Sydney Johnson and Fairfield hope to capitalize on bright future in Stags' non-conference schedule. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)
Among the surprises in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last season, at least to those unfamiliar with the league, was the resurgence of Fairfield after a three-year morass.
Head coach Sydney Johnson, always the optimist when sizing up the prospects of his program's success, took the next step in building on a positive outlook on Wednesday, when the Stags released their non-conference schedule.
"We're thrilled to look towards our upcoming non-conference schedule and the challenges that await us," said Johnson in a release, as the sixth-year mentor must overcome the loss of first team all-MAAC honoree Marcus Gilbert while helping further develop an exciting young core of sophomores and juniors led by potential breakout star Tyler Nelson.
Fairfield begins its non-league slate with their annual exhibition tilt against the University of Bridgeport on November 4. Bridgeport, the alma mater of Stags radio play-by-play voice Bob Heussler, is the opening act on Fairfield's ledger for an 11th-straight season. The Stags' first official contest comes at Webster Bank Arena on November 11, against in-state rival and fellow former Connecticut 6 participant Sacred Heart.
A November 15 skirmish at Dartmouth begins a three-game road trip for the Stags, one that takes Fairfield to Staten Island to return a game with reigning Northeast Conference regular season champion Wagner on November 19, and also to Baltimore for a November 23 clash with former MAAC member Loyola. The month of November concludes with a home game against Army West Point on the 26th of the month, two days after Thanksgiving.
Following the opening weekend of MAAC play, Fairfield welcomes Bucknell into the Nutmeg State on December 6, returning a game played at the Sojka Pavilion last season. A break for final examinations precedes two games against Atlantic Coast Conference opposition, first at North Carolina State on December 18 before a neutral-site showdown against Boston College at Mohegan Sun Arena on December 21. The Stags conclude their non-conference season at the historic Palestra, where they meet Penn on December 30.
2016-17 Fairfield University Non-Conference Schedule (tip times and locations TBD unless noted)
Friday, November 4: vs. University of Bridgeport (exhibition)
Friday, November 11: vs. Sacred Heart (Webster Bank Arena)
Tuesday, November 15: at Dartmouth
Saturday, November 19: at Wagner
Wednesday, November 23: at Loyola (Md.)
Saturday, November 26: vs. Army West Point
Tuesday, December 6: vs. Bucknell
Sunday, December 18: at North Carolina State
Wednesday, December 21: vs. Boston College (Mohegan Sun Arena; Uncasville, Conn.)
Friday, December 30: at Penn