Senior captain TJ Neubauer couldn’t have asked for a better start to his final year of lacrosse with Fairfield after he was just selected by the Rochester Rattlers in the Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. The midfielder was the 34th overall pick in the draft, making him the 18th Stag in men’s lacrosse history to be drafted or signed to the MLL.
“I didn’t really see this coming,” said Neubauer. “I knew a few teams were interested in me because the coaches had gotten phone calls, but I didn’t really have any expectations or anything.”
Not only was he drafted to a MLL team, his fourth round pick to the team makes him the highest selected lacrosse draft pick in nine years at Fairfield. Although humbled by the experience, the two-time captain is looking forward to finishing his senior year on the field at Rafferty Stadium.
“I was pretty excited,” said Neubauer, “I was sitting in class and had gotten a few text messages. It’s a cool experience, but right now I’m more focused on the season ahead.”
Neubauer has a lot to look forward to in his final year with the Stags. Last season, Neubauer was pivotal in helping his team take the regular season championship in their first year playing in the Colonial Athletic Association. Neubauer scored a team high of 31 goals, posting four hat tricks and had 10 multiple-game goals.
He has seen this success from the start of freshman year. Unlike other newcomers, Neubauer started in all 14 games and totaled 16 points his first year with the team. During his sophomore year, he finished the season posting a combined total of 38 points, 33 of those points coming from a team-high number of goals. He was ranked 13th in the nation for his .485 shot percentage and went on to be named to the All-NEILA (New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association) and All-ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) first team.
During his three seasons with the Stags, it’s no surprise Neubauer was drafted to a professional team. However, he added that he never thought he would be able to make such an impact on Fairfield athletics.
“It’s pretty humbling,” said Neubauer. “I just came to Fairfield hoping to somehow make an impact on the team, but so far, it has exceeded my expectations of what I initially first saw of myself.”
As one of the three captains this spring, Neubauer is hoping to help the 12 new freshman make the same kind of impact he had during his career with the Stags. His goals, both personal and for his team, remain high.
“My hopes for the team are to obviously win the CAA Championship and make the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] tournament,” said Neubauer. “My personal goals are probably to lead the team as best as possible and hopefully make All-American of some sort.”
As his final season approaches rapidly, Neubauer is set to take the field on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Rafferty against the University of Richmond.