Courtesy: Joe Panepinto

Stags Stop No. 15 Towson, 9-8, at Rafferty Stadium

Courtesy: Fairfield University
April 22, 2017

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Tyler Behring made 17 saves and Joe Rodrigues netted a hat trick to lead the Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team to a 9-8 win over No. 15 nationally-ranked Towson in CAA action on Saturday afternoon on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium. Colin Burke also recorded a three-point day with two goals and an assist in the Stags’ first CAA win of the spring.

Fairfield (4-9, 1-3 CAA) earns its first-ever win over Towson (10-4, 3-1 CAA) in a series that began when the Stags joined the CAA in 2015. Today’s game was the rematch from the 2016 CAA Championship Game played at the Tigers’ Johnny Unitas Stadium last May.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group of guys,” said Head Coach Andy Copelan. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a chance to extend our season this year, but I think this win showed what this program is all about.”

Behring’s 17 saves marked a season high for the senior netminder, who also scooped up a pair of ground balls. He set the tone for his day in the cage with 12 stops in the first half, including two saves to thwart a pair of Towson extra-man opportunities.

In front of Behring, the defenseman Nick Panara scooped up two ground balls, as he joined Andrew Eidenshink and Andrew Murrow in stifling the Towson attack.

With his three goals this afternoon, Rodrigues has netted 12 of his career-best 16 markers during the CAA portion of the schedule. The junior midfielder is one of just two CAA players (Drexel’s Cole Shafer) to have scored multiple goals in all four of his CAA games this spring.

Burke’s three points move him further up Fairfield’s career leaderboards. Now with a team-best 23 goals and 12 assists in his sophomore campaign, Burke ranks 17th in Fairfield history with 98 career points and 13th in program annals with 69 career goals.

Travis Ford added two goals for the Stags, with Dylan Beckwith and Matt Sharpe each rattling the cage once. Drew Murray rounded out the Fairfield scoring with his sixth assist of the year.

Towson was led offensively by three goals and an assist from Joe Seider. Dylan Kinnear added two goals, while Tyler Konen (1 goal, 1 assist) and Ryan Drenner (2 assists) also contributed two points to the Tigers’ attack. Matt Hoy made six saves in the cage.

After over five minutes of scoreless action, the Stags got on the board with Sharpe’s third goal of the spring. Burke would add his first of the day to extend the lead to 2-0 with 6:47 to go in the first quarter. After an over 10-minute drought, Jon Mazza rattled the cage for the Tigers, but Fairfield struck last in the frame, converting a man-up opportunity as Ford finished off a pass from Murray to make it 3-1 in favor of the Stags.

With Behring and the Stags’ defensive unit holding Towson scoreless for another extended stretch – this time a span of 16:29 – the Fairfield lead grew to 6-1. Rodrigues scored back-to-back markers during that time, the second of which was followed up just 14 seconds later when Beckwith scooped up a ground ball in the midfield and raced toward the cage for the finish. Towson answered in kind with a Kinnear goal just 45 seconds later to cap the first half scoring with Fairfield on top, 6-2. The Tigers had an opportunity to cut further into the lead, but a Behring save helped the Stags fight off a two-minute man-down situation as the first half expired.

In the second half, Fairfield once again opened the scoring as Joe Rodrigues completed his hat trick just 31 seconds into the third quarter. Towson responded just seven seconds later as Alex Woodall won the faceoff and found Seider for the finish. The Tigers added another quick marker on Mike Lynch’s man-up goal at 13:06 in the period, but once again Behring and the Fairfield defense would clamp down to keep the margin at 7-4 entering the fourth quarter.

This time, Towson was kept off the board for just over 20 minutes, a span that saw Burke bury an acrobatic goal to extend the lead to 8-4 with 12:45 to play. After Seider’s man-up goal ended the Tigers’ scoring slump, Ford connected on his second of the afternoon – and 19th of the year – to stake the Stags to a 9-5 lead.

At that point, the two-time defending CAA Champions made one final push. Kinnear’s second goal cut the deficit to 9-6 with 1:36 to go, and Seider’s marker just 17 seconds later shaved the margin even further at 9-7. Konen would fire home one more man-up tally with just one second to go, but the whistle for the ensuing faceoff was all that the Stags needed to run out the clock on a 9-8 win.

Towson outshot Fairfield, 43-32, and held a 21-16 advantage on ground balls. Woodall went 13-of-19 on the draw for the Tigers with Will Fox coming away with six faceoff wins for the Stags. Both teams were perfect on clear attempts as Fairfield converted all 17 of their clears and Towson posted a 15-for-15 mark.

The Stags will complete the 2017 season this Friday, April 28 with Senior Night on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium. Fairfield will recognize its nine-member senior class prior to a 7 p.m. faceoff win CAA foe Delaware. Tickets for Friday night’s game are on sale now at FairfieldStags.com/TIX.

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