The #16 ranked Fairfield Stags will take on the #3 ranked Loyola Greyhounds on Friday night at 6 PM EST for the ECAC Lacrosse League Championship in Denver, Colo. The winner of this game will receive the ECAC’s automatic qualifier bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Stags come into the contest with a 12-3 record and win in the semi-finals against Ohio State by an 8-7 score. Loyola held off a furious fourth rally by Denver to win in the semi-finals by a 14-13 score and have a 13-1 record for this season.
Since these teams played on April 7th, Loyola went to Denver and beat the Pioneers by a 12-9 score. They next traveled to Geneva, NY and beat Hobart easily by a 17-6 margin. In their last regular season game, the Greyhounds played cross town rival Johns Hopkins at home losing in OT by a 10-9 score. This was the first loss of the season for Loyola. On Wednesday night, the Greyhounds played Denver as the #1 seed in the ECAC Lacrosse League Tournament. The Greyhounds scored the first four goals of the game before Denver could get on the board. Loyola had an 8-5 lead at halftime. Denver scored the first goal of the second half off the faceoff but the Greyhounds then scored the next 5 straight goals to lead 13-6 with 13 minutes left in the game. Denver in the next 10 minutes scored seven straight goals to tie the game at 13-13. Loyola’s defense stiffened and the game saw no further scoring forcing OT. Long pole midfielder Scott Ratiff pickup a ground ball on the OT face off and scored 5 seconds into OT to make Loyola the winner. Eleven players scored the first 11 Loyola goals and and three Greyhounds including Ratiff scored two goals in the contest.
The Greyhounds know how to put the ball in the net. They have scored 172 goals this season off of 567 shots for a .303 shot percentage and a 12.29 goals per game average. Only Fairfield, Ohio State and Johns Hopkins have held the Greyhounds below 10 goals this season. Their opponents have scored 108 goals from 420 shots for a 7.71 goals per game average and a .257 shot percentage. Loyola has scored 105 goals via the assist and 67 goals unassisted. The opposition has 62 goals with an assist and 46 goals unassisted. The Greyhounds have an excellent man up opportunities numbers scoring 20 goals off of 38 chances for a .526 conversion rate. The man down unit has allowed 15 goals out of 41 opportunities for .366 conversion rate. The third period has been the most productive for goal scoring for the Greyhounds with 52 shots hitting the back of the net. Both the second and fourth quarters has seen the Greyhounds score 42 goals and 36 goals coming in the first period. Last night’s OT goal was the first scored this season. Their opponents have scored 31 goals in both the second and fourth quarter. The first quarter has seen the Greyhounds score 25 times and 20 times in the third quarter. They allowed one OT goal to Johns Hopkins.
The Greyhounds have gotten to 469 ground balls while their opponents have gotten to 396 ground balls. Loyola’s defense has caused 134 turnovers and the opponents have caused the Greyhounds to turn the ball over 99 times. The face off unit has won 173 faceoffs of 330 attempts for a.524 percentage versus 157 wins for the opponents of the 330 attempts for a .476 winning percentage. The Greyhounds have turned the ball over 183 times this season and the opponents have turned the ball over 229 times. Officials have penalized the Greyhounds 42 times this season and the opponents 38 times.
Mike Sawyer is their leading point getter and goal scorer with 42 goals and 8 assists for 50 points. Eric Lusby has 36 goals and 11 assists for 47 points and Justin Ward leads the team with 23 assists and 8 goals for 31 points. Davis Butts has 16 goals and 11 assists for 27 points and Sean O’Sullivan has 15 goals and 9 assists. With 16 points is Chris Layne who has 7 goals and 9 assists. Pat Brynes and Scott Ratliff have 14 points. Both have 8 goals and 6 assists. The final double diget point getter is J.P. Dalton with 8 goals and 4 assists for 12 points. Jack Runkel has started in goal 11 times this season with a 11 win and 1 loss record. He has played 690 minutes while allowing 92 goals for a 8.00 goals against average. He has made 122 assists for a .530 save percentage.
The Stags have scored 142 goals this season off of 498 shot attempts for a 10.14 goals scored per game average and a .285 shot percentage. The opponents have scored 124 times while taking 477 shots for a .260 shot percentage and a 8.86 goals scored per game average. Fairfield has 67 assists this season and have scored unassisted 73 times. The opposition has scored 73 times with an assist and 51 times unassisted. The Stags have converted the man extra opportunities .342 percentage scoring 13 goals out of 38 chances. Opponents man up units have scored 14 times also out of 47 times for a .298 conversion rate. Two of the Stags goals this season came while they were man down via Brent Adams while lead the ECAC in this category. The Stags have scored 49 times in the first period and 33 times in the second period. In the third period, Fairfield has scored 33 times and the 30 goals have come in fourth period. In the Stags four OT games, they have gotten the game winner twice in the first OT period and once in both the second and third OT periods. The opponents have scored 40 times in the fourth quarter and 31 times in the first period. The second period the opposition has scored 27 times and 25 times in the third period.
On defense, Fairfield has gotten to 398 ground balls and the opponents have snagged 408 ground balls. Stags have caused 94 turnovers and the opponents have caused the Stags to turn the ball over 113 times. The faceoff unit has 190 wins out of 318 attempts for a .597 winning percentage versus 128 wins out of 318 attempts for a .403 winning percentage. Fairfield has turned the ball over 213 times while the opponents have turned the ball over 201 times. The Stags have been flagged by officials 53 times versus 42 flag downs for the opponents.
Sam Snow leads the Stags in points and goals. He has 34 goals and 7 assists for 41 points this season. Brent Adams has 24 goals and 12 assists for 36 points while John Snellman has 31 goals and 3 assists for 34 points. Colin McLinden now has 8 goals and 18 assists for 26 points. Eric Warden, who came back from injury , has 16 goals and 6 assists for 22 points. Drew Federico has 8 goals and 9 assits for 17 points while Tristian Sperry has 10 goals and 6 assists for 16 points. Charlie Ciprino has played 915 minutes this season while allowing 129 goals for a 8.50 goals against average. He has been credited with 173 saves for a .570 save percentage.
Keys to Victory-The Stags are 6-0 this season in one goal games and 12-0 when they score 7 or more goals. On April 7th, the Stags were leading Loyola by a 6-4 score in the fourth period. Need to again get off to a fast start like on Wednesday night and need the big three scorers, Snow, Adams and Snellman, to lead the Stags offense. The defense needs to play their strong zone defense again on Friday night. Have to shut down Sawyer and Lusby like they did with with Ohio State’s Schuss. Finally, Charlie Cipriano needs to remain locked in like he was on Wednesday night. The team understands that the NCAA automatic qualifier bid is on the line. Look for the Stags to come out strong and play their best game of the season to knock off the #3 ranked Greyhounds. If we can keep it a close low scoring game, the Stags have an excellent chance to win the ECAC Lacrosse League Title.
How to see the Game-Again the game is on ESPNU at 6 PM EST and is on ESPN3 if you are watching on your computer or smart phone. GO STAGS!! Roger Yergeau ’73