The men's lacrosse team is set for the CAA Semifinals at No. 1 seed and No. 20 nationally ranked Fairfield. The Minutemen and Stags square off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 30. Below is a preview of the game and all the pertinent information for following along:
Scouting Fairfield Men's Lacrosse
Fairfield men's lacrosse earned the No. 1 seed and right to host the CAA Championship during the final regular season weekend as the Stags ended 9-5 overall and 4-1 in league play with a 5-4 win over Hofstra on Friday, April 24. The Stags' win coupled with Towson's loss sent the No. 1 spot to Fairfield in its first year competing in the CAA.
Tristan Sperry continues to lead the way with 20 goals and 23 assists for a team-best 43 points. He also has 33 groundballs on the year, the most among CAA attackmen. TJ Neubauer (29 goals, three assists) and Colin McLinden (12 goals, 20 assists) add 32 points apiece as the squad outscores foes, 136-103 on the year with 213 points to 167 for the opposition.
Tyler Behring stepped between the pipes against UMass-Lowell midway through the season and has not relinquished goalie duties since. He holds a 6-1 record, with the lone loss an 8-7 defeat against No. 16 Towson, with a 5.95 goals-against average and .645 save percentage over 443 minutes in the cage.
Andy Copelan is in his ninth season as the head coach of Fairfield men's lacrosse and 11th overall as a program leader, including two at Marist College. Copelan is 58-36 with the Stags and 82-55 during his collegiate head coaching career.
Last Meeting: Fairfield 10, Massachusetts 9; April 4, 2014
UMass had its furious fourth quarter rally fall one goal shy of tying late as the Minutemen dropped a 10-9 decision to Fairfield at McGuirk Stadium. Buddy Carr led eight from the Maroon and White in the scoring column with two goals.
The Stags made use of a five-goal run covering the close of the first half and entire third quarter to turn a 4-3 deficit into an 8-4 advantage entering the final frame. Nick Mariano snapped the UMass drought when he bested Fairfield goalie Tyler Behring with a shot 10 yards out from the right post. After Mariano's goal at the nine-minute, 43-second mark of the fourth, the Minutemen poured in four more tallies in the next six minutes and 51 seconds of game action.
Carr ended the streak with back-to-back scores, the final of which brought UMass within 10-9 of Fairfield with nearly three minutes to play in the game. Neither side was able to find the back of the net again during the remainder of play while Neubauer and Charlie Schnider kept the Minuteman rally at bay with a goal each in the fourth during UMass' run of offensive success.
On Top Of The Tweet Game
Instant information about the men's lacrosse program, including an inside look at key points and statistics in each game as well as updates from practice and other team events can be found through the Twitter handle @UMassMLacrosse. Follow the Minutemen there and catch information about each UMass Athletic Department program through @UMassAthletics.
All Home Contests Available On UMass All-Access
UMass men's lacrosse will have each of its seven home games broadcast online through UMass All-Access, a CBS Interactive product. The link for each broadcast was accessible in each game preview to direct fans or other interest parties to the subscription page, where the viewer is asked to purchase the plan he or she believes to be appropriate.
UMass In The CAA Championship
UMass men's lacrosse makes its fifth appearance in the CAA Championship during six years with the league. The Minutemen joined the CAA ahead of the 2010 season and won the league title in 2012. The squad has another appearance in the championship game in 2011 and exited the tournament in the semifinal round during 2010 and 2013. Their five appearances stand tied with Drexel (2010, 2012-15) and Towson (2010, 2012-15) for the most in the span. The Maroon and White own a 3-3 all-time record in the event.
More on the Minuteman program is available through UMassAthletics.com.