The men’s soccer team ended its season with a 3-0 loss at Lessing Field on Friday against Loyola. The Stags were the third seed in the tournament, while Loyola was the second seed. The Greyhounds would eventually go on to defeat Niagara on Sunday afternoon and advanced into the NCAA Tournament, where they will face Maryland.
The Stags had only one senior and dealt with a variety of injuries throughout the season, including the loss of their leading scorer, Jack Burridge, a sophomore, in the final game of the season, a victory over Canisius. That win secured the Stags spot in the tournament, but the strenuous finish to the season in which the Stags needed three wins to reach the playoffs may have contributed to the loss against a tougher Loyola team on a rainy night.
But junior Jack Cleverley said that he feels next season will be better for the Stags, who will return all but senior forward Christian Uy.
“It is a little bit disappointing especially watching Loyola win the MAAC on our field-thats a bitter pill to swallow,” Cleverley said. “Next year I think we’ll have a very successful season.”
The loss of Uy will be a big one for Fairfield. The four-year starter scored 17 career goals, which ties him for fifth most in program history. He has made the MAAC Tournament in all four years with the Stags, winning two MAAC Championships. Uy was the MAAC Most Valuable Player in the Tournament last season.
The Stags ended the season with a 9-7-2 record.
In the game against the Greyhounds, Loyola scored what would be the game-winning goal 20 minutes in when Danny Ankrah flicked a pass to Phil Bannister and he put the ball into the net. Ankrah linked up with Wade McHugh for another goal at the 28th minute. In the final five minutes, Bannister passed the ball to McHugh and he scored his second goal of the game.
Freshman Michael O’Keeffe played 88 minutes in the game, making five saves before being relieved by Matt Cleveland, so the senior could finish his career in net. Kyle Wittman earned the win for the Greyhounds with eight saves.
Fairfield out shot the Greyhounds 16-10, with eight shots each reaching the net. Fairfield also finished 11-1 in corner kicks.