To the Founders and Friends of Fairfield Lacrosse-The Fairfield Lacrosse team travels to Chapel Hill, NC on Saturday February 22, 2013 to play the University North Carolina Tar Heels. The Stags enter into this game with a 2-0 record and are ranked #15 in both major polls and the Tar Heels are 1-1 on the 2013 season and are ranked #9/#12 in the major lacrosse polls. You can follow the game on line at live stats. Here is the link to live stats:
The Tar Heels started the season on February 8th with home victory over the Air Force Academy, an ECAC Lacrosse League member, by a 16-8 score. On Saturday, the Tar Heels played the UMass Minutemen in the Third Annual Southern Showdown in Kennesaw, GA. They jumped into a 2-0 early lead on goals by Jimmy Bitter and Spencer Parks. UNC was in the lead at halftime by a 7-4 score. The Minutemen rallied to close the gap to 9-8 in the late third period but the Tar Heels scored the final two goals in the third stanza to push their lead to 11-8. UMass outscored the Tar Heels by four goals to none for Carolina in the fourth period to win the game by a 12-11 score. The Minutemen tied the game with 4:16 to play and got the winning goal 58 seconds later. Carolina out shot the UMass team 43-38 but the Minutemen had the shooting edge in the second half by a 22-15 margin.
The Tar Heels have scored 27 goals off of 92 shot attempts for a 13.50 goals per game and a .293 shot percentage. Their opponents have scored 20 goals with 72 shot attempts for a 10.0 goals per game average and a .278 shot percentage. North Carolina is averaging 46 shots per game and the opposition is averaging 36 shots per game. The Tar Heels have scored 14 assisted goals and 13 unassisted goals while their opponents have scored 8 times with an assist and 12 unassisted goals. UNC has scored 2 man up goals on four attempts for a .500 conversion percentage. The opposition has two man up goals in 9 attempts for a .222 conversion percentage. The Tar Heels have also scored a man down goal this year. oe
Carolina has gotten to 82 ground balls and the opponents have scooped up 69 ground balls. The Tar Heels have turned the ball over this year 22 times and the opposition had turned over the ball 28 times. The Carolina defense has caused 16 turnovers and the opponents have caused 13 turnovers. In the face off circle, UNC has won 32 face offs out of 54 chances for a .593 face off percentage. Their opponents have been successful 22 times in the face off circle out of the 54 attempts for a .407 face off percentage. The Tar Heels have cleared the ball .919 per cent and the opponents have cleared the ball at a .850 percentage. UNC has been flagged 9 times this year and the opponents have been penalized only four times.
North Carolina likes the third period by scoring 10 goals this year and five goals in the fourth period. The Tar Heels have scored 4 goals in the first and second goals in the 2013 campaign. The opponents have scored 5 goals in each period played this year. Leading the Tar Heels in scoring is Marcus Holman with four goals and seven assists for 11 points. Jimmy Bitter (seems like a Bitter has been playing for UNC for years!) is second in scoring with 7 goals and one assist for 8 points while Joey Sankey scoring 4 goals and one assists for five points. Both Ryan Creighton and Spencer Parks have four points with Creighton getting three goals and one assist and Parks has 2 goals and 2 assists. Kieran Burke has played all 120 minutes this season in the goal. He has allowed 20 goals for a 10 goals against average. He has made 23 saves for a .535 save percentage and he has faced 72 shots.
The Stags are coming off a very tough hard fought win against Navy on Tuesday by a 10-9 score. Fairfield has scored 18 goal this year after taking 74 shot attempts for a 9.0 goals per game average and a .243 shot percentage. The opponents have scored 15 goals with the opposition has taken 82 shot attempts for a 7.50 goals per game average and a.183 shot percentage. Fairfield has taken 37 shots per game and the opponents are averaging 41 shots per game. The Stags have gotten 10 goals via an assist and 8 unassisted goals while the opponents have 5 goals via the assist and 10 unassisted goals. Fairfield have not converted any extra man goals attempts going 0-9 this season for .000 conversion rate while the opponents have scored 2 goals in 8 attempts for a .250 conversion rate.
Fairfield has gotten to 58 ground balls and the opponents have scooped up 77 ground balls. The Stags have turned the ball over only 28 times this year while the opponents are turning the ball over 37 times. Fairfield’s defense has caused 21 turnovers this season and the opponents have caused the Stags to turn the ball over only 18 times. In the face off circle, Fairfield has won 13 of 39 attempts for a .333 winning percentage and the opponents have been successful 26 times out of 39 chances for a .667 winning percentage. The Stags have been successful on .878 percentage of their clears and the opposition has cleared the ball with a .794 percentage. Fairfield has been penalized 8 times this season and the opponents have been flagged 9 times.
The fourth period has been the most successful for the Stags with 10 goals being scored and four goals in the second quarter. The opening stanza has seen Fairfield score three times in the 2013 campaign and only once in the third period. The opponents best scoring period is also the final quarter with 6 goals and the second period with 5 goals. Opponents have scored only twice in both the first and third quarters. Leading the Stags in scoring is Junior Jordan Greenfield, who is having a breakout season, with 6 goals and 2 assists for 8 points. Sam Snow, who had the great 4th quarter against Navy, has five goals. Super Soph Colin McLinden has one goal and three assists for four points. Nick Guida, the surprise of 2013 as predicted by Coach Copelan, has three points with two goals and one assist and Eric Warden, who does a lot of the heavy lifting on offense, has one goal and two assists for three points. Frosh TJ Neubauer got on the score board on Tuesday with one goal and one assist. Expect a lot more points coming off TJ’s stick this year and in the future. Junior transfer Jack Murphy has played all 120 minutes in goal this year. He has allowed 15 goals for a 7.50 goals against average and getting 25 saves for a .625 save percentage. Murphy has faced 82 shots so far in this young season. He is making us forget Charlie Cipriano with his stellar work in goal. Today I received an e-mail from Mike Ronzoni ’87, captain of the 1987 undefeated team. He coached Murphy in the Cohasset, Mass. Youth Lacrosse League in 2002 and 2003 and warmed up Jack before games. Mike told me that Murphy was his neighbor and he had “talent and good kid to boot” when he coached him. Mike, THANKS for sending this along. Small world!
One of my former team mates John Megaw ’76 (hope I got the year right) sent me an e-mail noting that the Stags’ Lacrosse team probably plays the highest level of competition of any of the Fairfield sports team. I have to agree as we are playing #9,#12 North Carolina this weekend and will play later this year in ECAC Lacrosse League play, #1 Loyola and #8 Denver plus other 2012 NCAA qualifers. So what can we expect in the game on Saturday? No question, this is a step up in competition for the Stags laxmen for the 2013 season but with the tough ECAC level of play the team has seen in 2011 and 2012, in some ways this is not a step up in competition. I think there will be lots of scoring by both teams. Inside Lacrosse’s guru Quint Kessenich commented in his blog on Monday-
The Heels under-estimated the toughness of UMass, getting tripped up by a goal in Atlanta. Defense and goaltending remain the Achilles heel for a team that hasn’t been to Championship weekend in a long time.
Marcus Holman had a big debut in the Heels 16-8 win over an improved Air Force team. UNC welcomes Fairfield to Chapel Hill on Saturday.
Hope Quint is correct in his analysis of the Tarheel defense and goaltending. What appeared to be a preseason concern, the Stags defense in the hands of Hopkins’ transfer Toby Armour and third year starter Greg Perraut and help from Thomas Lukacovic, Gordie Wells, and Matt Ruetone and Murphy in goal is fast becoming a Stags strength. On offense with Sam Snow firing on all cylinders on Tuesday and the stellar play of Jordan Greenfield and the great contributions from Nick Guida, Colin McLinden, Eric Warden and TJ Neubauer, the offense is in good hands. Expect Tristian Sperry to return to action on Saturday and contribute with his offensive stick. I expect D Middies Marshall Johnson, who got a key assist in the Navy game and Shawn Honovich, who is the fastest Stags’ laxman, to contribute on the offensive end in transition. Fairfield has to improve its Extra Man Offense to beat UNC. Got to cash in those golden chances. Don’t know if Michael Roe is healthy but Sophomore Lou DiGiacomo came on in the late stages of the Navy game to get some great face off wins. If we can just be 50/50 in the face off circle, that will be a bonus to the Stags offensive efforts. Watch the game on line and I will report the final score after the last horn blows! Roger Yergeau ’73