Women’s soccer moves to 4-0 in MAAC for first time since 2002

The Fairfield University women’s soccer team captured another win, improving to 4-0-0 in Metro Atlantic Conference (MAAC) play.

They defeated Canisius College 3-1 on Lessing Field Sunday afternoon. The victory keeps the Stags undefeated in conference play and improves their overall record to 7-3-2. “It feels very good (being 4-0). We were confident coming into the season. We have a very good returning group of players coming back from last year’s team who made it to the semi-finals of the MAAC tournament. And we felt that we were going to take some significant steps,” said Coach Jim O’Brien.

Senior Lauren Reilly scored the only goal of the first half, finding the net after rebounding a shot from Shannon Fay ‘14.
Reilly also added the Stags second goal after a perfect pass by Jessica Broadbent ‘15.

However, the 2-0 lead only lasted 59 seconds after Brianna Smith brought one back for Canisius. Sophomore Erin Pettersen gave the Stags breathing room when she scored the third goal for the Stags in the 86th minute.

Sophomore Kathleen Early earned the win in net making four saves in her 90 minutes of play. Being back on Lessing Field seemed to give an edge to the Stags.

Junior Carly Beyar described playing on Lessing again, saying that it brought so much meaning to the game.

“It felt amazing considering that it’s our home field and this is where we love to play. Whenever we’re here we like to show everyone how good of a team we are and we like representing our team in front of our family and friends,” said Beyar.

Coach O’Brien echoed the sentiment and described how important it was for the Stags to be back on home turf.

“We felt (the stretch of away games) took its toll a bit. It wasn’t what we had anticipated initially, some last minute changes were made in the schedule, which forced us to lose two home games that we were actually supposed to have,” O’Brien said.

One such game was a 4-1 loss to Fordham that was the last loss before the Stags went on a four game unbeaten streak.
“The Fordham game really opened our eyes and opened the team’s eyes, so it was a bit of a wakeup call,” said O’Brien.

But being back on the home field was exciting for the Stags, and O’Brien and the rest of the coaching staff, had a bit of an added surprise for the girls.

“We had our brand new uniforms that we surprised the girls with on Friday night. It was like Christmas, so it was kind of a neat surprise and the new uniforms look really sharp … So it’s like when the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame come out in their green jerseys … So I think it was pretty inspirational, and the timing was perfect,” O’Brien added.

While the jerseys were inspirational, it’s truly a remarkable team that is out on the field for the Stags game after game.

“I definitely think the chemistry of the team is higher [than last year]. I think that we move the ball better. I just think that overall we’re playing more as a team and we’re playing soccer. That’s what we’re here to do,” said O’Brien.

However, the Stags have a big challenge on Friday when they face the only other unbeaten team when they travel to Marist.

O’Brien looks forward to the game. He said: “We can’t wait. We have three days of practice to prepare. We’ve had a chance to see them play. We have some scouting reports, so we’re working really hard in preparing for the game.”

The biggest MAAC women’s soccer battle of the year thus far will take place Friday Oct. 12 at Marist College.

O’Brien said: “Two undefeated teams at this juncture … you can’t get any better than that.”

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