The #11/#12 Fairfield Men’s Lacrosse Stags traveled to Colorado Springs, CO to play the Air Force Falcons in an ECAC Lacrosse League game. Air Force jumped out to a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period and were never headed. The Falcons scored five goals in the second and fourth quarters to build up their leads. Freshman Dave Fleming had three goals and one assist to pace the Stags in scoring while Sophomore TJ Neubauer and Freshman Jake Knostman both had two goals on the day. Knostman added an assist in the Air Force game. Fairfield dropped to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in ECAC Lacrosse League play. Air Force now has won six straight games. The Falcons overall record is now 8-3 and 3-0 in the ECAC Lacrosse League standing.
The game starts with Senior Jack Murphy in goal for Fairfield while Brett Dadiego started in the cage for the Falcons. Senior Michael Roe takes the initial face off against Erik Smith for the Falcons. Smith wins the draw and he gets the ground ball. Air Force sets up their first offensive effort. After 61 seconds of play, Sophomore Conor Barr gets a caused turnover. Junior Drew Federico gets to the ground ball but Air Force gets the ball back when Smith gets a ground ball. Smith takes the first shot of the game at 13:29 that Murphy saves. Sophomore TJ Neubarer gets the rebound ground ball. Fairfield clears and sets up its offense. The Stags work the ball for almost a minute when the Falcons Marcus Walker gets a caused turnover at 12:29. Air Force’s Matt Puleo scoops up the ground ball. Falcons have a clean clear. Air Force’s offense take their time. The Falcons Mike Crampton sends a shot wide at 11:15. Air Force’s Tommy McKee takes a shot that Murphy saves. Falcons get to the rebound. After taking another minute off the clock, Crampton’s shot is blocked at 10:13. Crampton gets to the ground ball. Senior Connor Maniatty gets a caused turnover. Stags clearing attempt is unsuccessful when they have a turnover. Air Force’s offense cycles the ball. First, Christopher Allen takes a shot that goes wide at 8:38. Then Crampton 20 seconds later hits the post. Crampton follow up shot at 7:53 goes wide. Murphy gets to the ground ball and starts the clear. Stags’ clear fails on a caused turnover by Kyle O’Brien. O’Brien gets the ground ball and passes to Tommy McKee. McKee finds a cutting Keith Dreyer who puts the shot in the nets. Air Force takes a 1-0 lead at 7:08 with McKee getting an assist. Coach Copelan does not like how his team is playing and he uses his first time out of the first half. Roe and Smith go to the face off circle. Roe wins the face off and he gets to the ground ball. He passes off to his wing Sophomore TJ Neubauer. Neubauer drives to the cage. He fires a hard shot into the goal. The unassisted goal has both teams tied up at 1-1 with 6:54 remaining on the clock. Junior Louis DiGiacomo now takes the draw against Bryan Price. Junior Bryan Barry gets the ground ball playing on the wing. The Stags have a turnover. The Falcons’ Alex Warden gets to the ground ball but the Falcons turn the ball over. Federico scoops up a ground ball. Fairfield has a turnover and the Falcons successfully clears. After working the ball for almost two minutes, McKee gets his first goal of the day. Air Force now leads 2-1 with Smith getting an assist at 4:34. DiGiacomo takes the face off against Price. DiGiacomo wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. Stags offense sets up but have a caused turnover created by Air Force’s Chris Carr. First Carr gets to the ground ball then the Falcons’ Warden gets to the ground ball. Air Force clears the ball. Falcons work the wheel. Dreyer scores with an assist from Crampton. Air Force leads the game 3-1 with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Roe comes back out to take on Price at the face off circle. Price takes the draw and the ground ball. Air Force works their offense for over a minute. Crampton takes a shot at 1:12 that goes wide. Murphy makes the save. Stags clear into the offensive zone with 47 seconds left in the quarter. Officials stop play with 32 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Air Force’s Marcus Walker gets a 30 second penalty for a push. Stags extra man unit enters the game. First Neubauer takes a shot that goes wide. Then McLinden has a shot that is saved by Dadiego. Freshman Jake Knostman gets to the rebound ground ball. Knostman takes a last second shot that Dadiego saves. Period ends with Air Force in the lead by a 3-1 score.
Smith comes out to the face off circle for Air Force and Roe for the Stags to start the second quarter. Roe takes the face off and gets to the resulting ground ball. Stags look for a chance to score. McLinden goes to the cage but is stopped by Dadiego. Senior Eric Warden gets to rebound ground ball. Stags have a turnover and the Falcons’ Warden gets to the ground ball. Air Force clears into the box. At 13:17, Crampton scores with Kyle Cassady getting an assist. Air Force now leads 4-1. Roe now faces Price at the X. Roe wins the face off and Neubauer on the wing gets to the ground ball. Stags offense sets up and Freshman Dave Fleming finds an opening. He puts home his shot at 12:24 unassisted to cut the Air Force lead to 4-2. Roe now finds Price in the middle of the field. Roe beats Price and he gets to the ground ball. Quickly, Air Force’s Matt Pueleo has a created turnover. Falcons move the ball into the offensive zone. Cassady takes a shot that is blocked. With 10:01 showing on the clock, Falcons call time out. Air Force restarts with Cassady going directly to the goal and scores unassisted. Falcons increase their lead to 5-2 at the 9:51 mark of the second quarter. It is Roe and Price taking the face off. Price wins the battle and the ground ball is picked up by Kyle O’Brien playing the wing. The Falcons are taking their time. Air Force’s McKee takes a shot that Murphy saves. Dreyer gets to the rebound ground ball. Falcons use their second time out of the half at 8:29. Air Force restarts and come out shooting. Dreyer has a shot that goes wide. Falcons restart their offense and are in no rush. Smith dodges and his shot is good for an unassisted goal. Air Force now leads 6-2 with 7:11 remaining in the first half. Roe takes on Price. Price takes the draw and gets to the ground ball. Crampton fires a fast shot and Murphy makes the save. Falcons’ James Burke follows up with a shot that Murphy saves. Crampton gets the ground ball and finds McKee who scores. Air Force now leads 7-2 on the assisted goal with 4:51 left in the second quarter. Coach Copelan calls his second time out of the half to settle down the team. Roe and Price restart the game with Roe wining the draw and getting the ground ball. He starts the Stags offense and they come out shooting. First Fleming takes a shot that is saved by Dadiego. Stags reset the offense. Now Sperry’s shot is wide. Fleming gets the rebound ground ball. He finds Knostman who scores the goal with three minutes remaining in the half. Score is now Air Force 7-3. Roe renews his battle against Price. Roe wins the draw and Barr gets to the ground ball. Stags look to cut the lead before halftime. Warden takes a shot that is saved. Falcons clear. They want the last shot of the second quarter. They take the clock down to 21 seconds. The Falcons’Allen fires a shot that Murphy saves. Smith gets the ground ball. He passes to Crampton who puts the ball into the nets. This assisted Falcons goal with 18 seconds remaining in the half pushes the Falcon lead to 8-3. Roe and Price take the final face with Roe winning. First half ends with the Air Force winning 8-3.
The second half is ready to begin and Air Force makes a change in goal. Now Doug Gouchoe is between the pipes for the Falcons. Air Force has been doing split duty between their two front line goal keepers for most of the season. Roe and Smith take the first face off of the third quarter. Roe wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. Roe goes directly to the cage but his shot is wide. Stags backup and keep the ball. Fairfield’s offense at 14:14 has a turnover and the Falcons are able to clear the ball. They take their time setting up the attack. Air Force’s Smith takes the first shot of the half but it is blocked. Flags are down on the ground. Senior D Middie Pete DeSalvo is called for a slash at 13:04. Falcons send out their EMO team. They work the ball and 30 seconds into the penalty, Cassady scores with Dreyer assisting. Falcons now lead 9-3 at the 13:36 mark of the period. Falcons send out Price to face Roe for the face off. Roe wins the draw with Manniatty on the wing getting the ground ball. Stags offense works the Falcons defense. Play stops as the Air Force’s Price is called for slashing at 11:47. Fairfield’s extra man unit comes on the field for the second time today. They work quickly as Knostman feeds Fleming who scores at 11:31. Score is now Air Force 9 Fairfield 4. Price comes out of the penalty box to take the face off against Roe. Roe wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. Air Force’s O’Brien gets a caused turnover but the Falcons turn the ball over back to the Stags. Senior Greg Perraut gets the ground ball and a subsequent ground ball is picked up by Fleming. Fleming goes hard to the cage and scores unassisted. This is Fleming’s third goal of the game. His goal at 10:02 cuts the Air Force lead to 9-5. Roe now faces Smith in the face off circle. Smith takes the face off and gets to the ground ball. Dreyer takes a quick shot that Murphy saves. Roe is still on the field from the face off and he gathers up the ground ball. The Fairfield clear fails as the Falcons’ Brandon Bowman gets a caused turnover with 9 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Falcons’ Allan takes a shot 30 seconds into the offensive set with Murphy getting the save. Stags clear is good and the Fairfield offense works hard to find a good shot. After working the ball for over a minute, Fairfield suffers a caused turnover with Puleo getting credit at 6:53. Falcons clear and in transition beat the Stags. Dreyer finds McKee who scores. Air Force now leads 10 to 5 at the 6:40 mark of the third quarter. Roe and Smith take the face off. Smith wins and gets the ground ball. Crampton gets a ground ball when Smith’s stick is checked. Crampton immediately goes to the nets and scores. His unassisted goal comes only 16 seconds after the last Falcons goal. Air Force now extends its lead to 11-5 with 6:24 left in the third quarter. Roe and Price battle for the face off with Price getting the win and O’Brien the ground ball. Air Force’s offense slows things down. Crampton has a shot blocked at 5:16. Falcons back up and take the air out of the ball. Crampton fires another shot but this one is wide. Air Force keeps the ball and Smith’s shot at 3:52 is wide. Falcons keep possession. Their offense is no hurry to go to the cage. Finally at 2:34 left in the third quarter, Michael Curran takes a shot that Murphy saves. Stags clear the ball into their offensive half. Air Force’s Luke Leathers gets a caused turnover but the clear fails when the Falcons have a turnover. Stags offense looks for a shot. Knostman takes one with 35 seconds left in the period but Gouchoe makes the save. Air Force clears. Dreyer takes one last shot of the period that Murphy saves as the horn sounds. Air Force leads 11-5 at the end of three periods.
The final period starts with Roe and Price again taking the face off. Officials call a violation on Roe. Falcons’ ball and they start their offensive set. Allen takes a shot 48 seconds into the period that goes wide. Air Force keeps the ball when McKee gets to the ground ball. Allen takes another wide shot. Falcons still have the ball. Allen takes a third shot and this one ends up in the back of the nets. His unassisted goal with 13:03 remaining in the game pushes the Air Force lead to 12-5. Roe battles Price again. Roe gets the win and Neubauer gets the ground ball playing wing. Stags offense looks for a shot and Fleming takes it at 12:11. The shot is saved by Gouchoe and Fleming fights to get the loose rebound ground ball. Fleming fires again but Gouchoe makes another save. Stags reset their offense. Sophomore Conor Dalton finds his long time teammate Neubauer. Neubauer puts his shot past the Falcons goal keeper. Air Force’s lead at 11:34 is now 12-6. DiGiacomo gives Roe a breather. He goes to the face off circle against Price. Price wins the face off with Bowman getting the ground ball. Air Force’s offense is working slowly as they are in no rush to take a shot. Shortly after the 10 minute mark, McKee takes a shot that goes wide. Stags get the ball and successfully clear. Knostman does not waste any time and his shot is in the goal. The unassisted goal comes with 9:39 left in the game. Air Force still leads by a 12-7 score. DiGiacomo is facing off against Price. DiGiacomo wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. Stags have a turnover and Air Force clears the ball. They take over a minute off the clock and Smith scores unassisted 8:21 left in the game. Falcons now lead 13-7. DiGiacomo and Smith square off the face off X. Smith wins the draw and the ground ball. He goes directly to the goal and passes to McKee. McKee scores with Smith getting the assist just 8 seconds after the last Falcon score. Air Force now leads 14-7 with 8:13 left in the game. DiGiacomo now faces off against Price. Price wins the draw and gets to the ground ball. Price takes a fast shot but it goes wide. Air Force backs up and restarts. Crampton feeds a cutting Austin Smith. He scores for the Falcons at 7:42. Air Force leads 15-7. Coach Copelan calls time out to stop the Falcons momentum. Roe now takes the face off against Price. Officials call a violation on Roe. Falcons’ ball. Air Force’s offense really slows down the pace of the game. The officials call the first stall warning of the day. Air Force now has 30 seconds to get a shot on the cage at 6:06 remaining in the game. Officials call a shot clock violation at 5:36 on Air Force. Ball is turned over to Fairfield and the Stags clear. Stags try to find an opening for a shot but the Falcons defense is playing tough. Leathers gets a caused turnover at 4:42 and Air Force’s Warden gets the ground ball. Air Force clears and have numbers in transition. Dreyer streaks down the field and passes to McKee who flicks it home for his fifth goal of the game. Air Force extends its lead to 16-7 with 4:30 left in the game. Freshman goal keeper Tyler Behring replaces Murphy in the nets. DiGiacomo faces off against Dylan Leary. DiGiacomo gets the win and the ground ball. Air Force gets a caused turnover and they restart their offense. Crampton tests Behring and he makes the save. He starts the clear and Fleming takes a fast shot. Gouche makes the save. The Falcons clear fails and they have a turnover when the ball goes out of bounds. Air Force takes a time out with 2:20 remaining in the game. Stags restart and clear the ball. Senior Alex Cramer takes a pass from Freshman Nico Panepinto. Cramer scores with Panepinto getting the assist. Air Force leads 16-8 with 2:03 remaining in the game. DiGiacomo faces off against Price. Price wins the battle. and O’Brien gets to the ground ball. Falcons take their time and with 60 seconds remaining, Falcon’s Matt Scott takes a shot. Behring makes the save. Smith gets to the rebound ground ball. Allen takes a shot that is blocked with 37 seconds remaining. Falcons back up and keep the ball. Falcons’ Matt Scott takes the final shot of the game and it is wide. Final horn sounds. Air Force wins by a 16-8 score.
The Falcons out shot the Stags by a 50 to 20 margin. The Stags net minders made 13 saves and the Falcons goal keepers made 9 saves in the game. Both teams had 28 ground balls. Fairfield had 15 turnovers while Air Force only had 7 turnovers. Fairfield’s FOGOs had two violations in the game with both coming in the fourth quarter and Air Force did not have any violations. Stags won 14 of 27 face offs while Air Force took 13 of 27 from the X. Stags were successful 10 of 13 clears while the Falcons cleared 11 of 13 chances. Stags on the extra man scored once out of two chances. Air Force converted its only man up opportunity.
Stars of the game-Freshman Dave Fleming continues his scoring streak of getting a goal in all of the Stags games this season. Fleming got a three goal hat trick, one assist and three ground balls. Classmate Jake Knostman got two goals, one assist and one ground ball. Both Fleming and Knostman assisted on goals for each other. This combination first struck in the Michigan game. Sophomore TJ Neubauer scored two goals on three shots along with scooping up three ground balls. Senior Michael Roe had a very good day at the face off circle winning 11 of 20 face offs and eight ground ball. Third straight game that Roe’s face off numbers are approaching those he put up in his great season of 2012.
Frosh of the Year- Both Fleming and Knostman are having outstanding rookie campaigns. Not only are they both scoring goals and getting assists, they are starting to develop “chemistry” that will pay off for the Stags the rest of this season and for the next three years. Fleming now has 20 goals along with five assists for 25 points. Knostman has tallied 12 goals and six assists. Let’s wait till the end of the season to declare the “Frosh of the Year. ” Right now, we have two outstanding freshman players. Soph of the Year-Neubaurer continues his great sophomore season. He is second on the team in goals with 23 and four assists for 27 points.
The Stags need to forget this game and focus on the next road game on Tuesday. Quinnipiac is a “pesky” team and have given the Stags fits over the year. In the Air Force game, the Stags three leading scorers were blanked. McLinden, Sperry and Warden are too good to be stopped two games in a row. Strongly believe the Stags’ defense had a long talk on the way home from Colorado and will be a force on Tuesday. They have been playing at too high a level to have one game to cut into their skills and confidence. Murphy bounced back after his bad outing earlier this year and I fully expect him to have a good game on Tuesday afternoon, April 15th. Stags next outing will be against in state foe Quinnipiac. The game is scheduled to start at 4 PM. The site of the game is the QU Lacrosse Turf Field on the Quinnipiac campus in Hamden, CT. Full pre game report to follow shortly. Best Regards- Roger Yergeau ’73