Fairfield Stags men's lacrosse

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Fairfield Stags
Fairfield Stags logo.svg
UniversityFairfield University
Head coachAndrew Copelan (2009– season)
StadiumRafferty Stadium
(capacity: 3,500)
LocationFairfield, Connecticut
NCAA Tournament appearances
2002, 2005
Conference Tournament championships
1998 (ECAC), 1999 (ECAC)
Conference regular season championships
1996 (MAAC), 1997 (MAAC), 1998 (MAAC), 2002 (GWLL), 2005 (GWLL), 2014 (ECAC), 2015 (CAA), 2016 (CAA)

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 have won eight regular season conference titles since 1996 and competed in the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Tournament in 2002 and 2005. The Stags play their home games at the new lacrosse-only Rafferty Stadium and are currently coached by Andrew Copelan.


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. Saint John de Brebeuf, S.J. is memorialized at Fairfield University with the #1 de Brebeuf Townhouse Unit named in his honor.

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, Mike Hone, 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, Ted Spencer took the helm and 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 MAAC lacrosse league play followed by three consecutive league titles (1996, 1997 and 1998) and two ECAC tournament championships (1998 and 1999). 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. 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), 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.

NCAA Tournament time[edit]

Matt Baglio '04 to Mike Bocklet '07

In 2002, the Stags finished in first place in the GWLL 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. At the conclusion of the season, the Stags were selected as the winner of the Joseph (Frenchy) Julien Memorial Award for Sportsmanship.

The 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.

The Stags first official season as a member of the ECAC Lacrosse League in 2006 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 program's first win over the Greyhounds and included the now infamous hidden ball goal.

Game day at Rafferty Stadium

Copelan era[edit]

Andrew Copelan became the third head coach in the history of the program on August 25, 2008. On April 21, 2013, men's lacrosse set the school record for the defeat of the highest ranked opponent when the Stags upset the then no. 1 nationally ranked Denver Pioneers 9-8.[3] The previous record was set on March 13, 2010, when the Stags upset the then no. 3 nationally ranked (and eventual 2010 NCAA tournament runner-up) Notre Dame Fighting Irish 10–8 while competing in the inaugural 'Beating Cancer With A Stick Classic' at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas.[4] During the 2015 season, the Stags achieved a number of firsts in dedicating the program's new state-of-the-art lacrosse only Rafferty Stadium and winning the Regular Season Title during its inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association.

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– Andrew Copelan 55-35 -
- Total 124-137 -

Annual records[edit]

Year Wins Losses Percent Conference Playoffs National Rank RPI SOS Power Rating (1)
2016 9 6 .600 1st 34 41 23
2015 9 6 .600 1st 34 41 23
2014 12 4 .750 1st 18 19 39 19
2013 8 7 .550 4th 19 24 29
2012 12 4 .750 3rd 15 11 26 23
2011 8 8 .500 3rd 23 21 27
2010 8 6 .575 3rd 25 26 26
2009 7 6 .542 3rd 28 29 29
2008 4 9 .500 6th 45 27 36
2007 6 6 .500 5th 26 27 26
2006 6 7 .490 3rd 34 25 28
2005 11 5 .700 2nd NCAA 1st Round (2) 15 31 28
2004 5 9 .400 4th 35 25 36
2003 5 6 .460 4th 26 33
2002 7 6 .520 3rd NCAA 1st Round (3) 19 26 27
2001 7 8 .420 4th 28 28
(1)Laxpower Power Rating[5]
(2) Lost NCAA 1st round 23-4 to Duke.
(3) Lost NCAA 1st round 14-7 to Massachusetts.



USILA Scholar All-American[edit]

  • Charlie Cipriano (2012)
  • Sam Snow (2013)
  • Max Buchanan (2015)
  • Tristan Sperry (2015)
  • Andrew Eidenshink (2017)
  • Jake Knostman (2017)

USILA North-South All Stars[edit]

First Team All-New England[edit]

League Coach of the Year[edit]

League Player of the Year[edit]

League Scholar of the Year[edit]

  • Jake Knostman (CAA, 2017)

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
Jack Murphy 2014 Boston Cannons
TJ Neubauer 2016 Rochester Rattlers

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fairfield University Visual Standard Manual (PDF). July 1, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  2. ^ Fairfield University :: 2004 Hall of Fame Inductees
  3. ^ "NCAA Lacrosse: No. 1 Denver Falls to Fairfield 10-9 in OT". BleacherReport.com. April 21, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  4. ^ "Fairfield Upsets No. 3 Notre Dame in Texas Match". Laxpower.com. March 13, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  5. ^ http://www.laxpower.com/update14/binmen/rating01.php

External links[edit]