The Fairfield University Men’s Soccer team lead off their conference play with a 2-1 win over the Niagara University Purple Eagles, pushing their record to 4-4, giving them a .500 winning percentage. The stars of the game for the Stags were South Brunswick’s own Diallo Simon-Ponte ‘20, who, before Saturday, remained out of the starting lineup for nearly a month and midfielder Santiago Gonzalez ‘22.
Gonzalez started off the scoring with a goal past Niagara’s graduate goalkeeper Steve Casey in minute 30, assisted by defender Cormac Pike ‘22. Simon-Ponte justified coach Carl Rees’ decision to slot him back into the starting lineup by putting the Stags ahead after an own-goal in minute 55 until a redirected clearing attempt brought Niagara even in minute 65.
Fairfield goalkeeper Gordon Botterill ‘21 kept Fairfield in the game by keeping the Niagara total at one, allowing the Stags to put themselves ahead and never look back. Niagara keeper Casey saved six of the eight Fairfield shots on goal.The Niagara comeback attempt was made more difficult after a minute 83 red card to Luigi Boa Morte ‘22 which brought the Purple Eagles down to 10 men.
Supersub Jack Weiss ‘22 came in and put up two shots, again providing a spark to his Fairfield side. Midfielders Diego Casielles ‘19 and Gonzalez put up a combined 11 shots, with five of those landing on net. Even though the scoreboard may not have indicated as such, the Stags really ramped up their offensive attack in this game putting up 20 shots, with eight of those on goal.
Wednesday, Oct. 3 will be the next conference matchup for the Stag Men’s Soccer team as they head down to the Jersey Shore to take on the Monmouth University Hawks, who currently have the second worst record in the Metro Athletic Atlantic Conference at 2-6-1.
The next home game for the Stags comes Wednesday, Oct. 10 against the 5-3-1 Iona College Gaels. The Stags will continue to look to string together a couple of victories in a row as they encounter the grind that is the MAAC conference schedule.