Aisha Faulkner/The Mirror

Team.

The one word Coach Jim O’Brien of the Fairfield women’s soccer team sees as the most important word to describe the 2011 season.

Every accomplishment, goal, shutout, and win is all owed back to the team as a whole.

Unfortunately though, while you win together you also have to battle through tough losses together; which is exactly what the team had to do this past Friday.

 

The Stags went into the MAAC Championship Tournament seeded 4th and drew their first game against 1st seeded Marist. The game would prove to be a challenge.

The contest started out well for the Stags. 66 seconds into the contest, sophomore Carly Beyar gave Fairfield the 1-0 advantage.

“Carly has done a very, very nice job in transition from defense to offense,” said Coach O’Brien. “We felt early in the season that due to our difficulty scoring, we thought she would be a good person to move up.”

The Stags held onto the lead until 10:25 remained before the half when Marist’s Amada Epstein leveled the game. The game remained in a deadlock until finally it was forced into penalty kicks, where the Stags fell to the Red Foxed 3-2.

The game marked the last time the senior class would be on the field for Fairfield. The senior class consists of: Brianna Miller, Spenser Allaway, Jasmin Corniel, Alanna Locast, Kelly Boudreau, and Jackie Taylor.

During their freshman year, the senior class won the MAAC Championship and advanced to the first game of the NCAA tournament.

Coach O’Brien sees that losing the experience is going to be a big loss, but “we do have some young talent who are on the roster that are going to compete for those positions that are going to vacate.”

It is with the inspiration of this senior class that the Stags got as far as they did this season.

In arguably the best game of the season against Rider, on senior day, “the girls rallied around their senior class and put forth a great effort when a win was necessary for us to be in the hunt for the MAAC tournament,” explains Coach O’Brien.

While everyone had all hoped the Stags would go further in the tournament, the outcome can still be seen as a building block for years to come. One of these benefits would be that the younger players now have experience in high-pressure games such as the MAAC tournament.

But Coach O’Brien still sees that the team still has much to work on in the off-season.

“We’re going to continue to work really, really hard on our attack,” he says. “We have quite a few younger players who we’ll be working very hard with to grow and develop as attack and offensive minded players.”

The end of the season always brings about a mixture of emotions. There’s sadness that such a strong senior class has played their last games as Stags.

And yet there’s still a nervous anticipation, waiting to see what next year will bring about.

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