With eight of Fairfield’s 13 lacrosse games being decided by less than four goals, maintaining possession and keeping the offense on the field at every opportunity has been vital. Much of that is owed to face-off specialist Will Fox ’18. Being the majority contributor to the Stags’ impressive .555 faceoff win percentage, Fox has tallied .572 faceoff win percentage (99-173) along with 42 ground balls in his freshman campaign.
A native of Mullica Hill, N.J., Fox graduated from St. Augustine Preparatory School (Richland, N.J.) as the all-time program leader in faceoff wins (503) and posted a .703 faceoff win percentage his senior year. He had no trouble attracting the attention of the Fairfield staff.
“I got recruited pretty late. Coach (Andy) Whitley met with me face to face January of my junior year and that’s when I came up for a visit, and I committed in February,” Fox said. “The visit definitely jumped Fairfield to the top of the list. (Head coach) Andy Copelan was the biggest push. You could really tell that he is a genuine guy who really cares about his players all the time.”
Copelan has shown immediate confidence in Fox’s abilities this season, giving him the green light for the vast majority of draws in the faceoff circle.
“I had a goal set coming in that I wanted to have quality minutes and get to take some quality draws,” said Fox. “I’ve been lucky enough to play well and the coaches have rewarded me with more playing time.”
Since the 8-7 loss to then #16 Towson on Saturday, April 11, the Stags now have five losses on the season, every one decided by one goal. However, Fairfield has proven that it can end up on the winning end of a narrow decision, with two of their last three victories coming at the same margin. The Stags held off the University of Massachusetts Amherst for a 10-9 win April 4, and pulled out a thrilling 12-11 double-overtime win at Rafferty Stadium against Delaware on Saturday, April 18. Fox went 9-13 and 16-24 in those games, respectively.
“With face-offs, you keep your offense on the field, and you can stop an opponent’s run immediately,” Fox noted. “Using the UMass game as an example, they started to get momentum and I was able to take a faceoff and get us the ball back to slow them down. In the same regard against Towson, we were making a comeback toward the end, and winning draws can give you that extra boost that you need.”
In the Delaware match up, Fox tallied his career-high 16th faceoff win and 10th ground ball of the day to open the second overtime, opening the door for a game winner by Tristan Sperry ‘15. His statistics have not gone unnoticed, with the Colonial Athletic Association awarding him Rookie of the Week. He is the only current CAA player to win this award multiple times, earning the award in consecutive weeks on February 24 and March 3.
The Stags are set to conclude their regular season in Fairfield against the CAA preseason favorite Hofstra on Friday, April 24, still in the running for at least a share of the regular-season conference title. A top seed would also ensure that Rafferty Stadium would play host to the entirety of the conference tournament.
“Everybody realizes our potential and knows how good we really are as a team when we play at our highest level,” Fox said. “If everyone knows their role and does their part, we win games.”