As a result of another approaching snowstorm, the Fairfield’s match against Manhattan College was rescheduled and played this past Saturday at Rafferty Stadium. The Stags, coming off of a 10-6 victory at Providence, comfortably routed the Jaspers 15-4 on the shoulders of a five-goal game from Charlie Schnider ’16 in the late-morning matchup.
“I’m really proud of Charlie,” head coach Andy Copelan said. “He’s a fantastic player, and today was just his day. He was there to make plays for his team when they needed them.”
A first-period hat trick from Schnider placed the Fairfield offense, whose defense also held Manhattan to only four shots and forced five turnovers. Schnider scored the first of the game in just over two minutes on an assist from T.J. Neubauer ’16. Senior Tristan Sperry found Schnider less than two minutes later for his second goal, giving the Stags a 2-0 lead. Neubauer got on the stat sheet again with a goal of his own at the 8:07 mark. Manhattan answered right back with their first goal of the game from Nick Stutler, just seconds later to make it a 3-1 game. Fairfield would take a 4-1 lead into the first intermission.
The Jaspers struck first in the second period with Alex Abiog firing home an unassisted goal at the 12:38 mark. Manhattan nearly found the back of the net again with Jimmy Rogers’ shot, ringing off the left post with six minutes left in the half. Fairfield’s offense found their on-switch and would begin to run away with this in the late minutes of the first half. Schnider found the back of the net again at the 4:42 mark, with Sperry making a phenomenal move around the side of the net, adding one more unassisted score just 30 seconds later. Another goal from Sperry with 1:06 to go in the period would push the Stags lead to 7-2 going into halftime.
Copelan’s side held the advantage in shots (25-11) and ground balls (17-10), while also forcing nine Jasper turnovers. Manhattan was stifled into barely any possession in the Fairfield half.
“We pressed them hard,” said Copelan. “We wanted to play a lot of offense to allow ourselves to get into a rhythm.”
Schnider continued his run in the second half, finding the top right corner of the net again, being a minute and a half into play to push the lead to 8-2. Freshman Drew Murray fired home an unassisted goal just over 30 seconds later with 12:50 on the clock. Manhattan would finally get on the scoreboard again, courtesy of Kevin Cox to make it a 9-3 scoreline. It continued to be a game of runs for the Stags, owning possession and answering with three more goals before the Jaspers would come close again. Senior Drew Federico found the bottom left corner of the net on an assist from Jake Knostman ’17 at the 8:30 mark. Neubauer would score two more of his own before Jasper Nick Strano pulled one back with 2:51 to play in the third period. That was the last the Jaspers would see of the back of the net and the Stags would take a comfortable 12-4 lead into the last period of play.
Fairfield began to slow the game down in the fourth period, holding onto the ball and putting up another trio of goals before the final horn sounded. Senior Joe Rodrigues scored his second goal of the season at the 13:23 mark before Dave Fleming ’17 would put home an unassisted goal of his own just over two minutes later to make it a 14-4 game. Content to run out the clock, the Stags would grind out the final minutes, ending with reserve Cameron Parker ’15 scoring his first career goal with 1:48 to play in the game, solidifying the final 15-4 score line.
Schnider scored five goals on eight shots while dishing out an assist. Senior Colin McLinden also contributed an impressive six assists of his own, while Neubauer tallied three goals.
“I am proud of the guys and I think it was a great performance by us today,” Copelan said. “We just stayed our course and focused on playing Fairfield lacrosse today, which is tough, gritty and winning the middle third of the field.”
Fairfield held an impressive 50-14 advantage in shots, forcing 20 saves from Manhattan compared to only four saves forced from Brad Nordstrom ’18. The Stags also owned the 50-50 battles, holding a 38-18 advantage in groundballs, while forcing 20 total turnovers from the Jaspers.
“We’re sitting at 2-1 right now, but the good thing is that we have gotten progressively better in each of the first three games,” said Copelan. “And that’s why you play them.”
Fairfield improves to 2-1 on the season, while Manhattan drops to 0-3. The Stags head to Long Island on Saturday, Feb. 28 to take on Stony Brook at 12 p.m.