The #15/#17 Fairfield Men’s Lacrosse team traveled to Hamden, CT to take on the in state rival Quinnipiac Bobcats. In a steady rain and high 50 temps, the Stags offense put in five goals into the Bobcats net in the fourth quarter to secure a 15-10 victory. Sophomore TJ Neubauer lead the charge with a career high of seven points-six goals and one assist including a highlight reel goal in the fourth quarter. In addition, Neubauer got to six ground balls and four caused turnovers. Juniors Tristan Sperry had three goals and one assist and Colin McLinden had two goals and two assists. Senior Eric Warden chipped two goals and scooped up two ground balls. Senior Michael Roe’s and Junior Louis DiGiacomo work at the face off circle neutralized a hot Bobcats FOGO, Zach Vehar. They were a major key to the win. The Stags upped their record to 10-3 overall and 2-1 in the ECAC Lacrosse League while the Bobcats fell to 5-6 overall and 3-2 in the MAAC Lacrosse League standings.
Senior Jack Murphy is goal for the Stags and in a surprise move Jack Brust is handling the goal keeping duties for the Bobcats getting his first start of the season. Senior Michael Roe is ready at the face off circle to take on the red hot Zach Vehar. Vehar clamps and rakes the first face off of the day and starts the Bobcats off to the offensive set. Quinnipiac works the ball around for a minute. Matt Diehl feeds Ryan Keenan who puts the first shot of the game into the Fairfield nets. Quinnipiac takes the lead 1-0 at 13:58. Roe and Vehar again take the face off with Vehar taking the second draw of the day and sets up the Bobcats offense. Sophomore TJ Neubauer gets a caused turnover and Junior Max Buchanan gets to the ground ball. Stags quickly clear and take a fast shot. Senior Connor Maniatty’s shot is saved by Brust. He starts the clear and Bobcats look for a good shot. Quinnipiac’s Matt Kycia takes a shot that Murphy saves. Murphy starts the good clear at 11:57. Stags are patient for almost a minute looking for the right shot. Freshman Dave Fleming takes a wide shot. Stags back up to keep the ball but Coach Andy Copelan calls an early timeout at 10:58 of the first quarter. He obviously does not like something in the Stags attack. Stags restart and respond to Coach Copelan quickly. Junior Tristan Sperry gets his short stick match up and dodges past his defender. Sperry’s first shot of the day hits twine. Game is now tied at 1-1 with at 10:26. Junior Louis DiGiacomo now faces Vehar at the face off circle. DiGiacomo is first to the ball clamping it and gets it out. DiGiacomo finds the ground ball and the Stags restart their offense. Stags take over a minute off the clock working the ball when the Bobcats’ Chris Kendall gets a caused turnover. Carmen French gets the ground ball for Quinnipiac. Bobcats’ offense has a turnover 30 seconds into their offensive set. Stags clear and the offense work the perimeter for a shot. Senior Eric Warden fires a hard shot into the goal for an unassisted goal. Fairfield now leads 2-1 with 7:39 remaining in the first quarter. DiGiacomo faces off again against Vehar. Vehar does the clamp and rack, pops the ball into the front of his stick, races to the Stags goal and scores. The unassisted goal ties the game at 2-2 just six seconds after the Warden goal. Roe comes back out to take on Vehar. Roe ties up Vehar to prevent the clamp and rake. Roe gets the ball loose and picks up the ground ball. Stags offense works the Quinnipiac defense. Neubauer takes a shot but it hits the post! Bobcats’ Greg Penergast gets to the ground ball and he starts the clear. Quinnipiac’s Keenan takes a quick shot that Murphy saves. Stags clear and go into their offensive set. Bobcats Nat Nibbelink gets a caused turnover. Bobcats clear and quickly take a shot. Connor Meth scores unassisted at 5:19 in the first quarter. Quinnipiac now leads 3-2. Roe and Vehar face off. Roe ties up Vehar and Neubauer gets to the ground ball playing on the wing. Stags work the wheel. Sophomore Conor Dalton gives a feeding pass to his high school teammate Neubauer. Neubauer’s high heat is into the Bobcats goal. The assisted goal ties the score at 3-3 with 4:36 remaining in the first quarter. Roe and Vehar continue their duel at the X. Roe gets the win and the ground ball. Stags start on offense. They are working the Quinnipiac defensive perimeter. Warden takes a shot that goes wide at 3:38. Stags retain the ball but Bobcats’ Meth gets a caused turnover. Kendell for Quinnipiac gets to the ground ball. He starts the clear but the Stags are riding hard. Murphy gets a caused turnover at 3:06 and he starts a good Stags clear. Fairfield’s offensive unit continues to look for the right chance to go to the goal. Junior Colin McLinden goes behind the cage and takes his defender to the rack. McLinden finds top left corner and scores. His unassisted goal at 2:06 left in the first period gives the Stags a 4-3 lead. A great sign for the Fairfield offense as the first four Fairfield goals of the game are scored by the four scoring leaders for the Stags. Roe and Vehar take to the center of the field. Roe wins the face off and gets the ground ball. Stags look for one last second shot of the period shot that will push the lead to two goals. They wait until less than a minute to go when Sperry’s shot is saved by Brust. Kendell for the Bobcats gets a caused turnover on the restart with Evan Weldon getting to the ground ball. Quinnipiac clears but they have a turnover with five seconds remaining. The horn sounds ending the first period with the Stags leading Quinnipiac 4 to 3.
The second quarter starts with Roe and Vehar taking the face off. Roe beats Vehar and Sophomore Conor Barr gets to the ground ball. Stags offense works to get the first goal of the quarter. Stags take a minute off the clock and the shooting begins. First Fleming takes a shot that is high at 13:53. Stags back up. McLinden’s shot is wide at 13:46. Offense works the ball, and then Warden’s effort is wide at 13:14. Stags’ offense pulls back and works to find the best possible shot. Warden fires another shot that goes wide at 12:12. Fairfield continues to hold the ball. Freshman Jake Knostman next takes a shot that Brust makes the save. Quinnipiac clears the ball. Now they take a minute off the clock. Bobcats’ Tom Gilligan shot is blocked at 10:28. The rebound ground ball is picked up by Quinnipiac’s Tom McNaney. He passes to Matt Diehl who scores. The game is now tied at 4-4 at 10:05 of the second quarter. Roe and Vehar take the second face off of the second quarter. Vehar wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. A fast shot by Ryan Keenan is wide. Bobcats back up and keep the ball. Stags defense is tightly packed and Maniatty gets a caused turnover at 9:13. Barr gets to the ground ball and the Stags are clearing quickly. Fairfield has numbers as Barr send a great pass to Junior Bryan Barry. Barry hits Sperry in stride. Sperry’s shot finds the back of the Quinnipiac goal. Fairfield takes the lead 5-4 at 9:04 of the second quarter. Great to see the hard working D-Middie Barry gets rewarded with an assist on Sperry’s goal! Now DiGiacomo and Vehar face off. Vehar wins the draw and gets to the ground ball. Quinipiac works the ball for 30 seconds when they have a turnover. Stags clear and set up the offense. Fleming drives to the goal but his shot is wide at 7:38. Fairfield backs up. Neubauer gets the ball, dodges and fires one of his rockets between the Quinnipiac goal keeper and the right pipe. Fairfield now leads 6-4 on the unassisted Neubauer goal. Quinnipiac’s coach calls time out to slow down the Stags. Roe renews his battle at the face off circle against Vehar. Vehar wins this face off and gets to the ground ball. Quinnipiac slow things down and their offense is trying to find a shot against the tight Fairfield defense. Bobcats’ Tom Gilligan takes a shot at 5:39 that Murphy makes the save. The rebound ground ball is picked up by Bobcats’ Michael Sagl. Quinnipiac has a turnover at 5:09. Stags clear into the box. Coach Copelan uses his second time out of the half to give the team a rest at 4:54. Stags restart and the offense is patient. McLinden takes a shot at 3:52 but Brust makes a save. Quinnipiac clears into the offensive zone. They are not rushing their attack and have a turnover with 2:53 left in the first half. Fairfield clears the defensive zone. Fleming shot at 2:06 is wide. Fairfield backs up the shot and the offense shortens the period. Neubauer sees an opening and fires a shot past the Bobcats goal keeper. Stags now lead 7-4 with 1:27 left in the first half. Roe takes the face off against Vehar. Roe takes the draw and Barr gets to the ground ball. Moving the ball into the offensive zone, Stags have a turnover at 1:08 remaining in the half. Quinnipiac’s offense works for the final shot of the first half. With 18 seconds left in the half, Diehl scores unassisted. The score is now 7-5 Fairfield. Roe and Vehar take the face off. Freshman Jay Walsh gets to the ground ball. Horn sounds ending the first half. Stags lead 7-5.
The second half starts with Roe facing off against Vehar. Vehar wins the first face off of the second half and gets to the ground ball. Bobcats have an immediate turnover and the Stags offense go on the attack. Thirty seconds in the period, Knotsman takes a shot that Brust stops. Brust gets the ground ball and starts the clear. Once Quinnipiac has the ball in the offensive zone, Neubauar gets a caused turnover. Murphy gets to the ground ball at 13:46 and he starts the clear. Fleming takes a quick shot but it is wide of the mark. Stags reset and work the ball around. McLinden has the ball behind the cage looking for a cutter. Sperry breaks free. McLinden puts the ball in Sperry’s stick. Sperry scores the goal with an assist from McLinden at 13:03. Stags now lead 8-5. Roe and Vehar face off. Vehar wins the draw and Meth gets to the ground ball. Bobcats clear but they have a turnover shortly into their offensive set. Stags clear and Neubauer takes a quick shot high. Fairfield retains the ball and takes some time off the clock looking for a good shot. Quinnipiac’s Carmen French has a caused turnover but the Bobcats turn the ball over. Fairfield clears into the box. French gets his second caused turnover at 10:50 of the second quarter. Quinnipiac clears into the box. Now Senior Toby Armour has a caused turnover. Stags clear and Warden’s shot is saved by Brust with 9:33 left of the third quarter. Senior Alex Cramer scoops up the rebound ground ball and he pulls the ball out to settle the offense. Stags take time off the clock but have a turnover. Bobcats’ Dylan Webster gets the ground ball. After Quinnipiac works the ball downfield, Armour has another caused turnover. Stags ball when the ball goes out of bounds. Quinnipiac’s coach wants to settle things down and calls his first timeout of the second half with 8:16 remaining the third quarter. Stags clear on the restart. Knostman takes a wide shot 35 seconds into the Stags attack. Bobcats clear and settle their offense. Bobcats keep passing for over a minute when Gilligan scores. The unassisted goal comes at 6:18 left in the third period cutting the Fairfield lead at 8-6. DiGiacomo takes on Vehar. DiGiacomo wins and gets the ground ball. Stags’ attack the goal when McLinden puts home a fast break shot. McLinden gets the goal at 6:07 and to push the Stags lead to 9 to 6. Flag is down as McLinden gets slashed on his way to the cage by Evan Wendall. Goal is scored and the officials will administer a man down face off. DiGiacomo faces off against a new Bobcats at the face off circle, Chris Kendall. DiGiacomo directs the ball to Neubarer in the open wing. Stags set the man up goal attempt. Stags EMO works hard against the packed in Bobcats defense. Warden’s shot at 5:16 is saved by Brust. He starts the Bobcats clear. Diehl takes a wide shot at 4:13. Bobcats retain the ball. Max Buchanan gets a caused turnover and Senior Greg Perraut gets to the loose ground ball. Stags clear and a flag is down. Fairfield has a free play but cannot convert. Quinnipiac receives a penalty for having too many men on the field. The Bobcats will be a man down for 30 seconds. Stags’ EMO unit returns to the field at 2:31. Stags move the ball around quickly and Fleming’s shot is wide. Warden gets to the ground ball. Neubauer gets the ball from Warden and Neubauer spots Knostman cutting. Neubauer puts the ball into Knostman’s stick. Knostman buries his shot with two minutes remaining in the period. Fairfield is now in the lead by 10-6 on the even strength goal. DiGiacomo is still taking the face offs and Vehar come back. Vehar wins the draw. His wing Weldon gets the ground ball and streaks to the goal. Weldon passes to Keenan on the fast break. Keenan scores with an assist to Weldon cutting the Fairfield lead 10-7 with 1:44 still left to play in the third period. DiGiacomo takes the face off against Vehar. Vehar wins the face off and gets the ground ball. Quinnipiac’s offense looks like they want to wait to try and score late in the quarter. The Stags defense is not giving them any chances. Buchanan gets a caused turnover with 44 seconds remaining in the period. Senior Pete DeSalvo gets to the ground ball and he rushes the ball into the Stags offensive zone. The Fairfield attack wants the last 10 second goal but cannot find a good shot. Period ends with the Stags leading 10-7.
The fourth quarter is about to start. Stags fans are mindful of Quinnipiac’s six goal rally in the fourth quarter in their last game. Roe takes the first face off against Vehar in the final stanza. Roe beats Vehar with Neubauer on the wing getting the ground ball. He passes to McLinden and Neubauer continues to the cage. McLinden goes straight at Brust. Brust stops McLinden. The ball is loose on the ground in front of the crease. Neubauer comes sliding in on the ground, gets the ball and flicks it past the Bobcats’ goaltender! Garbage goal? Yes, but a great hustle and wonderful effort by Neubauer that would have been an ESPN Top 10 highlight. One of the best goals for the Stags in 2014. Neubauer’s goal with the assist from McLinden sixteen seconds into the fourth quarter now gives the Stags a four goal lead with the score now 11-7. Roe faces off Vehar at the face off circle. Vehar wins the draw and Meth gets to the ground ball. Quinnipiac’s offense works hard taking a minute off the clock. Flag is down and play stops at 13:56. Buchanan is called for a slash. Bobcats’ man up unit comes on the field. Bobcats work quickly. Quinniapiac’s Henry Murphy scores off a pass from Sagl at 13:32. Stags lead is now 11-8. Roe and Vehar take the face off with Vehar getting the win. Quinnipiac’s Evan Weldon gets the ground ball and starts the offense. Bobcats take their time before Diehl’s shot at 12:36 goes wide. Stags are closest to the ball when it goes out of bounds. Fairfield’s ball and the clear is successful. The offense works the Quinnipiac defensive perimeter. Sperry takes a shot the Brust saves at 11:37. Bobcats clear and go on the attack. Gilligan takes a shot that hits the pipe. Meth gets the rebound and his shot is into the goal. The unassisted goal comes at 10:52 remaining in the game and cuts the Fairfield lead to 11-9. Coach Copelan uses his first time out of the second half to settle down the team and stop the Bobcats momentum. DiGiacomo now is taking the face off against Vehar. DiGiacomo wins the draw and Neubauer gets to the ground ball playing on the wing. Fairfield’s attack tries to find a seam. Neubauer takes a shot that Brust saves at the 10:17 mark. Stags retain the ball. Quinnipiac’s Kendall gets a caused turnover and starts the clear after getting the ground ball with 9:41 left in the period. Bobcats’ Matt Kycia fires a shot that Murphy saves at 9:03. Gilligan gets the ground ball and passes to Sagl. Sagl’s shot is high. Bobcats keep the ball. Neubauer gets a caused turnover and he starts the clear. Fairfield’s offense settles down and works the Bobcats’ defense. Fleming has the ball and he passes to Warden. Warden takes a shot and it is past the Bobcats’ goal keeper. Warden’s assisted goal by Fleming at 7:37 makes the score 12-9. DiGiacomo takes the face off against Vehar. Vehar wins the face off and gets to the ground ball. He goes directly to the cage and fires a shot. Murphy makes a big time save. He gets to the ground ball and starts the clear. Sperry has the ball behind the cage. He spots the cutting Neubauer. Neubauer does not miss. His assisted goal from Sperry gives the Stags a four goal lead at 6:36 left in the game making it a 12-9 ball game. Roe now takes the face off. He wins the face off and gets the ground ball. Stags offense works the Bobcats defense. Fleming has the ball behind the net. He has scored in every game this season but does not have a goal in this game. I say aloud to Don Starski and Michael Roe’s father Richard, “David, you can take this guy.” Sure enough, Fleming goes iso and powers his way to the front of the cage. His hard shot is in the back of the cage. Fleming’s unassisted goal with 5:50 remaining in the game gives Fairfield a 14-9 lead. Roe takes the face off against Vehar. Roe takes the draw and Walsh gets the ground ball. Stags have a quick turnover. Quinnipiac clears and finds a packed Stags defense. Perraut gets a caused turnover at 5:02 and Stags clear. The Fairfield offense takes it time but a caused turnover by Meth comes with 4:14 left in the quarter. Bobcats’ Tom McNancy takes a shot that is wide. On the Quinnipiac restart, Neubauer gets a caused turnover at 3:30. Neubauer gets the ground ball and sprints down the field. He passes to Senior Alec Cramer. Neubauer keeps coming to the cage. Cramer hits Neubauer with a pass. The hot Neubauer strikes for his sixth goal of the game with 3:21 left in the game. Fairfield now leads 15-9. Roe and Vehar return to the face off circle. Vehar wins this face off and starts the Quinnipiac offense. The Bobcats start taking shots. Diehl takes his first shot at 2:23 and it goes wide. He takes a second shot at 2:12 and again his shot is wide. Quinnipiac keeps the ball. Nibbelink scores with an assist from Gilligan. Fairfield’s lead is now 15-10 with 1:36 showing on the clock. DiGiacomo takes the face off against versus Vehar. DiGiacomo gets the win and Maniatty gets the ground ball. Flag is down as Quinnipiac’s Meth is called for an illegal body check on the face off with 89 seconds left in the game. Stags man up unit is content to pass the ball and take time off the clock. Knotsman fires a shot that Brust saves with 45 seconds remaining in the game. Quinnipiac tries to clear the ball but they are stopped. Perraut finds the loose ground ball with just 20 seconds left in the game. Fairfield runs out the clock. Final score is Fairfield 15 Quinnipiac 10.
Fairfield outshot Quinnipiac by a 38 to 24 margin. Murphy had five saves while Brust was credited with 11 saves. Stags won the ground ball battle 30 to 28. Quinnipiac had 20 turnovers while the Stags had 11 turnovers. The officials did not call a face off violation on either team. The Stags’ team of Roe and DiGiacomo won 15 of 29 face offs. Fairfield cleared 17 of 17 on the day while the Bobcats cleared 15 of 17. Fairfield had three extra man chances and did not convert. The last EMO at the end of the game, Fairfield used the penalty minute mostly to kill the clock. Quinnipiac scored on it one extra man chance.
Stars of the Game-What a game for Sophomore TJ Neubauer!! Six goals, one assist, six ground ball and four caused turnovers! Very gutty performances in my book for Senior Eric Warden and Junior Colin McLinden. Both are battling season long wear and tear injuries and could have taken the day off. Warden had two goals and two ground balls while McLinden had two goals and two assists. Junior Tristan Sperry flies under the radar with three goals and one assist on the day. Sperry just keeps his steady workman like play game after game. Senior Michael Roe and Junior Louis DiGiacomo tagged teamed the Bobcats “hot” FOGO. Roe won 10 for 19 face offs and had four ground balls. DiGiacomo took five of ten face offs and got to two ground balls. He also did something subtle but important. Stags in the third period scored and went man up. DiGiacomo on the face off was able to push the ball to the empty wing thus allowing the Stags to take advantage of the man up. Senior Greg Perraut had two caused turnovers and two ground balls. Sophomore Conor Barr has three ground balls and Freshman Jay Walsh got to two ground balls.
Frosh of the Year-Freshman Dave Fleming is taking the lead for the mythical award. Fleming now has 27 points this season with 21 goals and six assists. He preserved his goal scoring streak in the fourth quarter with his great isolation goal. Plus made me look lacrosse smart! Freshman Jake Knostman has thirteen goals and six assists for 19 points. Great season for any player even more for a freshman. I am sounding like a broken record (they don’t record records any more). Outstanding play by the two freshman and both are very nice young men. Soph of the Year-Now first on the team in goals and third in points-Sophomore TJ Neubauer. He has 29 goals and five assists for 34 points. Plus he is second on the team in ground balls with 38. What a season!!
Seen in the Stands- Don Starski ’73 did not play on the first two Stags lacrosse teams. Don has become a true fan of Stags Lacrosse. He made the trip in the steady rain for the Quinnipiac game from Enfield, CT. Don- thanks for supporting the team and coming out in the steady rain. See you on April 26th for the Ohio State game.
I am giving a big applause to Coach Andy Copelan and his staff for the Quinnipiac game. The loss to Air Force was a big blow in many ways but one parent after the Air Force game e-mailed me “the team will be fine.” He was correct. The team was fine against Quinnipiac in large part of the coaching of Andy and his staff. Plus the team had gutty performances from their black and blue players. Great play from the offense and strong play from the defense especially in the second half. In addition determined play from the face off men to give the Stags an advantage. Due to the changes in the ECAC Lacrosse League teams, Fairfield does not have to play this weekend. I am sure the team will enjoy the rest and heal up the season long bumps and bruises from playing 13 games over the last two months in this cold winter/spring season. Fairfield next plays on April 26th against Ohio State at 1 PM on Lessing Field. Will be a big day for Stags Lacrosse. Reception at 11 AM for the Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse, formal ground breaking for Rafferty Stadium at 12 Noon, honoring the 10 Seniors before the game, an important ECAC Lacrosse League game at 1 PM against a resurgent Ohio State team, induction at halftime Ted Spencer, coach of the Stags for 13 seasons, into the Fairfield Athletic Hall of Fame and a post game reception for Ted. What a full day!!! Come early as parking will be a premium. Shuttle buses will be running from the parking lots to Lessing Field. Construction has started on the parking lot of Alumni Field so that parking is now gone. Hope many if not all of you make the trip to Fairfield to attend the Friends Reception, see the ground breaking of Rafferty Stadium, honoring the ten 2014 seniors, see the #15 team in the country play and congratulate Ted Spencer into the Fairfield Athletic Hall of Fame. Roger Yergeau ’73