Fairfield tops No. 17 Villanova 11-4 behind stout defensive performance
FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Fueled by 16 saves from goalkeeper Tyler Behring, Fairfield earned an 11-4 win against No. 17 Villanova on Saturday at Rafferty Stadium. TJ Neubauer led the Stags’ offense with four goals in the victory.
The win was the third in a row for Fairfield (5-4).
Behring’s 16 saves mark a career high as well as the most by a Fairfield goalkeeper since Jack Murphy turned away 17 UMBC offerings on March 2, 2013. After falling behind 2-0 early in the first quarter, Behring and the Stags’ defense kept Villanova (5-3) off the board until two minutes into the fourth frame -- a span of 40:43 of game time. Matt Borda led the unit in front of Behring with a career-best nine ground balls to go along with two caused turnovers.
Neubauer’s four goals extended his team-leading total to 19 for the season. Tristan Sperry, who leads the Stags with 30 points, scored two goals and distributed two assists on Saturday while gathering four ground balls. Charlie Schnider added three points with a goal and two helpers.
Seven Stags scored in the contest with Drew Federico, Colin McLinden, Jake Knostman and Joe Rodrigues each adding single tallies in the win.
Villanova’s first two goals came within the first 6:17 of play as the Wildcats grabbed a 2-0 lead with 8:43 left in the opening frame. The Stags responded with Schnider's goal that started the team on what amounted to a run of eight consecutive markers. Fairfield carried a 5-2 lead into the half and an 8-2 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Jack Curran finally ended the drought for Villanova with a goal at 13:00 in the fourth quarter, but the Stags’ defense remained on point and the 8-3 advantage held through the midway point of the stanza. Neubauer completed his hat trick at 6:54 and, after the Wildcats snuck one more through, Neubauer and Rodrigues capped the effort with two goals in a span of 32 seconds to round out the 11-4 final score.