The Stags Men’s Soccer Team pulled out an amazing win on Thursday, Nov. 9 over the Quinnipiac Bobcats. These two teams set the stage for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Semifinal match at Lessing Field. It was a chilly night to say the least and both these teams were looking to punch their ticket to the MAAC Championship Final.
Not much offense was shown in this game, since Fairfield only had three shots on goal and Quinnipiac had five targets at the net. The one who stepped up for the Stags was none other than goalkeeper, Gordon Botterill ‘21. He came up huge especially late in both overtimes and eventually, he kept it going into the penalty shootout.
He had three thoughts in his head entering overtime and the penalty shootout. The keeper knows how to keep it simple.
“I don’t want to lose. I do it for the teammates. And I don’t want to concede any goals. That’s what got me through it,” said Botterill.
The 6-foot-5-inch keeper surely saved the Stags’ season on more than one occasion Thursday night and after he made an incredible save off a Quinnipiac header destined to be a goal, he knew the Stags were not done.
“I think that’s when it hit me that we weren’t going to lose this game. When that save happened, that was the turning point but you also have to remain calm,” said the Switzerland native.
Botterill was well aware of how important this game meant to not just him, but the seniors as well. He wanted to keep the season going for them, not just him.
“Every now and then, we think what we are going to do without them. They are all over the team, all at different positions. They are role models as much as teammates, in terms of attitude, commitment and professionalism,” said Botterill.
The young goalkeeper definitely made a name for himself and he displayed his maturity as such a young player. Botterill and the Stags advanced to take on Rider this past Sunday, Nov. 12. The coach for the Stags and his squad had one thing on their minds — to bring home another conference championship.
In the championship game between Rider and Fairfield, both sides had many opportunities to score but there was only one goal to show for it. That goal became the difference maker for Fairfield when Diallo-Simon Ponte ‘20 notched one for Fairfield in the 70th minute. Since it was so late in the game, Rider did not have a comeback in them, thus losing to Fairfield 1-0.
Fairfield had 11 shots, five of which were on goal, and the Broncs had eight shots, but only two of them were on goal. Obviously, there were plenty of shots to go around on the pitch but Ponte seemed to be the difference maker late in the match.
Both goalkeepers played well on a stage such as this. David Pastuna for Rider had four saves, with two of them being in the second half. However, he could not stop Ponte’s shot, which was the difference maker. For Fairfield, Botterill had a second consecutive clean sheet where he made both his saves in the second half. Clearly, he saves his best for last.
As a team, Fairfield has put together a magnificent season and now it’s season still continues on Thursday, Nov. 16 when they face the University of New Hampshire. Fairfield earned an NCAA postseason berth by defeating Rider and now they head up to Durham, N.H. to face the Wildcats in the first round. The senior leadership in team captains, Angus Hastings ‘18 and Ben Wignall ‘18, along with their young energizing goalkeeper makes this men’s soccer team one that could make a deep run into the National Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs.