Fairfield Takes GWLL from Irish

Fairfield Takes GWLL from Irish

Fairfield Takes GWLL from Irish

Fairfield Takes GWLL from Irish

It had been raining most of the morning in South bend, and the skies were dark and gloomy. Ted Spencer brought the Fairfield Stags into these conditions to battle Notre Dame for the GWLL title. The mud in Moose Krause stadium gave both teams fits today and the Stags proved they were better on the sloppy track than the Irish. A late surge in the fourth quarter by the Irish to cut the lead from 11-6 to 11-10 and had the crowd, players and media on the edge of their seats, but the Irish wound up on the low end today as Fairfield becomes the GWLL player in the Big dance.

Fairfield has been somewhat of an erratic team, beating Denver and Ohio State in double overtimes, yet losing to Air Force, while Notre Dame owned a 3-0 conference record. For years, the Irish had been the regional representative at the Big Dance in May, but not this year. A number of 1 goal losses to ranked teams gave the Irish a 4-6 record coming into today's game, while Fairfield had eked out a number of close wins. The Stags' coach, Spencer seems to be aging quickly as a result, "My players know how to add a few years to my life with these one-goal games."

" I think coming in here in our second year and playing for the right to represent the league is a great effort by our team, for we've been busting out butts to get here all year" noted Spencer before the game. His game plan was simple "We are going to ride them and have to be good on the ground balls. We need to control the ball and get good looks before we shoot."

The Irish were playing partly injured. Chad DeBolt, their face off beast was coming off an injury, while Matt Howell and Eric Simon made their appearances after being on the injured list. Simon returned to his "cheap suit" form and was all over his men today, stripping the ball at key times. Watch him to step it up even more next year. Howell, a promising shooter, was injured early in the year and toll a hit today that threatened to place him back on the IR. DeBolt was facing off against Peter Vlahakis, who has what appears to be the stingiest clamp in D1.

DeBolt is a walk-on on the Irish football team and is far from being small, but today, Vlahkis used a quick dip to flip DeBolt over him twice. DeBolt used a rake on the first face of the game to kick the ball out to Steve Clagett, who flipped it back to Irish goalie Nick Antol, who brought the ball out. Note Dame lost the ball and at 13:12, Rob Scipioni for Fairfield fed Tom Werney at the center, and Werner went low, about a foot off the ground past Antol to put the Stags up 1-0. The Stags started the game strong and kept the pressure up on the Irish, for at 11:03, Scott Raasch rang up the net unassisted with a hard shot from the top right near the edge of the line that Antol didn't see.

CJ Kemp was stellar in the first half for the Stags, rejecting Notre Dame's John Flandina from about 6 yards out after the face. The Irish tried to ride the Stags on all the clears and were hampered in their efforts by the footing. Irish middie Steve Clagett slipped a number of times in the game, easing the pressure on Fairfield. Spencer employed an odd tactic today. When in possession, Fairfield would bring the ball behind the Irish goal at X, and then stack up 4 or the remaining 5 men up top, with the X man probing the defense by coming forward. The Fairfield players up top would then break out, pick up a feed pass, or feint picking one up. This often resulted in a close isolation with a particular defender. The Irish got on the board, 2-1 when Chris Richez fed Travis Wells from top right to the center at 7:12. Wells took three steps at angle to the right and beat Kemp with a hard shot, during a flag down situation. Fairfield won the face-off, but AJ Wright stripped the ball to turn it over to the Irish. The Irish took advantage of another flag down moment to tie the game 2-2 at 5:57 with a Dan Berger feed to Owen Mulford. Berger had run behind the cage and flipped it to the left to Mulford, who dipped a bit and shot a hip level ball past Kemp. The Irish won the ensuing face-off, a penalty was called on Fairfield and Corrigan called time out to set up. This time, the Irish extra man unit accomplished its task, at 5:29, when Brian Giordano took the ball at the top of the line and fed Matt Howell on the right. Howell took two steps, hesitated for a second to freeze his defender and smoked the near corner of the goal. It was the only lead, 3-2 of the game for the Irish. DeBolt won the next face off. Flandina took a close shot and Kemp, as he had done before, clearly rejected him. Kemp was good on the close and point blank shots; they seem to be his trademark, stopping four of them in the stags escape over Stony Brook earlier in the week. Fairfield went on a fast break and tied the game at 3-3 at 3:40 when senior midfielder Brian Holland brought it down the right side, watched his defender slip in the grime and let loose an odd bouncer that Antol couldn't grab.

In the next possession, Devin Ryan from Notre Dame got his pocket picked up top but Eric Simon stripped the thief to return the ball to the Irish. Chris Richez began to set the Irish offense and his pass hit Owen Mulford's helmet as Mulford went to the center, turning the ball over to Fairfield. The quarter ended 3-3.

Three long possessions began the second quarter. Each team was all over the other on defense, contesting every ground ball and checking every stick that came near them. Often, it would take the teams a good minute and a half to get the ball over the midfield line. The teams would advance, lose the ball, regain the ball, lose the ball, etc. Both teams were not letting anything go to the other. It's a pleasure to watch a game with this intensity, and neither team disappointed the fans, although each would go into a slump for a time. The Irish could not convert on a 30-second penalty and at 8:39, the flags went against the stags again. A slow shot by Mulford went wide and the Irish took their time working the ball around and probing. Fairfield recovered the ball at about 6:44 and drove down field and converted a goal at 6:36. Freshman attacker AJ Califano came down the right side with a quick shot that beat Antol to put Fairfield up for good 4-3. The Stags smelled blood, and at 2:50, they went up 5-3 on a defensive lapse by the Irish went Stag longstick Joe Beaudet came down fast from the midfield line along the left side and jumped, spun in the air and shot. At 1:18, Troy Bamann was fed on the left and used a quickstick move to hit the net, putting Fairfield up 6-3. With 0:07 left, Matt Howell fell victim to a vicious hit which put Fairfield a man down. The Irish held the ball to take it in the second half. The momentum in the second quarter was all Fairfield, Notre Dame had to come out and make a quick score to regain their edge.

They did. At 14:27, Travis Wells took the ball down the right side, juked an beat Kemp from 5 yards out. 6-4, Fairfield. Fairfield won the face and the Irish were called for a minute. John Souch stripped the ball from Fairfield and Chris Fallon recovered and tossed the ball to the Irish offense, who killed the penalty. Fairfield recovered and brought it down and a shot by Bamann hit Notre Dame's Wright in the tail, and the ball was picked up by Fairfield. Wright lost a step on Matt Buecker, who came around the back on the left pipe and went low on Antol to put Fairfield up 7-4 at 10:15. Vlahakis won the face and Fairfield rung up the Irish net again at 9:14 when Tom Cook fed Bamann on the middle right about 10 yards out. Bamann took the ball, curled, shot and hit the inner part of the near pipe. 8-4 Fairfield. Notre Dame stiffened and answered with their 5th goal of the game at 8:42 when Wells fed Flandina. Fairfield answered at 5:11 when Bamann hit the net on a pass from Keith Urgo from top left to increase the lead to 9-5. The Irish were called for a push and went man down. Fairfield responded with their up top stack, and tried to curl a man over to the right side when the stack broke, and this time the Irish defense held and denied them a goal. The purpose behind this stacking, according to Spencer, was to stymie Notre dame. "We were trying to frustrate them (the Irish defense) a bit because they were playing very good defense in our regular sets. They were pressing out and not allowing us to dodge real well. By stacking, we were able to eat some clock and wait for Notre Dame to make a mistake and take advantage of that a pop a few goals in."

AJ Wright then brought the ball across the line for Notre Dame, Corrigan called a time out and the Irish methodically worked the ball around the net for two minutes. Fairfield stopped the Irish and the teams traded possession, but at 0:34, Flandina took the ball along the right side of the line and headed for the goal, half cradled his stick, deceiving Kemp that he would pass, and then hitting the near side of the net before Kemp could react. 9-6 Fairfield. Fairfield wouldn't quit and thirty ticks later at 0:04, Vlahakis was fed by Raasch and hit the right side of the net. 10-6 Fairfield to end the quarter.

Now the action would begin, albeit slowly. The teams started hitting even harder than before and it seemed as if every ground ball would multiply to two, three, and even four times in the slop. Two minutes into the last quarter, Devin Ryan took the ball up top on the right, ran twelve steps to the net and fired what would have been a bouncer, but it stuck in the mud an inch in front Kemp's right foot. At 10:49, Howell tried a helicopter spin move that went wide, and the Irish retained possession. Stewart Crosland replaced Antol at 8:45 with the Irish down by four. At 7:29, Fairfield welcomed Crosland on an invert by Bamann behind the net, who fed Buecker on the left side. 11-6, Fairfield.

Although behind with 6 minutes to go, Corrigan's Irish never quit. The began to pepper Kemp with shots. At 5:58, Matt Malakoff hit a leaping Kyle Frigon in front of the crease, and Frigon's stick was checked as he was landing but he managed to power through the check and find the net low, stick side. 11-7, Fairfield. At 4:17, Notre Dame cut the lead to 11-8 with John Flandina taking down the right straight to the goal and letting loose a right handed shot on the run. At 3:32, Travis Wells lit up the net to cut the Fairfield lead to 11-9. In two and a half minutes, Notre Dame had rung Kemp up three times. The Irish weren't done with him yet. In the ensuing face-off, DeBolt used his muscle to push Vlahakis aside on the face and tore upfield and moved along the left side of the crease and pushed a low shot right between Kemp's foot and the left pipe at 3:19 to narrow the margin to 11-10. The Irish fans went ballistic with this show of heart. The Irish recovered the ball in the next series, and Devin Ryan's 3-yard shot was rejected. Crosland made a stop and with 1:50 to go, the Irish began their own clear and as an attacker was ready to jump him, Crosland passed to AJ Wright on the right, who passed cross-field to Simon who brought it across and fed Flandina. Flandina was stripped of the ball, then Fairfield was stripped, then Mickey Blum was stripped as the two times battled for possession to the point where the last minute resembled a game of Pong. Fairfield recovered and brought in on the attack but was called for failure to advance at 0:52. Giordano lost a pass and turned the ball over to Fairfield, but John Souch came up with a key strip of the Stag ball carrier. The Irish brought the ball down, but their last shot was wide and the ball was turned over to Kemp at 0:01, who sat on it to let time expire.

Spencer praised the Irish in their late comeback, "I give a lot of credit to Notre Dame for they fought hard and came back in a manner we expected from them. This is a great victory for our program." Spencer and the Fairfield program have youth in the favor for the future. The Stags are a very young team with much of their production coming from juniors and seniors. They will be a force to reckon with in the next few years as well as in the tournament. Fairfield has a gritty determination in their style of play. "We have got a great group of kids in our sophomores and juniors, but we have great senior class, who really wanted this win today and they are a great group of leaders, and it showed in the team's play today", added Spencer. Fairfield takes on North Carolina next, while the Irish travel to Cambridge to meet Harvard.

Post A Comment To This Story >

    by (#10068) on 4/22/02 @7:51PM
Hopkins edged out Navy, Duke beat Virginia, Umass upset Georgetown, and we get Fairfield vs. Notre Dame????!!!! Can lax.com write an artical explaining why this is the first game they choose to submit stuff on? They have like 5 pages of coverage, 20 pictures too! I'm partial to D3, and the fact that they get no press is beyond me, but aside from that, cover the important games, the exciting games, the games that make us love lacrosse. You guys pay for your writers to go out to freaking Indiana? Go to the DC/Baltimore area and get 3 sick games on any given weekend!! I'm done with lax.com, you guys are making it tough for me to stay on with you. At least offer up an explanation so I can understand!!
Reply to this

   Awesome article! by 4/22/02 @8:26PM
      (no subject) by 4/22/02 @9:02PM
         So Grayson, didn' your mother by 4/23/02 @7:12AM
            fatlaxcat, what a lame username by 4/23/02 @7:37PM
               Tristan wears silk underwear by 10/02/02 @6:31PM
      (no subject) by 4/22/02 @9:04PM
      Awesome bro! by 4/22/02 @11:33PM
         shut it by 4/26/02 @9:44AM
            funny by 4/26/02 @10:30AM
   this game was just as good by 4/23/02 @11:30PM
    by (#15138) on 4/22/02 @8:32PM
What about the rumor that fairfield will have to forfiet all of its games because they have an inelidgible player playing for them in Garrett Bamaan. He is a transfer and is supposed to sit out a year. Does anyone no how he has gotten around this, or is ND going to the show b/c fairfield coaches made a stupid mistake. It should be an interesting story when it breaks.
Reply to this

   What's this about Garret Bamann? by 4/22/02 @10:43PM
      (no subject) by 4/22/02 @11:16PM
         Yea Right by 4/23/02 @10:06AM
            garrett bamaan by 4/23/02 @6:21PM
   Seriously by 4/22/02 @11:48PM
      I'm glad to hear he is eligible! by 4/23/02 @1:19AM
      (no subject) by 4/23/02 @10:12AM
         (no subject) by 4/23/02 @6:25PM
   Garrett by 4/23/02 @9:56PM
      Lax 5 by 4/23/02 @11:35PM
    by (#21469) on 4/23/02 @1:18AM

Fairfield wasn't totally impressive in Denver, yet it still boggles the mind how they lost to Air Force...too much skiing and hot-tubbing on the road trip?


Reply to this

   Fairfield out of nowhere by 4/23/02 @9:53AM
   Lost to Air Force????????? by 4/23/02 @9:54AM
      Air Force by 4/23/02 @2:32PM
      FU benched 8 players against Air Force by 4/23/02 @3:57PM
      ND by 4/26/02 @9:54AM
Great Job!
    by (#22795) on 4/23/02 @10:30AM
Fairfield way to go! This program has come a long way. A true fan of lacrosse will not critize a team that has started from nothing and now to become a tournament team. I have lived and played in MD all my life, and love to see the game spread across the country. Way to go, I think Sam Peterson(Fairfield's first big time recuit) will be happy to see he did not waste time at Fairfield! His time spent there did someting to help the game as a whole, when he could have been at UVA or Hop! Have some respect for players that want the game to grow so our kids can make a living playing the best game around. If all you want to do is read about SU and UVA then bookmark their websites!
Reply to this

Good job Stags.
    by (#25743) on 4/23/02 @11:10AM
Way to tough it out this year even though it might be an early exit in the playoffs, but you never know. They gave the cuse a good game last year. Anyway its a huge step for the program even though the coach is kinda a dick.

Also, the only thing worse than whiners, are people that whine about those whiners. And people who write about other peoples spelling mistakes. How do you spell maybe?

Go Big Red
Reply to this

   (no subject) by 10/02/02 @6:33PM
Reasons why they cover certain games
    by (#21299) on 4/23/02 @11:23AM
These writers are not getting paid (most of the time) so they recruit individuals that will cover games in a certain area or at the schools they attend. (ie. Jeff G does VA area games, and Farley is upstate NY)

This is an informative lax site, they don't get huge sponsors to cover the costs of keeping it up and running. Thats why you'll notice that the same articles are on other sites. B/c there isn't a lot of people covering these games. If you want to go out there and tell me what happened at your brothers junior high game, then do it. I would love to read your insightful rendition of the junior high game of the week.
Reply to this

Riddle me this.....
    by (#15026) on 4/23/02 @12:51PM
Over the past couple of years Notre Dame has achieved the honors to dance in the spotlight of the first round. Then they had some good games against Cottle's group of players [Who were too dumb for good schools but too talented for Towson, UMBC or Hofstra]. Before ND Ohio State made it and sometime around then Butler made it, too. So, during the time when Denver was entering D1 status and Air Force was perfecting their metiocrity, When did Fairfield (Which is located in Connecticut) convince themselves that they lived in the West?

My boy Rand McNally and I are still stumped.

How can a league called the Great WEST lacrosse league have a team from the East? Shouldn't they be in a leage with Quinnipiac and Marist, etc.? Anyway, who can answer the riddle intelligently. If you say "you're just pissed a team from the West didn't make it" then everyone else on this message board will think you're gay. Be smart, write down your answers on paper first then respond.
Thank you
Reply to this

   More scholarships by 4/23/02 @2:19PM
      GWLL vs. MAAC by 4/23/02 @3:42PM
   Its just a name banungalow by 4/23/02 @7:53PM
      Speaking of names..... by 4/25/02 @2:51PM
         In 20 years, maybe Farifield/ND will be a rivalry by 4/25/02 @5:37PM
            Butler mediocre? by 4/26/02 @8:43AM
Good Work
    by (#28041) on 4/23/02 @3:27PM
A job well done by lax.com, that was a good article. I personally love the fact they cover all the important games, and not just Cuse and Princeton. I think it's great that Fairfield made the dance and it got some coverage, it's about time a team from CT stepped up. They play some nasty lax there. I'd just like to say that LAXDEFENSE19 and his friends are totally sweet, that's an awesome picture. Way to support the team fellas. Go Irish.
Reply to this

here's the big question...
    by (#11250) on 4/23/02 @3:51PM
I read on another lacrosse site that if Fairfield were to win the GWLL, then one of the at-large bids would go to a team from the west because they still have to invite a team from every region. If this is really the case and the GWLL ends up with two teams in the tourney (for example OSU), this will be another reason that the AQ/at-large bid system is screwed up. There is a VERY good chance that there will be 4-5 teams in the tourney that are not even ranked in the top 20, while several top 10 teams will be left home in May. The NCAA has to seriously reconsider the current format for their lax tourney; spreading the wealth is fine to a certain extent...but to do so at the expense of having a true showcase for a national championship is a farce, to say the least.
Reply to this

   (no subject) by 4/25/02 @4:14PM
(no subject)
    by (#28041) on 4/23/02 @4:00PM
there won't be 2 teams from the west, they only have to accept the AQ. Notre Dame has been the only GWLL team to go for the past couple of years. there are too many AQs though. it sucks that teams like Maryland or UNC, who can play with anybody, may be sitting at home come playoff time
Reply to this

   eh? by 5/01/02 @3:33PM
      Justification by 5/01/02 @4:16PM