Fairfield Stags men's lacrosse

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Fairfield Stags
Fairfield Stags alternate logo.svg
Founded 1973
University Fairfield University
Conference CAA
Location Fairfield, Connecticut
Coach Andrew Copelan (since 2009)
Stadium Lessing Field
(capacity: 600)
Nickname Stags
Colors Cardinal and White
         
NCAA Tournament Appearances
2002, 2005
Conference Tournament Champions
1998 (ECAC), 1999 (ECAC)
Conference Regular Season Champions
1996 (MAAC), 1997 (MAAC), 1998 (MAAC), 2002 (GWLL), 2005 (GWLL), 2014 (ECAC)

The Fairfield Stags men's lacrosse team represents Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut and competes in the Colonial Athletic Association of NCAA Division I. The Stags play their home games at Lessing Field. The team was nationally ranked in 2005 (15th), 2006 (20th) and 2007 (12th) and competed in the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Tournament in 2002 and 2005. The team is currently coached by Andrew Copelan.

The Stags were previously coached by Ted Spencer from 1996 to 2008. After taking the helm in 1996, Ted Spencer guided the Stags to great success on the national stage including two NCAA Tournament appearances (2002 and 2005), two Great Western Lacrosse League Championships (2002 and 2005), 2 ECAC Tournament Championships (1998 and 1999), three MAAC Championships (1996, 1997 and 1998) and developed 2 All-Americans (C. J. Kemp and Greg Downing) along with 21 All-New England selections and 8 Academic All-New England selections. In 2002, the Stags were selected as the winner of the Joseph (Frenchy) Julien Memorial Award for Sportsmanship.

As a Jesuit university, Fairfield shares a unique historical connection to the discovery of modern-day lacrosse. Jesuit missionaries first witnessed the game of "baggataway" being played amongst Native Americans during the 17th century. According to histories of the game, it was Saint John de Brebeuf S.J., a French Jesuit missionary in Canada, who named the present-day version of the Indian game lacrosse because the stick used reminded him of a bishop’s crosier, pronounced la crosse in French. de Brebeuf is memoralized at Fairfield University with the #1 de Brebeuf Townhouse Unit named in his honor.

In July 2014, Fairfield will leave ECAC Lacrosse to become an associate member of the Colonial Athletic Association.[1]

History[edit]

Dawn of the Stags[edit]

The Fairfield Stags men's lacrosse program first began in 1973 as a club team. Future Fairfield University Athletic Hall of Famer Will Mraz was a founding member and the offensive leader of the inaugural club team. The first coach of the Fairfield University Lacrosse Club was Ken Gilstein, Cornell '70, who coached the team during the 1972, 1973, 1976 and 1977 seasons. It was led by standout players Bob Rupp and John Hughes in the 70s and John Callegari, future Fairfield University Athletic Hall of Famer Hugh "Skeets" Coyle, Joe Sargent, Kevin Kuryla and Rich MacDonough in the 80s, the club team established itself as amongst the best in New England. In 1987, the team had an undefeated 11-0 season and won the New England Club Championship.[2]

Red Stags rising[edit]

Fairfield elevated the lacrosse program to NCAA Division I in 1993 with Tom McClelland at the helm. The Stags first victory as a varsity program came in its very first game with an 11-6 defeat of a visiting St. Joseph's team. In 1996, Fairfield became a founding member of an eight-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) lacrosse league. With Ted Spencer as coach, the team went undefeated in the first year of league play followed by three consecutive league titles and two ECAC tournament championships. In 2000, Fairfield became an independent program. In 2001, the university program joined the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) paving the way for a new era in Stags lacrosse.

2002 Season[edit]

Season Highlights: In just their second season in the GWLL and tenth season as a varsity program, the Stags finished in first place in the GWLL. They posted a 4-1 league record and received the league's automatic bid to the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Making the program's first postseason visit, the Stags fell to UMass in the first round.

2005 Season[edit]

Matt Baglio '04 to Mike Bocklet '07

Season Highlights: The 2004-2005 season will go down as one of the greatest in Fairfield history with the Stags' finishing as the 15th ranked team in the nation. Not one for dramatics, the Stags won the Great Western Lacrosse League and earned a trip to the 2005 NCAA Tournament with a dramatic victory over then 12th ranked Denver in the last game of the season. In the 1st round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, the Stags fell to eventual 2005 National Finalist, Duke. Major victories included wins over then 20th ranked Harvard, Penn State, then 10th ranked Hobart, and then 11th ranked Notre Dame. Individual recognition went to Coach Ted Spencer (GWLL Coach of the Year), Greg Downing (Honorable Mention All- American, GWLL Player of the Year and 1st Team All-New England), Tom Werney (2nd Team All-New England), Michael Bocklet (2nd Team All-GWLL), and Matt Bocklet (2nd Team All-GWLL and 2nd Team All-New England). Season Results: 11-5, Overall; 4-1, GWLL

2006 Season[edit]

Season Highlights: The Stags first official season as a member of the ECAC Lacrosse League proved a successful one with Stags posting a winning league record. Major victories included wins over Harvard and then 16th ranked Loyola. The victory over Loyola marked the programs first win over the Greyhounds and included the now infamous hidden ball goal. In the final game of the season against then 8th ranked and eventual 2006 National Finalist, UMass, the Stags held the lead until the final minute before succumbing to the Minuteman in dramatic fashion. Individual recognition went to Greg Downing (Tewaaraton Trophy Preseason Watchlist, Honorable Mention All-American, 1st Team All-ECAC and 1st Team All-New England), Travis Nelson (2nd Team All-ECAC); Matt Bocklet (2nd Team All-ECAC and 2nd Team All-New England), Josh Thornton (2nd Team All-New England), and Trevor Kelly (NEILA Scholar-Athlete). Season Results: 6-7, Overall; 4-3, ECAC

Copelan era[edit]

Andrew Copelan became the third head coach in the history of the program on August 25, 2008. On March 13, 2010, the team set the school record for the defeat of the highest ranked opponent when the Stags upset the then no. 3 nationally ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish 10-8 while competing in the inaugural 'Beating Cancer With A Stick Classic' at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas.[3]

All-Time Head Coaches[edit]

Years Head Coach Record Postseason
1993–1995 Tom McClelland 8-27 -
1996–2008 Ted Spencer 93-90 2002 NCAA, 2005 NCAA
2008–Present Andrew Copelan 23-20 -
- Total 124-137 -

Awards[edit]

All-American[edit]

USILA Scholar All-American[edit]

USILA North-South All Stars[edit]

First Team All-New England[edit]

League Coach of the Year[edit]

League Player of the Year[edit]

First Team All-League[edit]

All-Time statistic leaders[edit]

Career leaders[edit]

  • Goals: Spencer Steele (147, 1997-00)
  • Assists: J.T. Groarke (119, 1996–99)
  • Points: Matt Callaghan (247, 1995–98)
  • Saves: Sam Peterson (1077, 1994–97)
  • Face-offs won: Peter Vlahakis (620, 2001–04)
  • Face-offs win percentage: Peter Vlahakis (.627, 2001–04)

Single-game leaders[edit]

Single-season leaders[edit]

  • Goals: Spencer Steele (48, 1999)
  • Assists: Matt Callaghan (33, 1998) and J.T. Groarke (33, 1999)
  • Points: Matt Callaghan (75, 1997) and Spencer Steele (75, 1999)
  • Saves: Sam Peterson (289, 1996)
  • Face-offs won: Peter Vlahakis (197, 2004)
  • Face-offs win percentage: Peter Vlahakis (.654, 2004)

Stags in the MLL[edit]

Twelve Stags have been drafted by Major League Lacrosse and one by the National Lacrosse League. Peter Vlahakis is the leading face-off man in MLL history holding four MLL All-Time face-off records and was selected to the 2007 and 2008 MLL All-Star Game. Greg Downing was the sixth overall pick in the 2007 MLL Collegiate Draft and was selected to the 2008 MLL All-Star Game. The following Stag players were selected in the Major League Lacrosse draft:

Player Year Team
Spencer Steele 2000 Bridgeport Barrage, New Jersey Pride
C. J. Kemp 2003 Rochester Rattlers, Baltimore Bayhawks
Peter Vlahakis 2004 Long Island Lizards, New Jersey Pride
Nate Bauers 2004 Washington Bayhawks
Greg Downing 2007 Boston Cannons, Boston Blazers
Mike Bocklet 2007 Long Island Lizards
Matt Scanlon 2008 Denver Outlaws
Chris Atwell 2009 Boston Cannons
Chris Ajemian 2009 Boston Cannons
Joe Marra 2010 Chicago Machine
Brent Adams 2012 Chesapeake Bayhawks
Charlie Cipriano 2012 Denver Outlaws
Sam Snow 2013 Denver Outlaws
Marshall Johnson 2013 Rochester Rattlers

Game day broadcasts[edit]

WVOF is the voice of Fairfield Stags men's lacrosse on the radio and Internet. Men's lacrosse coverage is led by play-by-play analyst Mike Vitale with Fairfield University students participating as color analysts for the games. And starting with the 2007-08 season, all Stags home games will be video broadcast over the B2 Live TV network on the Internet with the production support of the Fairfield University Media Center and New Media students from The HAM Channel.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]