Sperry Paces Stags in 12-10 Win Over Air Force
from press release
The No. 17 Fairfield University men's lacrosse team reached double digits in wins for the first time since 2005 and clinched a berth in the ECAC Lacrosse League Championship with a 12-10 victory over host Air Force this afternoon at Falcon Stadium. The Stags improve to 10-2 on the year and 3-1 in league play, while the Falcons fall to 6-5 overall and 1-3 in ECAC action.
The Falcons scored three straight goals in a 2:41 span to close a four-goal deficit to just one, 11-10, with 1:56 to play in the game. Air Force won the ensuing face-off and put a shot on net with 87 seconds remaining but Charlie Cipriano made his season-best equaling 16th save of the game to turn the Falcons away. Fairfield would successfully clear the ball and Sam Snow would net his third tally of the game to give the Stags a two-goal cushion with 48 seconds remaining. Michael Row would win the final face-off, his 12thof the game, to seal the win.
Snow paced the Stags offense with five points on the afternoon, completing the hat trick and handing out two assists. Tristan Sperry scored a career-high four goals, including a tally 12 seconds into the final stanza, to pace the Fairfield offense.
Cipriano made 16 saves in the game, as Air Force peppered the Stags defense with 45 shots in the game. The Stags senior keeper also picked up three ground balls in the contest. Air Force goalkeeper Austin Fox made 11 saves as the Stags found the goal 12 times and put 23 of 27 shots on cage.
Fairfield jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Connor Maniatty (13:35), John Snellman (10:50) and Nick Tandoi (9:53) found the back of the net in the first 5:07 of play. Tom Burgess slowed the Stags attack with the Falcons first goal at the 7:04 mark, but 94 seconds later Snow netted his first of the game to give Fairfield a 4-1 edge. Sperry struck for his first at the 3:54 mark, for what would be the largest margin of the game, 5-1. Air Force answered with the final two goals of the first quarter and the first of the second, to draw back within a goal, 5-4, 30 seconds into the period.
After over eight minutes of empty possessions for both sides, Sperry took matters into his own hands. He scored unassisted goals at the 6:17 and 1:49 mark to push the Fairfield lead to 7-6. Brent Adams got into the act 30 seconds later as he netted a Snow pass to give the Stags and 8-4 halftime lead.
Air Force would come on again in the second-half, scoring goals at the 8:33 and 6:53 marks to close within two goals, but again Snow played a hand in fending off the rally. With a man-up advantage coming to a close Snow found Jordan Greenfield for an extra-man tally to make the score 9-6. Sperry's fourth goal, 12 seconds into the fourth quarter pushed the lead back to four, 10-6. Kyle Cassady scored for Air Force 73 seconds later and Snow followed at 11:36 to put the Stags lead at four, 11-7, for the final time. Tommy McKee (4:39 & 1:56) sandwiched goals around Marcus Walker (2:49) to get the Falcons within a goal with under two minutes to play.
Roe went 12-22 at the face-off X on the afternoon and corralled a game-best nine ground balls. Marshall Johnson went 2-4 in the face-offs he contested and finished with four ground balls. Brendan McTague had four ground balls, including picking up the ball after the final face-off with the Stags leading by two. Reed Marko had four of the Stags nine caused turnovers in the contest. The Fairfield defense was perfect in man-down chances, denying Air Force in all five of its opportunities. The Stags were 1-1 in their man-up chances.
Snellman's goal extended his scoring streak to 22 consecutive games, the fifth longest in the nation. The streak started in the Stags home win over Air Force season.
The Stags complete ECAC road play without a blemish for the first time, going 2-0. It marks the sixth time in program history that the Stags have reached 10 wins in a season.
Fairfield returns home for its final two games of the season, beginning April 21 when defending league champion Denver visits Lessing Field for a 1 p.m. game.