No. 19 Fairfield Stifles Men's Lacrosse, 11-5
March 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD, Conn. -
No. 19 Fairfield men's lacrosse gave the No. 11 Minutemen their second loss of the season on Tuesday afternoon in Fairfield, Conn., as the Stags took an 11-5 game from UMass. UMass' offensive effort, once again led by Connor Mooney and Nick Mariano, was unable to keep up with Fairfield's attack, and dropped Massachusetts to 6-2 on the season while Fairfield advanced to 5-2.
After leading the Minutemen to a victory over No. 5 Penn State on Saturday, March 15, Mooney and Mariano duplicated their performances against the Stags with each netting two goals while Mariano picking up an assist. Jeff George also scored in the contest while Andrew Sokol and Grant Whiteway picked up an assist apiece.
Joe Calvello gave the Minutemen ample opportunities as he won 14-of-19 faceoffs while UMass finished the game flawless in transition, going 14-of-14 on clear attempts.
A pair of hat tricks from Eric Warden and Colin McLinden fueled the Stags' attack. Tristen Sperry kicked off the contest with a pair of goals in the first quarter while Drew Federico scored twice as well. Dave Fleming also tallied a goal with assists for Fairfield were credited to Fleming and McLinden.
Sparking the Stags offense early in competition, Fairfield's leading point scorer Sperry rounded the right side of the net and outpaced the UMass defense to put the Stags on the board with 12 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first quarter. Just 35-seconds later Sperry found a crease in the UMass defense, attacking the right side of the net again for his second and final goal of the contest.
From the 12-minute mark on both defenses would hold strong bringing the first quarter to a close with the score 2-0 in favor of Fairfield.
Fairfield continued its momentum in the second quarter earning unassisted goals from Fleming and Federico to take a 4-0 lead over the Minutemen with 8:06 left in the half.
It was not until there was 4:35 left in the half that the Minutemen tallied. Mariano circled around the back of the cage with a defender in his face, cut back left and snuck the ball into the top left corner just below the crossbar.
The Stags quickly regained their four goal lead 64 seconds later on McLinden's first score of the contest.
With time winding down, Fairfield turned the ball over on a stall violation, giving UMass one final chance to score before halftime. Following a UMass timeout with 13 seconds left, Mooney threaded the needle despite a tough angle on the right side of the goal with eight seconds left to chip the deficit down to 5-2 at the break.
In the third quarter the teams exchanged goals with Fairfield's Warden gabbing the first of the second half at the 12:48 mark in the quarter. Mariano quickly retaliated with a laser attempt through the right side of the defense from 10 yards exactly 90 seconds later.
McLinden then assisted Warden with 9:44 left in the third stanza followed by a man-up goal from George at the 5:20 mark from 15 yards out. Federico grabbed the final goal of the quarter to give the Stags a four-goal advantage at the end of the third, 8-4.
Mooney tallied for the second time on the contest to complete scoring for Massachusetts when he received a pass from Mariano with a defender at his side right in front of the cage and fought through the coverage for the strike.
Fairfield closed the contest with a man-up goal from Warden and two tallies from McLinden, one of which was an empty net mark with 1:26 left to play.
The next test for the Minutemen is slated for Saturday, March 22. UMass will host Hartford at Garber Field in Amherst, Mass., at 1 p.m.