Stags begin inaugural season as CAA member this spring
RICHMOND, Va. – The Fairfield University men’s lacrosse team has been picked to finish third in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league’s six head coaches and announced this afternoon. The Stags are entering their first season as members of the CAA this spring.
Fairfield posted a 12-4 record last season and won the program’s first-ever ECAC Lacrosse League Regular Season Championship. The Stags also reached the ECAC Championship Game for the third time in the past four campaigns while climbing as high as No. 11 in the national rankings. 2015 marks the seventh season for Fairfield under the direction of Head Coach Andy Copelan.
Individually, three Stags have been recognized with preseason honors by the CAA’s head coaches. Attackman Colin McLinden and midfielder TJ Neubauer were both named Preseason All-CAA with defenseman Max Buchanan picking up an Honorable Mention.
An Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Honorable Mention this season, McLinden also collected USILA All-America Honorable Mention at the conclusion of the 2014 campaign. He was a Second Team All-NEILA and First Team All-ECAC honoree last spring following a season in which he tallied 22 goals and 29 assists to complete the first 50-point season for a Stag since 1999. McLinden ranked 14th in the nation in assists per game (1.93) and 32nd in points per game (3.40) in 2014 and will enter his final season at Fairfield ranked third all-time in program history with 67 career assists.
Neubauer, who will serve as one of the Stags’ four team captains this season, also earned a Preseason All-America Honorable Mention from Inside Lacrosse. His sophomore campaign of 2014 included First Team All-NEILA and All-ECAC honors as a midfielder. Neubauer shared the team high of 33 goals last season, adding five assists for a total of 38 points, and ranked 13th in the nation with a .458 shooting percentage. Fairfield’s team MVP in 2014, he also ranked third on the club with 45 ground balls and caused 12 turnovers.
Another of the Stags’ quartet of captains and a fixture in the Fairfield defensive unit, Buchanan started all 16 games last spring. He collected 24 ground balls with nine caused turnovers in 2014. He is a Fairfield University Dean’s List student and a two-time ECAC All-Academic Team honoree.
Hofstra was tabbed to win the CAA, collecting four of six first-place votes, with the Pride’s Sam Llinares named CAA Preseason Player of the Year. The remaining pair of first-place tallies went to defending league champion Drexel. The complete poll and All-CAA team is available at CAASports.com.
In addition to joining a new conference, Fairfield will also unveil a new home venue this spring with the opening of Rafferty Stadium. Rafferty Stadium will seat 3,500 fans in grandstands spanning both sidelines. The FieldTurf playing surface is complemented by state-of-the-art lighting, which provides optimal light levels for both competition and practice, and a Daktronics high-definition video scoreboard. In addition, the stadium includes a terrace level with a fully-enclosed press box that includes a large media suite, two VIP suites, and production suite to support the video capabilities of the scoreboard, television broadcasts, and web streaming. On the ground level are two team rooms, food/beverage and apparel concessions, restrooms, a box office, and entry plaza.
The Stags’ 2015 season begins with Opening Day at Rafferty Stadium as Holy Cross visits the new venue for a noon contest. The clash with the Crusaders and all Fairfield men’s lacrosse home games are slated to broadcast live on FairfieldStags.TV.
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