To the Founders and Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse-The Stags offense took center stage in the home opener with the laxmen scoring 18 times for the second time in two games while allowing only four goals. The game was moved to the women’s field hockey field due to a tear in the turf of Alumni Field when the snow was being removed. Crews were working on repairing Alumni Field this afternoon. The game was played under cool 50 degree tempatures with a light wind.
The game starts with Michael Roe for Fairfield and Brett Johnson for the Jaspars at the face off circle. Sophmore Conor Barr picks up the loose ground ball from the wing and starts the Stags attack. Just 58 seconds into the game, Senior Eric Warden continues his hot shooting from last weekend and scores unassisted to put Fairfield in the lead by a 1-0 score. Roe and Johnson return to the X and this time Manhattan’s Sean McMahon gets the ground ball. The Stags defense is tight and Barr helps create a Jaspars turnover. Stags clear is good but Manhattan has a caused turnover. Jaspars clear attempt is foiled and the Stags get the ball after a turnover. Stags look for a shot and Junior Colin McLinden’s shot goes wide. On the restart, Stags have a caused turnover and Manhattan picks up the loose ground ball. The Jaspars first shot on Senior Jack Murphy in goal is saved but the Jaspars retain the ball. At 10:25, Jaspars’ Nick Stutler scores unassisted to tie the game at 1-1. Johnson beats Roe for a second straight face off and Manhattan’s Nick Starno gets to the loose ground ball. The Jaspars work the ball and take a quick shot that Murphy easily handles. Murphy starts the clear. Stags work the offense for 45 seconds but the Jaspars have a caused turnover. They pick up the ground ball and clear. Jaspars slow things down and work the ball trying to get a good shot. Manhattan’s shot at 7:51 is saved by Murphy and he clears the ball. Fairfield’s offense wheels the ball around and Junior Tristian Sperry feeds Freshman Dave Fleming who scores at 7:11. Stags now lead 2-1. Jaspars’ Johnson is called for a violation at the X, Stags start the offense. Manhattan gets a quick caused turnover and get to the loose ground ball. Jaspars turn the ball over quickly and Junior D Max Buchanan gets the ground ball. Stags clear into the offensive zone. Fairfield offense takes it time to set up its offensive set for about 55 seconds when Junior Drew Federico’s shot is save by the Manhattan goal keeper Rich Akapnitis. There is a scramble in front of the goal with many green and white jerseys and somehow Freshman Jake Knotsman gets the ball into the net for an unassisted goal. Fairfield now leads 3-1. Roe and Johnson are at the face off cirlcle and Manhattan’s Strano gets the ground ball. Strano takes an immediate shot that goes wide and the Jaspars coach call his first time out. at 5:22. Jaspars restart and take a shot that Murphy saves at 4:37 and Buchanan gets the rebound ground ball and he starts the clear. Jaspars get another caused turnover and the Jaspars’ Alex Gitlitz scoops up the ground ball. Officials call a 30 second holding foul on the Jaspars’ McMahon during the ground ball at 3:32. Stags extra man opprotunity unit enters the field. Sperry gets to a loose ground ball and keeps the Stags EMO chance going. Sophmore Mikey Gulasey takes a wide shot but on the scramble for the ground ball, the Jaspars’ Gitlitz is called for a conduct foul (hit to the head) for two minutes and the officials make it unreleasable at 3:02. The holding penalty for Manhattan has just been released and the Stags EMO unit stays on the field with a chance for more than one goal. Gulasey takes a quick shot that goes wide and the Stags backup the shot. Fairfield works the ball quickly and at 2:37, Gulasey gets an unassisted man up goal. Score is now 4-1 and Fairfield retains man up advantage. Roe beats Johnson on the face off and Stags get the ground ball. Sophmore Conor Dalton’s unassisted shot finds net 20 seconds later and Fairfield increases the lead to 5-1. Manhattan now has Sean McMahon taking the face off against Roe. McMahon wins the battle and gets the ground ball. Still a man up, Stags double the ball and Freshman Middie Jay Walsh creates a turnover. Stags clear and Warden takes a hard shot on the fast break. Shot is blocked by Knotsman gets the ground ball and he fires a shot into the goal unassisted. Fairfield now leads 6-1. McMahon beats Roe at the face off circle and Manhattan has the ball. McLinden has a caused turnover with 24 seconds left in the period and starts the clear. Stags have a turnover but Coach Copelan calls his first time out of the first half to avoid a Manhattan advantage on the quick restart. Jaspars clear and take a wide shot with 5 seconds left in the period. Period ends with the Stags leading 6-1.
The second period starts with Junior Louis DiGiacomo now at the face off circle for Fairfield versus the Jaspars’ Johnson. DiGiacomo wins and gets the ground ball. For the next several minutes, both teams have offensive efforts and turnovers. At 12:12, Sophomore Middie Frank Borgognone gets a one minute slashing call. The Fairfield man down unit create a turnover but fail to clear the ball. At 11:28, the officials call Senior Co-Captain Greg Perraut for a one minute unnecessary roughness. Stags are now down two men for 16 seconds. Jaspars take a high shot and then Barr creates a caused turnover. Stags clear and the offense gets to work. At 9:12, McLinden takes high shot. Sperry restarts and drives past a Jaspars’ defender and scores unassisted at 9:01 for a 7-1 Fairfield lead. Manhattan now sends out Jack Fowler to face off against DiGiacomo. Fowler wins and the Jaspars’ McMahon gets to the loose ground ball. Both teams work their respective offense and the defenses. Each team have caused turnovers for the next four plus minutes. After a Manhattan turnover at 5:12, the Stags offense gets the ball into Sperry’s stick and he scores unassisted at 4:33 for a 8-1 Fairfield lead. Now it is DiGiacomo and Johnson at the X with Manhattan’s McMahon getting the ground ball. Manhattan’s Marcel Godino scores unassisted for a 8-2 Stags lead. Fowler takes this face off for Manhattan against DiGiacomo with DiGiacomo getting the win and the ground ball. After a quick shot by Junior Nick Guida that is saved by Akapnitis, again both teams work the ball, take shots and have turnovers. With 63 seconds left in the half, Manhattan’s Dan McGreevey gets a one minute cross checking penalty. The EMO unit works the ball with Warden taking a wide shot. Stags retain the ball but have a turnover with 37 seconds left in the half. Manhattan clears but Senior Geordie Carrick has a caused turnover and Dalton gets the ground ball. Stags clear and Coach Copelan calls time out with 13 clicks left on the clock to set a last second extra man shot. Sperry restarts and feeds Knotsman for a man up goal with 8 seconds left in the period. Knotsman has his hat trick before the end of the first half. Coach Will and the Founders remark on the number of times Coach Copelan is able to diagram a play that results in a score before a period ends. Stags close out the first half with a 9-2 lead.
The second half starts with DiGiacomo and Johnson taking the face. Johnson wins and Manhattan’s Strano gets the ground ball. Strano goes right to the cage and fires a shot that Murphy saves. He clears and for the next four minutes plus the attacks for both teams probe looking for an opprotunity to score. With 10:38 showing on the clock, Manhattan has a turnover. On the quick restart, Junior Drew Federico fires a shot past Manhattan’s Akapnitis. The goal is unassisted and pushes the Stags lead to 10-2. On the face off, Manhattan’s Johnson is callled for a violation. Stags take possession and work the ball in the offensive zone. At 9:28, McLinden takes a shot that Akapnitis saves but the Fairfield gets the rebound. They keep the ball moving and Sperry finds a cutting Warden who scores. Now the Stags lead 11-2 at the 8:59 mark of the third period. Johnson wins the face off beating DiGiacomo. Manhattan’s offense takes its time. Murphy saves a shot taken at 7:50 and clears. Frosh Fleming takes a shot 15 seconds later that Akapnitis saves and Manhattan clears. A Jaspars’ shot goes high at 6:35 but 11 seconds later Senior Co-Captain Toby Armour has a caused turnover. Neubauer gets the ground ball and moves the ball into the offensive zone. Stags are in no rush offensively and at 5:36, Neubaurer fires one of his patented rockets past the Manhattan goal keeper for an unassisted goal and now it is a 12-2 Stags lead. DiGiacomo beats Johnson at the face off circle and Walsh playing the wing gets the ground ball. At 4:47, Federico’s high heat shot finds the back of the net. The unassisted score now makes it a 12-2 Fairfield games. Manhattan takes a time out. DiGiacomo now faces Fowler at the center of the field. Fowler wins the face and McMahon gets the ground ball. The Jaspars take a quick shot that goes wide. Senior Shawn Honovich has a caused turnover and while getting the ground ball is slashed by Manhattan’s Brett Madarasz with 3:42 showing on the clock. The EMO unit has a caused turnover and the Jaspars are able to kill the penalty. For the next couple of minutes, both teams have shots and turnovers. With 41 seconds left in the quarter, a Manhattan shot is saved by Murphy and he starts the clear. With just 3 seconds left in the period, Junior Nick Guida gets his first goal of 2014 with an assist from Freshman Nico Panepinto. Period ends with the score Fairfield 14-Manhattan 2.
Manhattan changes goal keepers and now Michael Wiatrak is charged with trying to keep the Stags off the board. Big debate on the sidelines between Will Mraz and myself-when does Coach Copelan relive Murphy and gets Frosh Tyler Berhing in goal. Will says the last three minutes and I think Coach Copelan will make the move sooner. Fowler and DiGiacomo take the final period face off with DiGiacomo getting both the win and the ground ball. Stags are in no rush to take a shot but want to avoid the officials 30 second shot clock. Gulasy playing attack when the Stags are at full strength takes a wide shot at 13:52. Stags back up and keep the ball. The Stags turnover the ball and the Jaspars clear. Neubauer gets a caused turnover and the ground ball and he starts the Stags on the attack. Dalton gets his second goal of the game with an assist from Panepinto at 11:36 for a 15-2 lead. Coach Copelan sends Behring into the cage and lets Murphy take a well deserved rest. Freshman Jake Kaiser (a Westchester, NY product!!) takes the face off for Fairfield against Manhattan’s Fowler. Fowler gets the win and ground ball. Six seconds later the Jaspars Patrick Hodapp takes a shot and Behring has his first official collegiate save (he did not face any shots against Delaware)! Behring starts the clear. At 11:07, the Jaspars’ Darien Bica gets a 30 second pushing foul. The Stags EMO unit returns to the field and Warden gets off a wide shot. In taking the shot, Warden takes an illegal body check and the officials flag Manhattan’s Gitlitz for his second two minute unreleasable penalty of the day. The Stags are now two men up for 20 seconds. Knotsman takes a wide shot and at 10:28, Warden completes his hat trick with an assist from Gulasey. Kaiser now faces off against Manhattan’s McMahon. Kaiser wins the draw and as the ball enters the box, Sperry gets the ground ball. Coach Copelan calls time out at 10:19. Stags restart after the time out and the ball comes out but Dalton collects the ground ball. Working a give and go with Guida, Dalton gets his hat trick with Guida getting the assist at 9:42 for a 17-2 Fairfield lead. Kaiser and McMahon are now the face off men. Kaiser wins this draw and Barry on the wing gets the ground ball. Stags have a caused turnover. The Jaspars quickly have a turnover but Kaiser is called for 30 second holding penalty. Man down defense works hard and the Jaspars have a turnover and Fairfield clears. Junior Cameron Parker takes a shot at 8:07 left in the game and Wiatrack makes a save. The Manhattan clear is good. Jaspars’s shot at 7:44 is blocked and redshirt Sophmore Kip McMahon gets the ground ball and he starts the clear. Senior Alex Cramer gets to a ground ball and Gulasey scores unassisted with 7:27 remaining in the game. Stags complete their scoring for the day and now lead 18-2. Kaiser is now battling Fowler at the X and Kaiser gets both the win and ground ball. Stags slow things down on attack and Gulasey takes a wide shot at 6:01. Stags retain the ball and but turn it over at 5:34. Ten seconds later, the Jaspars have a turnover and Freshman Logan Williamson (another Westchester, NY product!) gets the ground ball. Stags clear but turn the ball over back to Manhattan. Jaspars clear at 5:07 and start their offense. Manhattan’s Jeff Simmons scores a goal with an assist to Hodapp at 4:22. Stags now lead 18-3. Fowler now beats Kaiser at the face off circle and the Jaspars have a wide shot. Stags clear and Panepinto’s shot is saved by Wiatrack with 100 seconds left in the game. Jaspars clear and Hodapp gets a goal with an assist from McMahon at 3:12. Now it is a 18-4 score. In the final face off of the day, Kaiser beats Fowler for the win and the ground ball. Gulasy, Parker and finally Guida take shots but Wiatrack makes a save on Guida at 2:30 remaining. With 24 seconds left in the game, Parker gets a unsportsmanlike 2 minute penalty and the Jaspars Matt Garvey gets a slashing call for one minute. Game ends with a Stags win by a 18-4 final.
The Stags out shot the Jaspars by a 41 to 28 margin. Manhattan got to more ground balls, 38 to 36. The officials did not call any violations at the face off circle against the Stags while Manhattan had two violations. Both teams won 13 face offs of the 26 draws taken. The Jaspars were successful on 15 of 16 clears while Fairfield cleared 23 times with success out of 25 chances. The Stags shut down both of Manhattan’s extra man chances while the Stags had six good EMO chances out of 8 tries. The Manhattan goal keepers had 9 saves while Murphy and Behring combined for 11 saves. Jaspars turned the ball over 21 times while the Stags has 19 turnovers. Manhattan had 11 caused turnovers and Fairfield had 10 caused turnovers. Officials charged Manhattan with 7 fouls on the day and the Stags had four penalties.
Stars of the game- Junior Tristian Sperry had two goals and three assists for five points on the day. Three hat tricks were scored by Senior Eric Warden, Sophmore Conor Dalton and Freshman Jake Knotsman. Senior Jack Murphy had 10 saves and only allowed two goals in the three plus periods he played.
Higlights of the Game-Two standout “moments” of the game against Manhattan- 1. The three goals scored with the 2 minute unreleasable penalty in the first quarter to give the Stags a 6-1 first quarter lead. A very good EMO unit takes advantage when unreleasable penalties are presented. Three thumbs up!! 2. The stellar work of the close defense trio. Senior Captains Toby Armour and Greg Perraut and Junior Max Buchanan. They are working great as a team. To only allow Manhattan the chance to score two goals in the first three quarters of the game deserves high praise. Great job!!!!
Lowlight of the Game-Junior Attack Colin McLinden was injured in the second half of the game. His lacrosse IQ and feeding ability has helped power the attack this season. The conversion from midfield to attack has been seamless. Wish him a speedy recovery as the Stags need him on the field.
Frosh of the Year-Jake Knostman his hat trick today and two goals against Delaware is clearly in the lead. Dave Fleming already has two goals this year and is in the running. Making his case is Nico Panepinto with his two assists today and his one assist against Delaware. Soph of the Year-TJ Neubaurer, anchoring the second line of middies, had another goal to go along with his two goal day against Delaware. Mikey Gulasey is making the most of his EMO playing time getting two goals and an assist today combined with his one assist against Delaware. Conor Dalton had three goals today and a goal against Delaware. The Sophs are making the most of their playing time and competing for this honor
Seen in the stands-Nice turnout from the Founders. Coach Will Mraz was at the midfield stripe on the top bench ready to watch the game upon my arrival. Trustee Brian Hull was with Will. Shortly after the start, Tony Merola made the trek from Carmel, NY and Bob Cypher came to the game from Rye, NY. Kevin Kuryla, Captain of the 1987 undefeated team, was at the game with his young daughter. Watching the game with us was John Bannon from Greenwich, CT. Bob’s son Sean played for the Stags and graduated a couple of years ago. With us unannounced for most of the game were Coach Copelan’s parents. Andy’s dad is a big lacrosse fan and was very knowledgeable about the game and knew many of the Stags players. Was a delight to spend time with Mr. Copelan and Andy’s mother.
The Stags are next in action on Tuesday February 25th when they travel to Long Island to take on the Hofestra Pride at 3 PM. Be interesting to see if this win will help the Stags move up the national polls that will be released tomorrow. Best Regards- Roger Yergeau ’73