To the Founders and Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse-The Fairfield Stags traveled to the University of Denver to take on the #1 ranked team in the country on Saturday April 20, 2013. The game was played before a sold out crowd of 2,500 diehard lacrosse fans at the Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. Fairfield came home with upset win by a 10-9 score. The game winner coming in OT and scored by Co-Captain Sam Snow 56 seconds into OT. This win now qualifies the Stags for the ECAC Lacrosse League Tournament starting on May 2nd at Hobart College. Fairfield now has a 8-5 overall record and 4-2 in ECAC Lacrosse League play. Denver is the highest ranked team the Stags have ever beaten in lacrosse. Denver falls to 10-3 overall and 5-1 in ECAC play. After the game, Coach Andy Copelan commented- “We’re thrilled with the win,” said Fairfield head coach Andy Copelan. “Anytime you can get a one-goal win, that’s a great feeling. Anytime you can get a one-goal win against the number one team in the country, that’s also a great feeling. I’m just really proud of a gutsy effort from our guys. Things didn’t come easy today; there were ebbs and flows throughout the game.” Denver’s Coach Bill Tierney made the following post game comments-“You could see it happening; you could see it during the [last] week,” Tierney said. “It was not a cocky thing, not a we’re-number-one thing, just a lack of focus on defense. It’s very frustrating for so many reasons – mostly because our seniors have done such a great job this year, but they let us down today. We had no leadership out there.
“Credit to Fairfield; they played hard. With us jumping on them the way we did early on, I thought we really had a chance, but their goalie started making saves, and our shooters started getting selfish. We’re not No. 1 anymore, I can tell you that.” Talk about throwing your team under the bus!!!
The game starts with Jack Murphy in goal for the Stags and Ryan LaPlante in goal for the Pioneers. Michael Roe squares off against Chase Carraro in the face off circle to start the game. Carraro wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. He takes a shot that hits the post. The rebound is picked up by Colin Scott and he puts a shot home for a 1-0 Denver lead 7 seconds into the game. Roe and Carraro go back to the X. The officials call a violation on Carraro. It is Fairfield’s ball. The Stags offense takes the ball downfield and works the ball around. Co-Captain Senior Attack Sam Snow take the initial Stags shot and it is wide at 14:07. Stags back up the shot and retain the ball. Being patient, the Stags next shot comes at 13:10 when Freshman Middie Conor Dalton shot is saved by LaPlante. The loose ground ball goes to Denver and they start their clear. A couple of ground balls are quickly picked up by the Pioneers while they are working their attack. At 11:53, Denver’s Wesley Berg scores to give them a 2-0 lead with an assist being credited to Taylor Young. Carraro beats Roe again in the face off and for the next 10 plus minutes, both teams take shots and have turnovers. The Stags have control of the ball with 2:30 left in the first quarter and Dalton’s shot is saved by LaPlante. The rebound ground ball is picked up by Sophomore Attack Tristian Sperry. Sperry resets the offense and Snow’s shot at 1:56 is saved by LaPlante. The loose ground ball is scooped by by Junior Attack Jordan Greenfield and gets the Stags offense back in motion. Denver creates a caused turnover at 1:28 remaining in the period. Denver clears the ball downfield. The offense finds Eric Law who pushes a shot past Murphy for a 3-0 Pioneers lead. Carraro is dominating Roe and he gets the face off win. Carraro picks up the ground ball. With 17 seconds left in the period, Carraro’s shot hits the post. The Stags defense creates two ground ball and last second shot by Carraro hits the post. Period ends with Denver leading 3-0.
Roe beats Carraro in the face off circle and the Stags offense is ready to starting shooting as it sets up its attack. Super Soph Colin McLinden takes a shot 38 seconds into the second period and scores unassisted to cut the Denver lead to 3-1. Roe again wins the face off and the ground ball is picked up Sophomore Middie Brian Barry. He gets the attack in motion. Snow shoots but his shot is wide. Junior Middie Eric Warden takes a shot that hits the post! The rebound goes to Denver and with a couple of quick passes downfield Colin Scott scores for Denver. Terry Ellis gets the assist and now the Pioneers lead 4-1. A goal like this could deflate many teams! Roe and Carraro face off again. Carraro wins and gets the ground ball to his wing Teddy MacKenzie. The Pioneers control the ball for the next minute and finally takes a shot that Murphy saves. He starts the clear and now Fairfield controls the ball for the next minute plus. At 10:15, Warden sends a shot wide but Fairfield retains possession. Super Frosh TJ Neubauer sends one of his cannon shots past LaPlante at 9:42 unassisted and cuts the Pioneer lead in half to 4-2. Roe beats Carraro and Senior Co-Captian Middie Marshall Johnson playing on the wing gets the ground ball. The Stags offense is no rush trying to find the right chance to score again. With 8:37 showing on the clock, Warden’s shot goes wide. Twelve seconds later, Denver’s Scott causes a Fairfield turnover. The Pioneers strick quickly. Law scores his second goal of the day with an assist from Wesley Berg. This pushes the Denver lead to 5-2 with 8:20 remaining in the period. Roe is starting to figure out Carraro and wins the face off. Roe gets the ground ball and sets up the Stags’ attack. Warden again shoots after the Stags were in their offense 50 seconds later but the shot goes wide. The Stags get the rebound but Denver creates a turnover. The Pioneers clear and quickly Law takes a shot that Murphy saves. Coach Copelan uses his first time out of the half at 6:21. What ever he said in this timeout, it fires up the Stags and they come out on fire with the attack in hyper drive!!! The Fairfield offense restarts. McLinden feeds Warden who connects on his first goal of the day. With 6:02 left in the half, Denver leads now 5-3. Roe is now facing Chance Calkin at the X. Although Calkin wins the draw, Fairfield’s Johnson on the wing alertly gets the ground ball and he starts the offensive set. Sperry now dodges past the Denver defense and scores to cut the Denver lead to 5-4 unassisted with 5:22 still on the clock. Carraro comes back out the face off circle to face Roe and Carraro is called for a violation. Since this is his second violation of the half, he receives a 30 second penalty. This is a new rule implemented this season by the NCAA to stop cheating at the X. First time I recall seeing this penalty called in a Stags game this season. The man up unit for Fairfield comes out on the field. They waste no time as Snow takes a fast shot that hits the post! Neubaurer gets the rebound and settles down the extra man effort. With 10 seconds remaining in the penalty, Snow sends a shot home and now the game is tied at 5-5 with 4:39 still left to play in the first half. Roe and Carraro face off again with Carraro taking this battle. Denver’s attack works to find a shot but after more than a minute they have a turnover. Fairfield clears and the Stags attack is now looking for the tie breaking goal. However, Denver creates a turnover and they clear with 2:05 left in the first half. The Pioneers are content to hold the ball and look to take a good shot. With 39 seconds left, the Pioneer’s Berg takes a shot that is blocked by the defense and Murphy comes out to get the ground ball. Murphy clears and with 22 seconds left in the half, Coach Copelan calls his second time out of the half to set up the final shot of the half. The Stags restart and with one second remaining in the half, Junior Attack Alex Cramer gets his third goal of the season with Snow getting the assist. The half ends with the Stags now in the lead 6-5. Inside Lacrosse reporter writes-”After a Denver-dominated first quarter, Fairfield stormed the field with a vengeance in the second period, posting six goals to Denver’s two and gaining the lead with one second remaining to leave the Pioneers trailing 5-6 at half. Denver fans began to fret, and the Fairfield crowd grew increasingly louder.” Love it!!! This has to be the Stags best offensive output in a quarter in the 2013 season.
The second half starts with Denver changing goal keepers. Jamie Faust is now in the nets. According to Inside Lacrosse, Denver has been making this change for the past several games. Roe and Carraro resume there battle at the face off circle. Roe is called for a violation and Denver gets the ball. Denver sets up the offense and works the ball around the zone. The Pioneers score the first goal of the second half by Wesley Berg with Law getting an assist at 13:57 to tie the game at 6-6. Carraro and Roe return to the X and Carraro wins the draw. The ground ball is picked up by the wing Garrett Holst. Denver offense sets up the Stags’ Freshman Long Stick Middie Conor Barr creates a turnover and the Stags clear. After about 30 seconds being on attack, the Stags have a forced turnover and Denver clears. The Pioneers work the offense for the next 45 seconds. Denver’s Cameron Flint scores a goal with assist from Law at 11:32 of the third period. Denver now leads by a 7-6 score. Roe and Carraro continue the battle at the X with Carraro getting the win with his wing Jack Pruitt getting the ground ball. For the next seven minutes, the teams trade offensive opportunities with neither team scoring. At 4:51 Denver takes a shot that Murphy saves. The Pioneers pick up the rebound ground ball but then turn the ball over. The Stags clear and the offense works to get a good shot. Warden scores his second goal of the day with Greenfield getting an assist to tie the score at 7-7 with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter. Roe now beats Carraro and sets up the offense. The Stags are shooting. First Snow takes a wide shot. Next Sophomore Middie Drew Federico takes a wide shot. Then Sperry has his shot blocked followed by Warden who has his shot blocked at 2:09. Denver’s Faus gets to the ground ball and starts a clear. Now Denver is looking to break the tie when Fairfield’s Murphy gets credited with a caused turnover and the ground ball with 21 seconds remaining in the period. The Stags clear and Snow has his last second shot blocked. Period ends the game tied at 7-7.
Roe and Carraro start the fourth period at the X with Roe being called for a violation. The Pioneers offense takes a shot 40 seconds played in the period but Murphy makes a save. Stags clear and start its offense but the Denver has a caused turnover. Denver gets the ground ball and they move the ball very quickly. It results in an unassisted goal by Harrison Archer at 12:56 to give Denver a lead by 8-7. This time Roe beats Carraro and Roe ends up with the ground ball. After being on the attack for about 30 seconds, the Stags’ have an unforced turnover. The Pioneers clear and take 40 seconds off the clock when Eric Anderson scores to push the lead to 9-7. Cameron Flint gets the assist with 11:06 left in the quarter. Now Roe beats Carraro and Johnson playing the wing gets the ground ball. Fairfield offense works the ball for about 45 seconds when Warden hits for his third goal of the game unassisted at 10:19 to reduce the Pioneers lead to 9-8. Carraro now wins the face off and Priutt on the wing picks up ground ball. At 9:26 a Denver shot is saved by Murphy. Senior Defender Dan Niebler is called for an illegal body check and sits for one minute. The Pioneers extra man unit want to get some breathing room and takes a shot within 20 seconds. The first shot is blocked and 20 seconds later the second shot by Law is saved by Murphy. Murphy starts the clear and the Stags kill off the ball of the penalty. Coach Copelan uses one of his two time outs at 7:45 to set up the offense and to get the team focused. Fairfield restarts but quickly Denver’s Harley Brown creates a turnover and the goal keeper Faus gets the ground ball and starts the clear. The Pioneers are now shooting to get that two goal lead. First Flint takes a wide shot. Then Eric Adamson also takes a wide shot. Next Gordie Koerber takes a shot with 6:01 left that Murphy saves but Denver retains the ball on the rebound. Koerber commits a turnover and the Stags clear. McLinden hits linemate Warden in stride. Warden buries the shot and now the game is tied at 9-9. This is Warden’s fourth goal of the game and McLinden second assist. He is a feeding machine!! On the goal scored at 5:11, Denver’s Brown is called for a cross checking penalty and sits for one minute. On the man down face off, Roe is now facing Chris Hampton at the circle. Roe wins and the ground ball is picked up Johnson who was on the wing. Snow send a shot wide and the Stags retain the ball. Then Johnson’s shot goes wide. Cramer’s shot at 4:10 is saved by Faus and Denver has killed the penalty. Cramer’s rebound goes to Denver and they clear. After working the ball for a shot in the next 45 seconds, the Pioneers have a turnover. Now the Stags have the ball and looking for the game winner but denver’s Brown causes a turnover and he gets the ground ball. He retains the ball for the next 20 seconds before turning the ball over. Fairfield’s Niebler gets the ground ball and starts the clear. There is 1:59 left in the game and Coach Copelan calls his second timeout to set up the rest of the game. Fairfield restarts and are very patient looking that game winner. Too patient for the officials as they call a 30 second shot warning on the Stags with 68 seconds left on the clock. This forces the Stags to go to the cage and with 50 seconds left, Snow takes a shot that Faus saves. Faus gets the ground ball and starts the clear. Denver calls a timeout with 20 seconds remaining. Denver restarts and with 4 ticks left on the clock, Koerber takes a shot that is blocked. He gets the rebound and shoots with no time left on the clock but that shot is also blocked. The score is now 9-9 and the teams will play a sudden victory overtime period!!
This will be Denver’s third straight OT game and its fifth OT game this season. Roe and Carraro go to the X for hopefully the final time of the game. Roe wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. (Coach Tierney blames one of his wings for net getting to the ground ball in his post game comments.) With only one time out in an OT period, Coach Copelan uses his time out right away and stops the clock at 3:51 of the OT period. With Copelan’s instructions, the Stags are looking for that game winner on the restart. They work the ball not finding any chances. Looking to reset after a broken play, Snow catches the ball in the middle, fakes a pass and takes an overhand shot that goes into the net and sets off a wild celebration by the Stags. Final score: Fairfield 10 Denver 9!! Second straight year the Stags have beaten Denver in OT and with Snow getting the game winner in both games.
Denver outshot the Stags by a slight margin- 36 shots to 35 shots. Murphy had 11 saves versus 7 saves for LaPlante and Faus. The Pioneers had a decided advantage in ground balls- 35 to 21. The Stags had 12 turnovers versus only 8 for Denver. Roe beat the combination of Denver face off men by taking 12 of 22 face offs and Denver had 10 of 22 face offs. Both teams had excellent clearing. The Stags completed all 17 of their clears while Denver was successful in 16 of 17 clears. Fairfield was 1 of 2 in man up situations while Denver was o for 1.
Stars of the Game-Eric Warden was terrific with four goals including scoring all of the Stags goals in the 2nd half. Jack Murphy was credited with 11 saves, one caused turnover and two ground balls. Sam Snow got two goals, one assist and three balls. His goal in OT was the game winner. Super Soph Colin McLinden had one goal and two assists. Marshall Johnson got four ground balls whie Tristian Sperry had one goal and two ground balls. Stars for Denver were Eric Law with two goals and two assists. Wesley Berg had one goal, one assist and four ground balls. Chris Hampton, Jack Ruitt and Kyle Hercher all had three ground balls.
The Stags will play Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio to complete the 2013 regular season campaign on Saturday April 27th. Roger Yergeau ’73