FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Preseason All-American midfielder Sam Snow scored Fairfield’s last three goals of the contest, including the game-winner with 4.1 seconds left, leading the 15th-ranked Stags (2-0) to a 10-9 victory over the Navy men’s lacrosse team (2-1) on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Fairfield, Conn.
“No doubt this was a hard-fought game,” said second-year Navy head coach Rick Sowell. “We had the shot to go ahead and just came up one play short.”
In one of the most exciting fourth quarters in recent memory, the game featured seven ties including five in final quarter of play. After a scoreless third period, the two teams headed into the final quarter of play deadlocked at 4-4. Neither team was able to get more than a one-goal lead in the final stanza as the teams went toe to toe over the final 15 minutes.
Junior attackman Tucker Hull gave the Mids a 5-4 lead just 34 seconds into the fourth period, but Fairfield’s Jordan Greenfield answered just seven seconds later after the Stags won the faceoff.
After being held without a point in the first three quarters, Snow came alive in the fourth and punched in the first of his team-high four goals with 13:06 remaining to push the Stags ahead, 6-5. Snow’s goal was set up after Navy senior midfielder Bryce Dabbs’ pass to teammate Pat Durkin went awry and Nick Guida fed Snow. To add insult to injury, Dabbs was called for a one-minute unreleasable illegal body check. Navy, though, was able to kill off the penalty.
Four minutes later, sophomore midfielder Gabe Voumard put the Mids on his shoulders and scored back-to-back goals over a 35-second span to give the Mids a 7-6 advantage with 8:46 to play. Voumard’s first goal was scored when Hull’s shot bounced off the pipe and into Voumard’s stick, while his second of the run came when he powered past his defender down the left alleyway.
Fairfield tied it at 7-7 when Greenfield fed Eric Warden from eight yards out on the right wing with 7:07 to go.
Navy junior attackman Sam Jones put the Mids back up at 8-7 when Hull fed Jones who found himself wide open in tight with just goalkeeper Jack Murphy to beat.
Snow scored back-to-back goals (5:04, 3:56) to give the Stags a 9-8 lead, including a tough-to-defend low-to-low shot with 3:56 remaining in the contest. Voumard, however, answered with his fourth goal of the game at the 1:23 mark when he again powered his way past his defender and scored from seven yards out.
Navy’s Evan McGoogan won the ensuing faceoff but instead of Navy playing for the final shot, Dabbs took a 15-yard shot from the left wing that went straight into the stick of Murphy. Fairfield, in turn, was able to set up for the final shot, as Greenfield found Snow in the middle of the field and was able to get off a diving ankle-biter for the game-winner with 4.1 seconds left in the contest.
The game spoiled a sensational performance by senior team captain Nolan Hickey who made a career-high 15 saves, including multiple door-stop shots. On the opposite side, Murphy was also stellar in goal taking away 14 potential goals by the Mids.
While Voumard paced Navy with four goals, five other players contributed goals including senior midfielder Jay Mannwho became the 15th different Navy player to score a goal this season.
“I was a little disappointed early with Gabe in his lack of aggressiveness, but the light went on and he had a big fourth quarter for us,” said Sowell. “He showed today that he certainly is capable of being a force. We are expecting him to continue to step forward and be a leader on this team.”
Snow led Fairfield with four goals, while Greenfield chipped in two goals and two assists.
Meanwhile, Navy’s man-down defense was stellar, facing two one-minute unreleasable penalties and seven overall flags. The Stags went 0-for-7 on extra-man, as the Mids have now squelched 18 of the 20 man-up opportunities by their foes.
“We’re committing foolish penalties which is a concern and we have to learn how to play with better control,” said Sowell. “That said, I’m proud of the way we’ve been able to fight through these situations.”