The second seeded Fairfield University women’s soccer team advanced past the fifth-ranked Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-8-1, 5-4-1 MAAC) in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals with a 1-0 win on Thursday, Nov. 7.
The important matchup remained 0-0 for the majority of the game until Gabby Diodati ‘21 put one home off a feed from Julia McGuire ‘20.
Fairfield outshot Quinnipiac 12-5 over the course of the game, but they only managed to get four of those shots on net, equaling the Bobcats’ total.
After the game, Diodati noted, “It was important for us to all come together and realize the amount of work that we have to put in to get where we want to go, everyone has been really focused, really tuned in and all want to accomplish that same goal. I think that was really the driving force of why we’re going to the MAAC Championship on Sunday.”
Fairfield goalkeeper Aytana Muschajew ‘22 kept the Quinnipiac offense dead silent, stopping each of the four shots she faced.
Qunnipiac’s offense did not go down without threats, as they had six corner kicks to Fairfield’s two.
Additionally, Fairfield’s head coach David Barrett attested to his team’s resolve and fortitude, saying, ‘Our mental toughness has grown, we just battle a lot more, the character of the team came through. They were selfless to put the needs of the team first. They start to see success and I think that definitely helps. I think the message has some merit because we’re seeing some of that success when we get onto the field. It was a combination of a lot of things that we have been working towards.”
Fairfield moved on to play the top-seeded Monmouth University Hawks (13-2-2, 10-0 MAAC) in the MAAC final on Sunday, Nov. 10.
The Stags unfortunately could not get passed the top-seeded Hawks, as they fell largely behind early and could not recover, losing 6-0 in the tournament championship.
Monmouth added three goals in each half to clinch the championship. Monmouth dominated from start to finish, and the high score was a testament to that. The Hawks out-shot Fairfield 20-5.
Fairfield’s future looks bright, as they are returning eight All-MAAC selections. These accolaides were earned by Stephanie Tsangaris ‘22 and Diodati, who were named to the 2019 MAAC Women’s Soccer All-MAAC First Team, and Liz Dumas ‘21, Nicole Stryjek ‘21, Brooke Hernon ‘22 and redshirt junior Kelsey Gilbert, who were named to the 2019 MAAC Women’s Soccer All-MAAC Second Team.
First-years Olivia Homan and Josie Horosky were named to the 2019 MAAC Women’s Soccer All-Rookie team and Horosky also earned the title of co-rookie of the year alongside Quinnipiac’s Meaghan Phillips.
The Stags and Barrett, the MAAC coach of the year, will look to improve on a great 2019 season come next fall.