After a stretch of tough games to start the season, the women’s soccer team has won two straight games, including its home opener against Bryant, to improve to 3-3 overall.
The Stags beat Hartford, 4-0, in a Thursday night away game in which four different players scored and senior Casey Frobey had two assists.
Four days later, Fairfield defeated Bryant, 3-1, behind two goals from sophomore Spencer Allaway.
“I though we played really well. We made some mistakes, but overall I thought we played well,” said Allaway. “Coach talked to us about it; we have to stay focus for 90 minutes.”
The shutout win earned sophomore goalie Kelly Boudreau the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week award. She recorded two saves in her first shutout of the season.
Boudreau had to earn her win against Bryant as two consecutive times in the second half; Boudreau leapt up and punched the ball above the net, both times making an athletic play to barely prevent a goal.
But after the third corner, Boudreau was unable to make the save and the Bulldogs narrowed the deficit to 2-1.
“They shouldn’t have scored on a third goal kick because Boudreau made an amazing save twice,” said O’Brien. “And giving up goals on restarts is all about heart. I’m not questioning our girls, but we need to stay focused. That’s just being a young team.”
O’Brien gave credit to Bryant for keeping the game close, but he wasn’t pleased with some of the mental mistakes that his team committed.
“We were offsides 12 times,” he said. “Some of them were, I’ll be diplomatic and say debatable, but even if six were debatable, that’s six that we were off. We can’t do that.”
Junior Nicole Cavallaro had Byrant’s goalie one-on-one with a little over four minutes left. She made a move and scored, but the goal was waved off. No one seemed sure whether a foul or a offsides was called.
But sophomore Jasmin Corniel scored with five seconds left to add the insurance goal to give the Stags the 3-1 lead.
After losing three key seniors from last year, two of whom are now playing soccer professionally in Europe, the Stags are expected to have some growing pains. But Fairfield does return a lot of talent up front, most of whom are very fast, albeit young.
“We’re very fast up front and in our midfield,” said Frobey. “I think we can really put up some goals.”
The two straight wins bring Fairfield up to .500 for the season. The Stags opened the season with losses to No. 6 Boston College and Seton Hall. They then beat San Jose State and lost to San Francisco in the USF odwalla Nike Classic.
“In our out of conference games, we want to play against the best teams,” said Frobey. “It helps in the long run to play at the highest pace and play with higher pressure.”
O’Brien said that his team’s record was not indicative of its play. He said that he went into those games playing to win. If Fairfield had played defensively, the margins of defeat would have been smaller, but the Stags approached the games attempting to win.
“Our goal is to win the MAAC,” said O’Brien. “It’s my fifth year here and every year we’ve been to at least the conference semifinals. We expect to win our conference.
I challenge our team to play against teams that will test them. Maybe we beat them. On a very good day we might be able to. But I placed a challenge on them to gain experience. I’m preparing a young team,” O’Brien said.