What a great season for the Fairfield Lacrosse Stags. Highlights included a 7-0 start of the year winning streak, a program record, 12 wins for the season, another program record, and the second straight year in the ECAC Lacrosse Tournament finals. The team was ranked as high as #13 in the country, which again was a program record.
Let’s do a quick recap of the season. The Stags started with a two game home stand by beating the eventual America East champions Stony Brook by a 13-10 score. Next the game featured Bryant University where the Stags would win in 2 OTs by a 9-8 score with Sam Snow getting the game winner. The Stags then went on a four game road trip starting with a triple OT win over Hofstra with Brent Adams getting the game winner in a 10-9 final score. Fairfield matched the 10-9 with another OT victory with John Snellman getting the game winner over University of Maryland Baltimore County. Traveling next to Hamden, CT, the Stags had a 9-6 win over Quinnipiac. They closed out the road trip with a game against the University of Vermont winning by a 14-7 score. Lafayette came to Fairfield and the Stags won their seventh staight game by a 15-9 margin. Fairfield next had a game in Hamilton, NY and lost to Colgate, who is in the NCAA Tournament, by a 12-6 score. The ECAC season started with Hobart coming to Alumni Field and the Stags rebounding to win by a 17-12 margin. A trip to Louisville, KY resulting in a 9-8 win with Snow getting the game winner. Ranked # 4 the time and now the # 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Stags lost a close 8-6 decision after holding a 6-4 lead in the early fourth period. The Air Force Academy was next as Fairfield traveled to Colorado Springs, CO for a close 12-10 victory with Snow netting the final two Stags goals. Denver came to Lessing Field with a top 15 national ranking and the Stags prevailed in the first OT period after being down by three goals in the fourth quarter with Snow again getting the game winner. The Ohio State Buckeyes came to Fairfield and upset the Stags by a 8-3 margin. Up next was the ECAC Lacrosse League Tournament where the Stags tried to win the NCAA automatic qualifier. For the second year in a row, Fairfield came in as the #3 seed and beat the #2 seed. The Stags beat Ohio State by a 8-7 score with Snow getting the game winning goal after jumping out to a 5-1 first quarter lead. In the ECAC Lacrosse League Final, Fairfield lost to Loyola, who was ranked #3 in the country, by a 14-7 margin.
The Stags scored 157 goals this season with a .274 shot percentage and a 9.81 goals per game average. Of the goals scored, 75 came via an assist and 82 were unassisted goals. The man up unit scored fourteen goals out of 42 attempts for a .333 conversion rate. The Stags via Adams also scored two man down goals this season which lead the ECAC in that category. The Stags started fast in the first period scoring 52 goals. Both the second and fourth stanzas had the Stags scoring 34 goals. The third period, Fairfield scored 33 goals this season. In the four OT games, Fairfield got two goals in the first OT period and one each in the second and third OT.
Face offs were a huge improvement this year. Anchored by Michael Roe and assisted by Marshall Johnson, the unit won 209 of the 359 chances taken this season. This helped in resulting in snagged 449 ground balls by the team. The defensive unit caused 100 turnovers in the 2012 season. The Stags had 242 unforced turnovers during the year. Fairfield cleared the ball efficiently with a .834 clear percentage completing 231 clears out of 359 chances. The team was flagged for 55 penalties with resulted in 44 minute of penalty time.
Leading the Stags in total points and goals was Snow. He had 43 points with 35 goals and 8 assists. He broke the single season program scoring mark held by Michael Bocklet. The Norwalk, CT connection of Adams and Snellman were second and third in scoring for Fairfield. Adams had 25 goals and 13 assists for 38 points and Snellman finished the season with 33 goals and 3 assists for 36 points. Super freshman Colin McLinden had 8 goals and dished out 19 assists for 27 points while sophomore Eric Warden had 17 goals and 6 assists for 23 points. Warden was sidelined for several games late in the season with injuries making his totals impressive. All ECAC Rookie selections, Drew Federico and Tristian Sperry were next on the scoring list. Federico had 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points and Sperry had 10 goals and 6 assists for 16 points. Twice named all ECAC Goal Keeper of the Year Charlie Cipriano played 972 minutes this season. He allowed 142 goals for a 8.76 goals against average, He was credited with185 saves for a .566 save percentage. Sophmore Jack Murphy and freshman Conor Fraylick both saw 2 minutes of limited playing time this season.
Post Season Honors-Cipriano was named the ECAC Goal Keeper of the year for the second straight year. Named to the All ECAC First Team was Adams and Snow. Adams was named to the First Team for the past three years and is the first Stag to make All ECAC honors for all four years he has played. Snow was named to the First Team this year after making the Second Team last year. Drew Palmer and Snellman were named to the All ECAC Second Team. Named to the All ECAC Rookie team were Federico and Sperry. Don’t know how they missed McLinden for the All Rookie ECAC Team.
Seniors graduating-The Stags laxmen will say goodby to the following seniors- Brent Adams, Nick Tandoi, Dylan McGoldrick, Reed Marko, Drew Palmer, Sully Sullivan, John Snellman, Brendan McTague and Charlie Cipriano. This season class has posted 35 victories and equalled a program mark of four consecutive seasons with at least eight wins and a .500 of better mark in all four seasons. They have made tremendous contributions to the Fairfield lacrosse program and will be sorely missed next season.
Outlook for 2013 Season-The future is bright for the Stags in 2013. A new strong recruiting class will coming in and great contributions on the offensive side of the ball came from this year’s freshmen. Will need to rebuild the defense with the loss of Cipriano and the two of the three starting defenders in Palmer and Brendan McTague. Hopefully the NCAAs will not ignore the Stags next season. Also look for Michigan to join the ECAC Lacrosse League. It will only be time before they become a powerhouse after many years of dominating the college club scene. Roger Yergeau ’73