In the sixth game of the season on Sunday, one which saw both teams perform at a high level, the Bryant Bulldogs were too much for the Fairfield Stags as they picked up a 3-1 victory.

The Bulldogs scored two first-half goals, the first of which was very unlucky. The play started when a Bulldog striker sent a cross into the box. Fairfield defenders mistimed the header to clear the cross and sent it into their own net by accident.

The second goal of the match was a impressive free kick and also the first goal of the season for Bryant’s Hannah Crofut. The blockade of Fairfield defenders was not enough to deflect or block the shot as it soared into the upper corner of the Fairfield goal.

The match was a tale of two halves as the second half of the match saw an exciting comeback attempt for the Stags. The Stags dominated play and were much more aggressive going forward.

Head Coach Jim O’Brien spoke to his team at halftime to get them more pumped up and said, “Probably can’t print it, but in the spirit of the Jesuit philosophy we struck the fear of God into them. We just told them about the concerns that we had and that we were being outplayed in every facet of the game.” With the words from O’Brien in their minds, the girls kept fighting and pressuring the Bryant backline.

Unfortunately, another unlucky goal was allowed by the Stags as Bryant’s Alyssa Riccione took a crazed shot that the Fairfield goalkeeper fumbled. The ball trickled into the back of the goal and now the Stags were looking at a 3­-0 deficit with 30 minutes to go.

The only goal for the Stags was set up by a great tackle from Elena Santos ‘19. After taking the ball away from a Bryant defender, she was able turn toward the goal, but was taken down, resulting in a penalty for the Stags. Junior Anna Borea calmly converted the goal from the spot, rejuvenating hope into the tired Stags.

The Stags started to get their groove back after the goal, but the Bryant goalkeeper proved her worth every time she was called upon during the Fairfield onslaught. The Stags were relentless in pressure, but Bryant was equally calculated in taking time off the clock and keeping the ball out of their half as much as possible. The Stags just couldn’t breakdown the Bryant defense. In a half that saw Fairfield dominate, the time expired and the 3-­1 scoreline was too much to overcome.

When asked about what the team needed to work on for next game, O’Brien said, “We have to tinker, find our way and put the right team out on the field. I made 15 substitutions today. We’ve given up very sloppy goals. We have to get better communication between our goalkeeper and our backline.” O’Brien seemed to have a positive outlook on the games to come and the goals scored were all ones that could easily be fixed.

O’Brien had great praise for Santos who set up the only goal of the day with her pressure on the Bryant backline. “She’s got a heart of gold, a high work­rate and made a big difference when we put her in there for the second half.”

Fairfield’s next game is home on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. where the Stags will try and take down the University of Rhode Island Rams.

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