FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Drew Murray and Colin Burke each had hat tricks to pace the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team on Saturday afternoon, but visiting Villanova had the first five goals of the day and never looked back to take an 18-9 decision on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium. Travis Ford also scored two markers for the Stags.
Burke also handed out an assist to notch a four-point day and run his team-leading totals to 18 goals and 25 points, while Murray’s hat trick was comprised of his first three goals of the spring. After his pair of goals, Ford has 15 thus far in his freshman campaign. Rounding out the scoring for Fairfield (3-6) were Dylan Beckwith with his eighth goal of the year and Liam DaRos with his second assist in as many games.
The Stags held an edge on the faceoff dot, led by a 15-of-26 showing with six ground balls from Joe DeLasho. Will Fox added a 4-of-5 showing, and Spencer Noonan scooped up three ground balls from the wing to aid the effort on the draw.
Tyler Behring made 10 saves in the cage, and the defense in front of him was paced by four ground balls and three caused turnovers by Andrew Eidenshink.
Jack Curran (3 goals, 2 assists), Christian Cuccinello (2g, 3a) and Jake Froccaro (4g, 1a) each had five points to guide Villanova (5-4) to its fourth consecutive win. The Wildcats’ goal was helmed by Nick Testa, who made 14 saves.
Villanova’s 5-0 run to open the game featured five different goal scorers as the Wildcats grabbed an advantage over the first 5:29 of action. The Stags got on the board at the 6:56 mark in the first quarter on a Ford goal, and the rookie struck again just 62 seconds later to trim the deficit to 5-2. Murray added his first of the day to shave the margin further, but Froccaro scored twice in the closing minutes of the period to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 7-3.
Villanova scored five more goals in the second quarter, while Murray converted a Burke pass for the lone Fairfield goal, as the visitors carried a 12-4 advantage into the locker room.
After the Wildcats opened the third-quarter scoring, the Stags put together their strong offensive stretch of the afternoon starting with an unassisted Beckwith goal. Burke then scored again to cut the lead to 13-6 and cashed in on a man-up opportunity – assisted by DaRos – to make it a 13-7 game.
However, the next five goals all went the way of the Wildcats before Murray and Burke each scored late to cap their respective hat tricks and round out the game’s 18-9 final score.
The Stags wrap up their three-game homestand and begin CAA play under the lights on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium on Saturday, April 1 against No. 7 Hofstra. The Stags and Pride will faceoff at 7 p.m. live on FairfieldStags.TV.