We’re back with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Fairfield Stags, located in Fairfield, CT. Interesting note, ‘E’ is the first letter of the alphabet to not have a D1 lacrosse team… come on Emory and East Carolina, get with the program already!
Photo Credit: Craig Chase
Fairfield finished 8-7 in 2013 and nine of their 15 total games were decided by two goals or less. It didn’t matter if the Stags were playing the #1 team in the country or an unranked foe from the ECAC… chances were that the games was going to be close. Their worst loss of the season came at the hands of Hofstra by a 9-2 count. Their biggest win was a 10-9 victory over Denver near the end of the regular season. The Stags then lost to Denver 10-8 only 12 days later in the ECACs.
2012 saw Fairfield go 12-4, but the games were still really tight. Close games? It’s a Fairfield thing. This year Head Coach Andy Copelan has his team looking at a new schedule (the ECAC has changed dramatically and some OOC opponents have been changed) and Fairfield is hoping to win a couple more of those close games from 2013. Do they have the horses to get it done?
With the departure of Sam Snow this year, Jordan Greenfield should draw even more attention from opposing defenses. Greenfield had a great year in 2013 but he’s far from alone for Fairfield on O. Colin McLinden, Eric Warden, and TJ Neubauer all return in the midfield, while Tristan Sperry and Nick Guida return at attack. Each of those guys scored at least 10 points last year, and saw a lot of time on the field. This group gives Fairfield a really solid jumping off point for 2014.
When it comes to defense, Fairfield also returns a pretty solid core. Toby Armour and Greg Perraut both return down low and provide solid experience and attitude. I’d expect Thomas Lukacovic to see more time this year, and at some point I think freshman LSM Jay Walsh could break in and see time as he is a rangy and tough athlete. Brian Barry should be back for another important season of doing the defensive dirty work from the midfield.
In goal, Jack Murphy returns for his senior season after playing every single minute of every game in 2013. Murphy was drafted in the MLL this Winter, and with his 53% save percentage, 9.7 GAA, and returning defensive core, Murphy should shine. Fairfield also has experience at face offs as Michael Roe returns for a graduate year after winning around 51% of his draws last year. The Stags would benefit from an improvement there, but with the rest of their core returning for the most part, it is not a major concern. I rarely say that!
Fairfield has a slightly easier schedule (or so it seems) for 2014, and returns quite a bit of top level talent. They are not at the point where they will crush people routinely, but they can compete with anyone out there, and are eternally dangerous. Never sleep on the Stags. The big question seems to be “how will these one goal games pan out?” My guess is that Fairfield wins more than they lose, but not by much. A couple shocking wins could do big things however, so keep your eyes on this team.
For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air Force, Albany, Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Boston, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius,
Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Delaware, Detroit, Drexel, and Duke.