2). Their teammate, Olivia Russell of Sayville, scored three goals.

“Any loss is a wake-up call for any team,” said Drew Shapiro, who scored twice. “We have to realize what went wrong and what we need to focus on to fix it.”

Hofstra dominated the first 12 minutes, riding two Parrella goals and one each from Jenna Budd and Katie Whelan for a 4-0 lead. But Fairfield soon woke up and slowly but surely outscored the Pride 8-2 in the final 21:22 of the first half.

“We were losing draw controls and forcing things on offense,” Hofstra coach Shannon Smith said. “We just weren’t playing well. Defensively, we were spotting upfield and not covering our matchups and getting beat . . . We were 2-0 and I think we got complacent. Fairfield was coming off some really tough one-goal [losses]. They took it to us. We weren’t ready for the matchup.

“I think we went up 4-0 and started to pack up and head home, thinking we had the win, ” Smith added.

Parrella’s third goal, notched with 13:23 left in the first half gave Hofstra a 6-4 lead, but the Pride would not convert again until after the break. Fairfield scored the final four goals of the first half, including three straight by Russell. Russell tied the score at six with 5:23 left, gave Fairfield a 7-6 lead with 3:41 left, and increased the visitor’s lead to 8-6 with 3:28 before halftime.

“We just weren’t focused for those [middle] 40 minutes,” Smith said. “We just didn’t play well. We made a lot of mistakes defensively, offensively, and on draw controls. We have to clean that up and we have to be better.”

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