To the Founders and Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse-The Fairfield Stags withstood a furious second half run by the Air Force Falcons with a goal by Junior Attack Jordan Greenfield with 33 seconds left in the game to break an 8-8 tie. This pushed the Stags overall record to 7-5 and a 3-2 record in the ECAC Lacrosse League. The game was played at Lessing Field that was soft due to Friday night’s rain and the Women’s Lacrosse game played at 11 AM under cloudy skies with a nice breeze, 50 degrees temperatures. What happen to the bright and sunny 60 degree day promised by the weatherman? The Stag’s ECAC Lacrosse League playoff chances got a big boost today when Hobart beat Bellarmine in 2 OTS with a 9-8 score.
The game opened with Air Force’s Erik Smith taking on Michael Roe in the face off circle to start the game. Roe wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. However, the Falcons causes a turnover right away and Air Force starts on the attack. They work the ball around and at 14:05 Air Force’s Christopher Allen scores unassisted to take a 1-0 Air Force lead. Air Force sends out anther FOGO man- Bryan Price. The move to Price pays off and Kyle O’Brien playing the wing for the Falcons gets to the loose ball. Keith Dryer takes a wide shot and the Falcons back up the shot. At 13:10, Air Force turn over the ball and the Stags clear. The Stags offense is patient while probing the Falcon’s defense. At 11:51, Freshman Middie Conor Dalton nets a goal to tie the game at 1-1. Sophomore Attack Tristian Sperry gets the assist on the goal. Price returns to the face off circle to take on Roe. Price wins the face off with his wing Alex Warren getting to the loose ground ball. After working the ball for 30 seconds, the Falcons turnover the ball and Senior Co-Captain Middie Marshall Johnson gets to the ground ball. The Stags move the ball into the offensive zone and at 10:15, Junior Attack Eric Warden hits the back of the net. Super Soph Colin McLinden who is a natural feeder gets the assist and the Stags now lead 2-1. Price and Roe continue their face off battle and Price wins this one. Air Force’s Kyle O’Brien gets the ground ball. After working the ball in the offensive box, Air Force’s Smith takes a shot that Junior Goal Keeper Jack Murphy makes the save. He starts the clear and the Stags are working hard for a shot but there are no openings for almost 60 seconds. Greenfield rolls off of his defender and sneaks his first goal of the day just past the goalkeeper. Stags now lead 3-1 at 8:04 and the Falcons’ coach calls time out to break the momentum. On the face off, Air Force’s Bryan loses the face to Roe and McLinden playing on the wing gets the loose ground ball. The Fairfield offense is working to find an opening when a loose ball push call goes against the Stags. McLinden in error rolls the ball away instead of just dropping the ball and the officials call a 30 second delay of game penalty at 7:08 of the period. The Falcons’s extra man unit has its first chance. They work the ball around the wheel quickly and Tommy McKee rips one past Murphy with 6:50 left in the first quarter. The score is now 3-2 and the Falcons’ leading scorer Mike Crampton getting the assist. Roe and Price renew their face off battle and Price wins and he also gets the grond ball. The Falcons set up their attack and a shot by Dreyer gets saved by Murphy. He gets the loose ground ball and starts the clear. The Fairfield attack takes it time and at 4:46 remaining in the period they start shooting to get that 4th goal of the quarter. First McLinden sends one wide and the Stags retain the ball. Twenty seconds later, Sperry gets a loose ground ball around the cage and shoots but the Falcons’ Goal Keeper Austin Fox makes a save. McLinden gets the rebound ground ball and passes to Greenfield whose shot is blocked by Air Force’s defense. Fairfield keeps the ball and then McLinden sends a wide shot with the Stags backing up to keep the ball. At 2:28, Greenfield curls around the cage and finds a small opening. He puts it past Fox unassisted and now the Stags lead 4-2. Price and Roe continue their game within the game. Price wins this battle and also gets the ground ball. However, Air Force can not get the ball past the midfield stripe and Warden causes a turnover. The loose ground ball is picked up by Sperry and he wastes no time and his shot is into the back of the net. The goal is unassisted and comes with 2:09 left in the period. The Stags now lead 5-2. Air Force’s Smith comes out to take the face off against Roe. Smith wins the draw and gets the ground ball. Falcons set up their attack and the Stags defense does not want to give up a last second goal. McLinden causes Air Force’s Crampton to turn the ball over with 1:09 remaining in the quarter. The Stags clear and work to get one more goal in the first quarter but find no chances. The first quarter ends with a 5-2 Stags lead. This is one of Fairfield’s most productive scoring periods of the year.
The second quarter starts with Price back in the face off circle against Roe. Roe wins this face off and gets to the ground ball. The Stags offense is working the ball all around waiting to take a good shot. After 64 seconds, Johnson gets a great pass from Sophomore Middie Drew Federico and Johnson gets his senior day goal. Federico is credited with the assist and the Stags now lead 6-2. Air Force changes up face off men and now Smith is out at the X taking on Roe. Roe beats him and gets the ground ball. O’Brien from Air Force creates a quick turnover and the Falcons’ Crampton picks up the ground ball. The officials think Junior Long Pole Defender Toby Armour is too aggressive and call him for a slashing penalty. The officials had a bad day on Saturday and one example was the official blowing the whistle to end play when the flag was down before the Stags got possession or the ball went out of play. Air Force’s coach was very upset on this blown call. Armour gets one minute and the Falcons EMO unit comes out on the field for the second time at 13:34. The Falcons work the ball around and 20 seconds into the man up, they take a shot that Murphy saves. Air Forces gets to the rebound and continue to work the ball around. At 12:46, Kyle Cassady scores the extra man goal with an assist from Keith Dreyer. The Stags lead is now 6-3. Roe and Price are at the face off circle and Price is called for a violation. Fairfield ball. The Stags turn the ball over 40 seconds into the offensive attack and Air Force clears. The Falcons’ Tommy McKee takes a quick shot that Murphy saves. Junior D Middie Shawn Honovich gets the ground ball and speeds down field (he is the fastest player on the Stags). While running down field, Honovich creates all sorts of chaos for the Falcons. They have too many men on the field and the flag flies and while the slow whistle is on the field, Air Force draws a second flag for interference. Again the same official blows his whistle with two flags down before the Falcons can recover the ball or it goes out of bounds. Coach Copelan is now upset at the same blown call! Fairfield now has a two man advantage for 30 seconds at 10:47 with Air Force’s Warden getting the interference call and Ryland De Poi serving the too many men on the field penalty. The Stags have two men up for 30 seconds. They take 19 seconds off the clock and Neubauer’s shot is blocked. Coach Copelan calls a time out with 11 seconds left on the double man up. Out of the time out, Neubauer gets another shot off but it is high. Time expires on the penalties and after the Stags retaining the ball for 30 seconds, a turnover is committed and Air Force gets the ball. The clear is successful and Air Force calls time out at 9;17. Except for a 30 second pushing penalty by the Stags at 7:02 and the Stags successfully defend, both teams can not score before the end of the period. With 42 seconds left in the half, the Falcons’ Taylor Hanley is called for a cross checking penalty that is unreleasable. The Stags’ Junior Attack Alex Cramer takes a point blank shot with 27 left in the period that the Air Force’s Fox makes a stone cold save! The period ends with a loose ball that the officials rule that was in possession by Air Force before the period ends thus the Falcons will start the second half with possession of the ball.
The third period starts with Air Force in possesion of the ball deep in their defensive zone. With some effort the Falcons clear the ball and kill the penalty. The third period is a seesaw battle with both teams taking their time when they have offensive efforts. Neither team can hit a shot for the first 12 and half minutes in the third period. With 3:43 remaining in the period, Neubauer takes a shot that Fox saves, gets the rebound ground ball and Fox starts a successful clear. The Falcons move the ball quickly and Cassady gets a goal with and assist from Dreyer to cut the Stags lead to 6-4 with 2:45 remaining in the period. Price and Roe renew their face off battles. This time Price wins and gets to the ground ball. He attempts to set up the attack. With 2:09 left in that half, Air Force’s Curran has a caused turnover started by Armour. Sophomore Middie Bryan Berry is crossed checked by McKee who sits down and serves one minute at 2:03 remaining in the quarter. The Stags man up unit works the ball around the wheel and Greenfield’s shot is blocked by the defense. The Falcons pick up the ground ball, clear the ball and kill off the penalty. After working the offense for a minute, Air Force’s Smith takes a shot that Murphy saves. Crampton for the Falcons grabs the loose ball and puts it past Murphy to cut the Stags lead to 6-5. This goal is somewhat questionable to us in the stands as we do not think Crampton could have taken the ball out the air when Murphy popped up the initial save and wonder how Crampton was not in the crease. Once again, Price for Air Force comes to the face off circle to take on Roe. Price wins the face off and he gets the ground ball. With 5 seconds left in the period, Sperry creates a turnover. Warden gets the ground ball and shoots but his last second shot is wide. The third period closes with the Stags being shut out offensively and the Falcons closing the score to 6-5.
Price and Roe start the fourth quarter at the X. Roe wins this battle and gets the ground ball. He hits Greenfield with a pretty pass and Greenfield puts it home. Greenfield now has a hat trick. Only seven seconds have clicked off the clock with Roe getting an assist and the Stags push the lead to 7-5. Coach Will Mraz remarks “that kid Greenfield sure can finish!” Falcons now send out Smith to take the face off versus Roe. Smith wins this draw and gets the ground ball. For the next nine minutes, the action is back and forth and neither team is scoring. With 6:37 left in the game, the Stags have a turnover and the Falcons’ get the ground ball, clear and call a time out with 6:29 remaining. On the restart, the Falcons offense is working the ball around. Air Force’s Allen scores a goal with an assist from Crampton. The goal makes it a one goal game again with 5:59 left in the game. Roe now faces Price in the middle of the field. Roe wins and Barry playing on the wing gets the ground ball. The Stags attack is working hard to find the right shot. At 4:49, McLinden’s shot hits the post. Warden gets the rebound and fires a shot that goes high. Fairfield retains the ball and the attack continues to work hard and trying to be patient. The ball becomes loose and McLinden gets the ground ball. He passes to his line mate Neubaurer. Nebaurer fires his rocket shot and it hits the back of the net. McLinden gets the assist and the Stags now lead 8-6 with 3:35 remaining in the game. Now it is Smith’s turn to take the face off . Air Force wins the face off and within 25 seconds, Crampton takes a shot that Murphy saves. The Falcons’ McKee gets a ground ball and Smith takes a wide shot. Air Force is firing away! Next Cassady takes a high shot. With 2:00 remaining in the game, Air Force’s Allen gets an unassisted goal to make it a one goal game again. Price and Roe are the X to take a critical face off. Roe wins the battle and gets the ground ball. Before leaving the field, Roe passes the ball but the Stags have a turnover. The Falcons clear and Crampton takes a wide shot at 1:02. Air Force retains that ball and Smith scores a tying goal at 8-8 with 51 seconds left in the game. The Stags stands are wondering are we going to have an OT game. Price and Roe face off this time. Roe wins the face off and he passes to McLinden. McLinden gets the ball to Greenfield who wastes no time in firing a hard shot past the Falcons’ Keeper Fox. McLinden gets the assist and the Stags now lead 9-8 with 33 seconds left in the game. This is Greenfield’s fourth goal of the game. Now Smith is battling Roe at the X. Smith wins the face off and gets the ball in the box. The Falcons’ coach now calls a time out with 21 seconds left to set up a tying goal. On the restart, Allen takes a shot for the Falcons that is blocked with 11 seconds remaining. Cassady with one second left takes a wide shot and Murphy gets the ground ball. Game over!!! Stags win 9-8. Another nail biter from the cardiac kids.
The Stags had 32 shots while Air Force finished with 31 shots. Fairfield got to 35 ground balls while the Falcons scooped up 32 gbs. In turnovers, Air Force committed 15 while the Stags had 13. Air Force face off men combined for 11 wins out of 20 chances. Fairfield was successful on 16 of 17 clears and the Falcons cleared 15 of 17 chances. Air Force was successful twice out of three extra man chances while the Stags did not score in their 3 EMO opportunities.
Stars of the game-Junior Jordan Greenfield had 4 goals including the game winner and also got to two ground balls. Super Soph Colin McLinden had 3 assists and 5 ground balls and classmate Tristian Sperry had one goal, one assist and four ground balls. Junior Eric Warden had a fine day with one goal and 4 gbs. Goal Keeper Jack Murphy has 12 saves for the day including 6 saves on the second period. For the Falcons, Christopher Allen had three goals and one ground ball. Kyle Cassady had two goals while Kyle O’Brien got to 4 ground balls. The two face men, Eric Smith and Bryan Price each had 4 ground balls, while combining 11 wins out of 20 chances in the face off circle. The goal keeper Austin Fox had a rough first period but settle down. Six of his 12 saves in the second half.
Seen at the game-Coach Will Mraz returned to the sidelines on Saturday forgoing seeing his daughter playing. Bob Cyper made is up from Rye, NY. Mike “Magic” Brannigan came to the game from White Plains, NY. Tony Merola ventured from Carmel, NY. AJ O’Brian ’80 gave up an officiating gig to attend the game. Joe Sargent attended the game with his wife and daughter. From the Class of 2012, Brendan MacTeague was in the stands with his father. Brent Adams’ father who has been recovering from some medical issues came to the game to give the Stags good luck. He was working his way up to Glastonbury, CT to see Brent play an exhibition game for the Boston Cannons. My apologies if I missed you and did not mention you. It was great to see a lot of the Fairfield Lax Alumni attending on Senior Day.
Special Report- ECAC Lacrosse Standing- The Stags send their thanks to the Hobart who beat Bellarmine last Saturday by a 9-8 score in double OT. Here is the up to date standings-
Ohio State 3-2
Bellarmine 3-4 Season in ECAC completed
Air Force 1-4
The Stags to secure a spot in the ECAC Lacrosse Tournament must win one of the last two games against Denver and Ohio State. The Stags do not want to have go to a tie breaker with Bellarmine as they have the first tie breaker with the win against Fairfield. Ohio State plays Air Force on the road this Saturday. The team has their work cut out for them but control their own fate.
The Stags return to action on Saturday April 20th when they go on the road to Denver University in Denver, CO. The game will start at 1 PM Mountain time. Roger Yergeau ’73