The season for Fairfield University Men’s Soccer came to a premature end Thursday, Nov. 8 in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinal contest against the Rider University Broncos. After going the entire MAAC season unbeaten, the defending champion Stags got upset by the eventual champion Broncos, who won their third MAAC title in four years. Rider goalkeeper Pablo Gatinois and their defense powered the Bronco’s shutout. They put the team ahead 2-0 with goals from Bronco Elliott Otmani, assisted by Taner Bay, in the opening minutes of the second half after a scoreless first. Otmani assisted on Rider’s second goal of the night, helping Mathis Catanzaro in minute 72, putting the finishing touches on a 2-0 Rider victory.
“We are disappointed with tonight’s result, but more importantly, we are sad that this season is over and that’s the overriding feeling,” coach Carl Rees expressed his frustration post loss. “This is a young group, a good group and it will come for them. It’s been a lot of fun all year long and it’s been a great ride.”
Senior Diego Casielles almost put the Stags ahead off of an assist from Matt McGlinchey ‘21, but was turned away by the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless early on in the first half. “Diego will always be remembered for his magic left foot and he showed that on the set piece,” Rees looked fondly upon Casielles’s career, “It shouldn’t be a surprise because over the course of his career he has become more and more influential and more impactful with his passing as well as his work rate defensively.”
The disappointment from this loss was evident, but, on the bright side, the Stags will have a number of key players returning, including Cormac Pike ‘22 and goalkeeper Gordon Bottertill ‘21.
The Stags will go into a long offseason of wondering what could have been, thinking about this missed opportunity, but will come back loaded and as the MAAC preseason favorite when they bring back a number of impact players in 2019.