Four Stags earn All-CAA nods, Stags ranked second by head coaches
RICHMOND, Va. – Colin Burke has been named the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Preseason Player of the Year to headline a quartet of Fairfield University men’s lacrosse student-athletes recognized with Preseason All-CAA distinctions. In addition, the Stags were tabbed for second in the CAA Predicted Order of Finish, as voted upon by the league’s six head coaches.
Joining Burke on the Preseason All-CAA Team are Tyler Behring and Andrew Eidenshink. Will Fox rounded out the honorees as a Preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention.
“All of the CAA Lacrosse programs are led by very competitive coaches and players that are committed to winning; I am happy for our players to receive some recognition within a conference that I believe to be among the best in the nation,” said Head Coach Andy Copelan. “We are all excited that the season is almost upon us.”
The reigning CAA co-Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, Colin Burke adds CAA Preseason Player of the Year honors to a winter that has also included Third Team Preseason All-America laurels from Inside Lacrosse. A 2016 USILA All-America Honorable Mention after a record-setting rookie campaign with the Stags, Burke set Fairfield freshman records and led the CAA with 46 goals and 63 total points. In the overall Fairfield record book, his 46 goals slot second in a single season and his 63 points are the sixth-most in program history. Both totals were the highest by a Stag since Spencer Steele ’00 scored a program-record 48 goals en route to tying the program mark of 75 points in 1999.
Burke, the only Stag to record a point in every game in 2016, led the nation in goals by a freshman with 2.71 markers per game (14th overall) and slotted second among freshmen (26th overall) with 3.71 points per game. Inside Lacrosse ranked him as the No. 2 freshman in the nation following last season.
Preseason All-CAA goalkeeper Tyler Behring was a First Team All-CAA presence in the cage for the Stags last spring, leading the Association and ranking among the top-10 in the nation with a .572 save percentage and 11.71 saves per game. His goals-against average of 9.19 slotted him third in the CAA, 20th in the nation and seventh in Fairfield single-season history. His 199 total saves in 2016 were also seventh in program history and the most by a Stags’ goalkeeper since 2001. Behring was tabbed as the USILA Defensive Player of the Week and Inside Lacrosse Player of the Week on April 20 after turning away 19 shots with six goals allowed in a CAA win over UMass. This preseason, Behring was an Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Honorable Mention.
Also an Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-America Honorable Mention distinction, Andrew Eidenshink has been chosen as Preseason All-CAA after picking up a Second Team All-CAA nod in 2016. Eidenshink started all 17 games for a defense that ranked third in the CAA with 9.35 goals allowed per game and a man-down defensive unit that was fourth in the Association and 25th nationally with a .667 success rate. Marking a pair of All-CAA attackmen in consecutive weeks, he limited Hofstra’s Sam Llinares to one goal (man-up) and held Drexel’s Cole Shafer without a point in back-to-back wins for the Stags. Eidenshink filled out his statline with 15 ground balls and five caused turnovers.
Preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention Will Fox was a Second Team All-CAA selection in both 2015 and 2016. Last spring, he ranked second in the CAA with a .549 win percentage (145-of-264) at the faceoff ‘X’, also collecting 50 ground balls off the draw. The CAA Rookie of the Year in 2015, Fox ranks fourth in Fairfield history with 264 faceoffs won and his .565 career win percentage through two campaigns slot second in program history.
As a team, the Stags were ranked second in the CAA Predicted Order of Finish with 21 total points and one first-place votes. The remaining first-place tallies went to two-time defending champion Towson, which topped the poll with 25 points. Hofstra, Drexel, Delaware and Massachusetts rounded out the preseason ledger.
Nationally, the Inside Lacrosse Face-Off Yearbook picked the Stags at No. 17 in its preseason rankings, while the USILA Preseason Coaches’ Poll slotted them at No. 20 in the nation. Fairfield is coming off of a 9-8 season – its fifth straight winning campaign – that culminated with the team’s first-ever trip to the CAA Championship Game. The Stags, who return 30 student-athletes from last spring’s club – are one of five teams in the nation to have won three consecutive conference regular season titles.