To the Founders and Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse-The #13/ #15 Fairfield University Men’s Lacrosse Stags won its sixth straight game breaking open a tight defensive struggle in the fourth quarter. Stags had a 6-5 lead going into the final stanza. Fairfield broke open the game with a four goal run in the fourth quarter. The Fairfield defense was once again stellar and playing lights out holding the Bucknell Bisons to six goals. Senior Goal Keeper Jack Murphy had an 11 save game. Offensively, Sophomore TJ Neubauer had four goals, Freshman Dave Fleming had two goals, and Junior Colin McLinden had one goal and three assists. I think I said this in the past, McLinden is an assist machine!! Both Senior Michael Roe and Junior Louis DiGiacomo dominated the face off circle with the Stags FOGOs winning 11 of the 19 draws. The game was played in low 50s temps with little wind. Finally a nice spring day (except the Yale game) to play lacrosse. With the victory, Fairfield’s season record is now 8-2 overall and 1-0 in the ECAC Lacrosse League. Bucknell dropped to 5-6 overall and 3-3 in the Patriot League.
The game got moved to 1 PM thus removing the late afternoon sun issue. The game is ready to start with Senior Jack Murphy in goal for the Stags and Sam Grinberg in the pipes for Bucknell. Senior Michael Roe comes out to take the first face off of the game against Colin Farawell. Officials call a face off violation on Farawell. Stags start the game with the ball and go on offense. Senior Eric Warden make a great cut losing his defender, but the Stags attack do not get him the ball. Know Warden would have buried the rock if he was able to get the pass. The offense moves the ball around the cage but Zach Henkhaus gets a caused turnover for Bucknell and picks up the ground ball at 14:11 of the first quarter. Bisons clear the ball and set up their attack. Bucknell’s offense probes and Brock Ghelfi takes a wide shot at 13:26. Bisons get the ground ball on the missed shot then Junior Max Buchanan gets a caused turnover with the ground ball. On the clear there was a flag down against Fairfield. Senior Alex Cramer gets called for slashing at 13:13 and sits for one minute. Bucknell’s EMO unit comes on the field. They work the ball around the net. David Dickerson passes to Sean Doyle. Doyle’s shot finds the back of the net with the extra man at 12:37. Bucknell leads 1-0. Roe and Farawell come out to the face off circle. Once again the officials call a violation on Farawell. Stags move the ball into the offensive zone and Freshman TJ Neubauer takes the first shot of the day for the Stags. The ball sails over the cage at 11:59. Stags restart but have a caused turnover by Grinberg. He starts the Bisons clear. Bucknell set up their offense and Thomas Filobotte takes a shot that Murphy saves. Bisons get the rebound and Burke Bucknell’s shot hits the post. Bucknell gets his own rebound ground ball. Bucknell’s offense resets. Dickson’s shot at 9:42 is wide. Murphy comes out of the cage and scoops up the ground ball. Bucknell gets a quick caused turnover and Sean Doyle picks up the ground ball for the Bisons. The Bucknell offense moves the ball around and Junior Bryan Barry gets a caused turnover. Barry gets to the ground ball and races down the field with no Bucknell players around him. He spots Junior Colin McLinden in the box with no defenders. Barry passes to McLinden who fires a lazar shot past the Bucknell goal keeper. Perfect teamwork between Barry and McLinden! Goal is scored at 8:48 and the teams are tied at 1-1. Roe and Farawell take the third face off of the game. Roe wins the draw and Freshman Jay Walsh gets the ground ball. Bucknell’s Alex Spring gets a caused turnover. Doyle gets to the ground ball but the Bisons have a turnover almost immediately. With 8:16 remaining in the period, Stags clear. Fairfield’s offense passes around looking for that opportunity to score. Junior Drew Federico hits cutting Freshman Jake Knostman with a pass. Knostman fires a hard shot into the Bison’s net. Assist to Federico on the Knostman goal at 7:21. Knotstman has scored assists in the last four games but this is his first goal in four games. He has just been missing the cage. Great to see Knostman scoring a goal. Fairfield now leads 2-1. Roe and Farawell take the face off. Farawell wins this draw and his wing Mike Ondrusek gets the ground ball. Bucknell’s offense sets up. With 6:45 showing on the clock, Doyle scores with Dickson getting the assist. Score is now tied at 2-2. Roe and Farawell battle each other at the X and Henkhaus on the wing gets the ground ball after Farawell wins the face off. Sophomore Conor Barr forces a caused turnover right away and McLinden picks up the ground ball. Stags work the ball around the perimeter. Neubauer takes a shot that is saved by Grinberg at 5:57. Ben Keller for Bucknell finds the rebound ground ball. He starts the Bucknell clear and their offense is being patient. McLinden forces a turnover at 4:55 and he gets to the loose ground ball. Stags clear and set up. Senior Alex Cramer takes a shot at 4:27 that Grinberg saves. Bucknell clears and go on the attack. First Thomas Flibotte takes a shot at 3:38 that hits the crossbar. Ryan Joseph for Bucknell gets to the rebound. Joseph takes a shot at 3:13 but it goes wide. Ten seconds later, Sean Doyle sends off a wide shot. Bucknell keeps possession. At 2:51, Joseph takes another shot that goes wide. Thirty seconds later, Joseph tries again but he is still wide. Bucknell has a turnover and the Stags are clearing. Bucknell stop the Stags on the clear and get a turnover. Joseph gets to the ground ball. At 74 seconds remaining, Todd Heritage fires off a wide shot. Heritage gets to the rebound ground ball. Filbotte takes a shot that is blocked. Officials stop the clock at 65 seconds remaining in the quarter. Flag down on Fairfield. Junior Thomas Lukacovic is called for an illegal body check to the head. Officials call for a one minute penalty that is unreleaseable because of the head contact. Bucknell go man up for one minute. Forty four seconds remain in the quarter when Tom Black takes a shot that Murphy saves. Flag down kills the play. Bucknell’s Jackson Place is called for offsides for a 30 second penalty. With 14 second remaining in the quarter, should the Stags hold the ball or got to the cage? Stags elect to kill the clock and hold the ball. Period ends with the scored tied at 2 -2 and the Stags retain the ball and start off the second period with the ball.
Stags have the ball and are a man up for 16 seconds to start the second quarter. Knostman’s shot 17 seconds into the period is blocked. Sperry finds the loose ground ball and resets the Stags offense. Stags commit a turnover at 13:55 and Bucknell clears. The Bisons’ offense works the Stags defense. Peter Burke gets an assist when Shelf scores at 13:27. Bucknell leads 3-2. Junior Louis DiGiacomo comes out to the X for Fairfield to face off against Farawell. DiGiacomo wins the draw and Neubarer on the wing gets to the ground ball. Stags take their time looking for the goal to knot up the score. Sperry curls around and puts a shot at the goal keeper’s feet. It seems to go in but the officials do not signal goal. Neubauer alertly sees the ball in the crease and sends it home. Neubauer scores unassisted to tie the game at 3-3 with 12:26. Roe returns to the face off circle against Farawell. Officials call a violation on Roe. Bucknell takes the ball and move into the offensive zone. First Burke takes a shot that goes high with 11:53 showing on the clock. Bisons restart and Ghelfi 30 seconds later takes a high shot. Bucknell keeps the ball. Burke scores unassisted to give Bucknell a 4-3 lead with 11:13 remaining in the first half. Farawell and Roe continue their face off battles with Farawell winning this face off. Bucknell’s offense takes their time now that they have the lead. Heritage takes a shot that Murphy saves at 10:16 but Bucknell gets the rebound. Tom Black’s quick shot is wide. Fairfield wins the race to the end line. Stags clear and set up in the offensive zone. Fairfield has a turnover around the cage so Grinberg gets to the ground ball. He clears the ball down field. Dickerson’s shot is saved by Murphy with 8:17 on the clock. Barry finds the ground ball and starts the clear. McLinden steps on the midfield line before with one toe and the Bucknell crowd calls for an offsides penalty. The lead official throws his flag. Play is stopped at 8:07 for a 30 second penalty on McLinden. Bisons’ extra man unit is on the field. Black takes a shot that is blocked with 7:55 showing on the clock for the second quarter. Junior Max Buchanan gets to the ground ball and starts the clear. Stags kill the penalty. Fairfield slows things down and are probing and probing. At 5:59, Sperry fires a shot high. Flag was down on Bucknell and play is stopped. Alex Spring gets a one minute slashing penalty. Stags man up team enters the game at 5:57. After a couple of quick passes, Henkhaus for Bucknell has a caused turnover. Bisons clear and kill off the slashing penalty. They wait till the sides are even when Burke fires a shot that goes wide with 4:40 remaining. Now Ghelfi sends a shot that Murphy saves. He starts a successful clear. Sperry takes a shot at 3:48 that goes wide. Stags backup and restart. Next Neubauer shoots and his shot goes wide. Coach Andy Coplan calls his first time out of the half. He obviously sees something he does not like with the offense. Stags restart and with 3:00 left in the half’, McLinden’s shot is saved by Grinberg. Bucknell clears and the offense waits to take a shot. With 2:04 on the clock, Joseph’s shot is saved by Murphy. He starts the clear with the Stags offense looking for the goal to tie the game. McLinden is behind the cage and Neubarer loses his defender. Neubauer takes the pass putting the ball swiftly into the back of the Bucknell cage. McLinden gets the assist on the goal that ties the game at 4-4 with 75 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Roe and Farawell take the face off. Roe wins the draw and his wing Barry gets to the ground ball. Barry goes straight for the box and Coach Copelan uses his second time out of the half at 1:05. Copelan diagrams the play to end the first half. Stags restart and Coach Copelan is telling his offense to wait and be patient. With 15 seconds left in the quarter, Stags attack the goal. A goal is seemingly scored with 3 seconds remaining but the officials say the Stags player was in the crease. Bucknell throws the ball downfield but the horn sounds ending the half. Game is tied at 4-4.
Fans in the stands are buzzing on how big and tough the Bucknell’s defense is. “Need to stop trading goals with them” is heard several times. Roe and Farawell step out to the midfield strip ready to take the third quarter face off. Roe wins the draw and Barr on the wing gets the ground ball. Stags offense goes on the attack but they commit a turnover. Bucknell clears and their attack is looking for a chance to score. After taking almost over a minute with the ball, Burke takes a wide shot. Bison back up and restart. Stags defense is not giving them any room. Senior Greg Perraut gets a caused turnover and Murphy scoops the ground ball. Stags clear and the attack goes to work. Fleming gets the ball and fires into the cage a very hard shot. His goal breaks the tie and is unassisted. Fairfield now leads 5-4 with 12:21 remaining in the third period. DiGicomo comes out to take the face off against Farawell. Farawell takes the draw and Bucknell’s Spring gets the ground ball. He passes back to his goal keeper who is out of the cage to set up the clear. Ball is loose near the end line. Sperry plays the goal keeper aggressively and is rewarded when the Bucknell player knocks the ball over the end line. Stags ball due to Sperry’s hustle. Stags offense work to find that next goal to get some separation from the Bisons. McLinden wraps around the cage but his shot is wide. Fleming takes a shot but it is saved by Grinberg. McLinden finds the rebound ground ball. Stags reset but Henkhaus gets a caused turnover. Bucknell’s Place takes the ground ball and Bucknell clears. The Bisons are looking for a chance to score but the Stags defense is not giving them a chance. Bisons have a turnover and Fairfield’s Barr gets the ground ball and clears. The Stags attack settles and work the Bisons defense. Fairfield has a turnover at 8:37 and Mike Schiappa gets the ground ball. He starts the Bucknell clear. Bisons’ attack is deliberate and the Stags defense works hard to take away any chances. Doyle takes a shot at 7:19 that is blocked and Murphy gets to the ground ball. He starts the clear. Stags attack look for a quick strike. Knostman takes a shot at 6:49 but Grinberg makes a tough save. Bucknell’s Mike Ondrusek gets to the rebound ground ball. Bison clear and they look to tie up the game. A quick shot is taken by Heritage that Murphy saves. Black gets to the rebound and sends it home for a score to tie the game. Black’s unassisted goal at 6:07 knots up the game at 5-5. DiGiacomo takes the face off against Farawell. Farawell wins the battle and Spring on the wing gets the ground ball. Bucknell’s attack is taking a long time to work the ball. Stags defenses are keeping the Bisons outside and out of the shooting lanes. Just over five minutes left in the quarter, Burke takes shot that goes wide. Bisons back up and restart. Burke again tries and his second shot is also wide. Bucknell keeps the ball. Burke fires again but Murphy makes the save at 4:31. Bisons get the ground ball and they take a minute off the clock. Murphy comes out of the cage and gets a caused turnover at 3:26. The Stags clearing attempt fails as the ball is turned over. Spring gets the ground ball. Flibotte takes a shot that Murphy saves at 2:47 remaining in the third period. Stags get a good clear and set up the offense. The attack is taking their time to get off a good shot. Federico fires a wide shot with 63 seconds remaining. Fairfield backs up the ball and restarts. The debate in the stands-when will the attack go to the cage? Will they wait till the clock gets to 15 seconds? Sperry has the ball behind the cage. Federico loses his defender and Sperry hits him with a pin point pass. Federico puts a very hard shot into the cage with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Stags now lead 6-5 with Sperry getting the assist. Farawell and DiGiacomo take the face off. Farawell wins the face off and his wing Spring gets to the ground ball. Bucknell wants that last second score to tie the game but the Fairfield defense will not let them take a shot. Just before the horn goes off, Perraut gets a caused turnover and Barry gets the ground ball preventing any final shot. Fairfield leads after three periods by a 6-5 score.
Final period starts with Farawell and DiGiacomo taking the face off. DiGiacomo gets the win with Neubauer coming in from the wing to get the ground ball. Stags attack takes a minute off the clock but Bucknell’s Spring gets a caused turnover. Bisons clear into their offensive zone. Bucknell takes some time off the clock. Burke takes a shot at the 12:44 mark that Murphy saves. Stags start their clear and reset the offense. Ball goes around the wheel and Warden has the ball. He fires his hardest shot of the year straight past the Bucknell goal keeper. Stags now lead 7-5 with 12:18 remaining in the game on Warden’s unassisted goal. In 2014, when the Stags need a big goal, Warden produces. DiGiacomo and Farawell renew their face off battle. DiGiacomo gets the win and Barry from the wing scoops the ground ball. Stags offense takes its time. After almost a minute, Neubauer gets past his defender. His shot lands in the back of the net. Stags new lead 7-5 with 10:58 remaining in the game on Neubauer’s unassisted goal-his third of the afternoon. DiGiacomo and Farawell meet at the X. DiGiacomo wins the face off and he gets the ground ball. Grinberg saves a Neubauer shot at 10:13. Spring gets to the ground ball. Bucknell clears and their offense is looking for a crack in the Stags defense. Senior Toby Armour strips a Bucknell attack player of the ball and he gets the ground ball. Fairfield clears into the box. Warden takes a quick shot that goes high. McLinden gets the ball from the end line and passes to Neubauer. Neubauer fires one of his rocket shots into the Bucknell goal. Stags now lead 9-5 with 8:33 left in the game on Neubauer’s fourth goal of the game and McLinden’s assist. Is the three goal lead good enough with the Stags defense blanketing the Bucknell attack? Bucknell’s coach calls time out as he tries to find a solution to the question. Game restarts DiGiacomo and Farawell facing off. Officials call a violation on the Stags FOGO. Bucknell ball. Into the offensive zone, the Bisons’ attack know they need to take shots. First Flibotte fires off a wide shot. Bisons back up to retain the ball. Next Heritage fires a wide shot at 7:20 left on the clock. Ryan gets the rebound ground ball for Bucknell. Flibotte takes another shot that also goes wide. Bisons slow down and the Stags defense is shutting down any further shots. Dickson takes a shot that Murphy saves. Bison get the rebound ground ball. Bisons commit a turnover and Perraut gets to the ground ball at 6:15. He starts the clear. Stags attack has the ball in the offensive zone. They are making careful passes waiting for right chance to take a shot. McLinden take the ball behind the cage. Fleming comes loose and he flicks the ball on the McLinden pass. Officials raise their hands signaling a goal. Most of us in the stands thought Fleming missed but the shot was so fast it blurred past the Bucknell net minder. Fairfield now has a five goal lead with 4:58 left in the game and 10-5 score being flashed on the scoreboard. Farawell and DiGiacomo face off at the X. DiGiacomo takes the face off with Neubauer sweeping up the ground ball from the wing. Will the Stags hold the ball until the officials call a stall? The offense takes over a minute off the clock when McLinden takes a shot that Grinberg saves with 3:44 remaining in the game. Bucknell clears and the Bisons need a score. Stags defense is not giving any room. Bucknell’s Brett Pearce takes a shot that is blocked at 2:50. Bisons retain possession. Doyle takes a shot that goes wide. When the ball goes out of bounds, Coach Copelan calls time out to give his defense a breather. Game restarts with 2:34 remaining in the game. After the restart by Bucknell, Doyle takes a shot that Murphy saves. Stags clear with 2:02 left to play. Stags run down the clock till 1:17 when Grinberg makes a save on McLinden’s shot. Bucknell clears. With 32 seconds left in the game, Adam Lynn for Bucknell takes a shot that is blocked. Flibotte gets the blocked shot on the ground. A last second shot with 20 seconds left in the game by Bucknell’s Burke is successful. Assist goes to Dickson making the score Fairfield 10 Bucknell 6. Farawell meets DiGiacomo one more time. DiGiacomo wins the face off and gets the ground ball. He passes to the attack. With the horn sounding to Bucknell gets a caused turnover. Fairfield 10 Bucknell 6-final score.
Bucknell outshot the Stags by a 43 to 27 margin. Bisons scooped up 34 ground balls while the Stags got 30 ground balls. Both teams had two face off violations. Stags won the battle at the face off circle taking 11 of 19 including 5 of 6 in the fourth quarter. The Bisons completed all 14 of their clears while the Stags were successful on 16 of 18. Bucknell cashed in on one of four extra man chances while the Stags did not score in their two EMO chances. Murphy had 11 saves and Grinberg has 9 saves in the game. In the turnover department, both teams had 14 turnovers.
Stars of the Game-do I start defensively or offensively? The whole team? Let’s go offensive to start. Sophomore TJ Neubauer scored four goals in the game. Plus he got to five ground balls playing the wing on face offs. Junior Colin McLinden played like an All American candidate. Scored the first Stags goal of the day and then handed out three assists. He also got to three ground balls. Freshman David Fleming scored two goals on three shots. Junior Drew Federico got a goal and one assist. Freshman Jack Knostman got a goal in the Bucknell game. This will boost his confidence in his shot. Finally but not the least-Senior Eric Warden scored one goal. Warden just seems in 2014 to score when the team needs it the most. His fourth quarter goal gave the Stags both momentum and the start to building the five difference for the later stages of the fourth quarter. Since it was the Stags seventh goal of the game and Bucknell scored six goals, this gives him his fifth game winning goal of the 2014 season! Defensively- First Senior Jack Murphy who had 11 saves plus five ground balls and two caused turnovers. The stalwarts in front of Murphy-Seniors Toby Armour, Greg Perraut, Juniors Max Buchanan and Thomas Lukacovic. The D middies who played great-Senior Shawn Honovich, Pete DeSalvo, Junior Bryan Barry, Sophomore Conor Barr and Freshman Jay Walsh. Both of the face off men had great games. Senior Michael Roe won 6 of 9 face offs and Junior Louis DiGiacomo took 6 of 10 face offs including winning 5 of 6 in the fourth quarter and got to two ground balls.
Frosh of the Year-Dave Fleming now has 15 goals and four assists for 19 points and Jake Neubauer has nine goals and four assists for 13 points. Still a close race. Waiting until the final games! Soph of the Year-TJ Neubauer -has raised his points total to 21 goals and two assists for a total of twenty three points.
Seen in the Stands-Coach Will Mraz was at the game strategizing. Great to have Will at a game and listen to his lacrosse insights. Gerald O’Hara ’90 came from Pleasantville, NY to see the Stags play. Light crowd for a midweek game at 1 PM.
This was a special game for a couple of reasons. Coach Andy Copelan is Bucknell alum and he beat his former team. Parent Tom Neubauer is also a Bucknell alum. This was the last Fairfield University Lacrosse home game on Alumni Field game. Next season, Rafferty Stadium will be the home of the Fairfield lacrosse teams. Stags go on the road for the next three games. On Saturday April 5th, Fairfield travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the Michigan Wolverines in an ECAC Lacrosse League game. The game is scheduled to start at 4:30 PM. It is being called “The Battle at the Big House.” Michigan’s Spring Football game will precede the lacrosse game. Should be a great experience for the team to play in a stadium with seating for over 100,000. Go Stags!! Roger Yergeau ‘73