April 28, 2014

Tournament Central

CENTERVILLE, Mass. – (From The Fairfield University Stags (11-3, 3-1 ECAC) earned the No. 1 seed in the 2014 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Lacrosse Tournament Championship, as the seeds were announced by the conference office this morning. The Stags will face No. 4 seed, University of Michigan (5-10, 1-3 ECAC) on Thursday, May 1 at 5 p.m. in the tournament’s first semifinal. The Ohio State University Buckeyes (6-7, 3-1 ECAC) garnered the No. 2 seed and will take on the United States Air Force Academy Falcons (8-5, 3-1 ECAC) in the second semifinal on Thursday. The tournament is hosted by Ohio State, with both semifinals and the championship game being played at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The 2014 ECAC Lacrosse Tournament Championship will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2.

The Stags earned the No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament by virtue of a tiebreaker after finishing the regular season with an overall record of 11-3 and wrapping up their conference ledger at 3-1. Fairfield knocked off Bellarmine, Michigan and Ohio State and garnered the top-seed on the final day of the season. Fairfield’s offense scored the most goals in the ECAC this season (161) and won nine of its final 10 games to conclude the regular season. Junior Colin McLinden (Madison, N.J.), classmate Tristan Sperry (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and sophomore TJ Neubauer (Glen Arm, Md.) claimed three of the league’s top-five spots in individual scoring this season, combining for 59 goals and 119 points. McLinden led the ECAC with 28 assists, while also adding 16 goals for a total of 44 points. Sperry posted a balanced stat line of 22 goals and 17 assists for 39 points and Neubauer tallied 36 points on 31 goals and five assists.

The Stag defense was one of the nation’s best in 2014, allowing an average of just 8.64 goals per contest. Senior goalkeeper Jack Murphy (Cohasset, Mass.) turned aside 131 shots during his final season in a Fairfield uniform and posted an 8.54 goals against average. The Stags have outscored their opponents by an average of 3.57 goals per game thus far, which ranks No. 10 in the nation.

The Wolverines will make their first appearance in the ECAC Lacrosse Tournament Championship in 2014 after setting a program record for wins in a season. After a 5-10 slate during the regular season that included an overtime win over Bellarmine to secure a berth in the ECAC Lacrosse Tournament Championship, Michigan earned the No. 4 seed.

Freshman Ian King (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the Michigan attack with 31 points, including 30 goals, which were the most among conference rookies. In his first collegiate season, King finished his first collegiate season with goals in 14 of 15 games, including 11 multi-goal contests. Sophomore Kyle Jackson (Sarnia, Ontario) finished right behind King with 29 points on 24 goals and five assists, while redshirt senior Thomas Paras (Lakewood, Ohio) logged a team leading 13 assists to go along with 15 goals for 28 points. As a team, Michigan averaged 10.13 goals per outing and led the ECAC with 19 man-up scores.

The Wolverine defense leads the ECAC in caused turnovers (116) and saves (150) through 15 games. Freshman Robbie Zonino (Berwyn, Pa.) has seen 868:10 of game action in 2014, making 146 saves and registering a .452 save percentage. Sophomore Chase Brown (Annapolis, Md.) has 16 caused turnovers and 29 ground balls through 14 games, and classmate Brad Lott (Louisville, Ky.) has won 154 decisions at the X this season. The reigning ECAC Lacrosse Tournament Champion Ohio State Buckeyes are looking for a repeat performance on their homefield, as they will serve as the host institution for the 2014 edition. Ohio State finished the regular season with victories in five of its final sevens contests, including conference wins against Bellarmine, Michigan and Air Force. Junior Jesse King (Victoria, British Columbia) has been the focal point of the Buckeye offense this season. King is second in the ECAC with 47 points (25g, 22a), and leads the league in points per game (4.27). Sophomore Carter Brown (Bel Air, Md.) has also surpassed 30 points this season, recording 21 goals and dishing out 12 assists. As team, Ohio State has scored 122 goals thus far and averages 9.38 goals per game.

Ohio State boasts the top scoring defense in the ECAC this season and ranks in the national top-10, allowing an average of 8.02 goals against per game. The Buckeyes haven’t allowed an opponent to notch double-digit goals since March 25, and have surrendered 10 goals or more just four times in 14 games. Senior Scott Spencer (Mason, Ohio) has started the past six games for Ohio State, compiling a 7.35 goals against average and a .558 save percentage.

The Falcons enter the 2014 ECAC Lacrosse Tournament Championship as the No. 3 seed, completing the regular season with an 8-5 record and a 3-1 mark in conference play. Air Force qualified for the ECAC tournament for the first time in program history after defeating Fairfield, Bellarmine and Michigan during the regular season. The eight wins were the most by a Falcon squad since 1995, and their six-game win streak from March 8 to April 12 was the longest since the 1989 season. Air Force had one of the top offensive units in the nation (No. 13) during the regular season, averaging 12.50 goals per game. Senior Mike Crampton (Kinnelon, N.J.) registered a league-high 51 points this season on 35 goals and 16 assists. Crampton was named the ECAC Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Week on four separate occasions, including three consecutive weeks from March 24 to April 7. Junior Keith Dreyer (Malvern, Pa.) finished second with 35 points, which included a team leading 22 assists.

On the defensive side, the Falcons allowed opponents to score an average of 9.25 goals per game. Air Force has an average scoring margin of +3.25 goals per game through 14 games, which is the No. 11 scoring margin in all of NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse. Sophomores Doug Gouchoe (Concord, Mass.) and Brett Dadiego (Baldwin, N.Y.) have split starts in the Falcon cage this spring, combining to post a .474 save percentage and 108 saves.