The Fairfield University women’s soccer team (3-2-2) had two tough games this past week against Brown University (5-0-1) and Niagara University (4-2-1). After a 5-0 loss at Brown University on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, the Stags came back home with one goal in mind: to start 1-0 in the MAAC. Fueled by the team’s loss earlier in the week, the Stags defeated Niagara University by a score of 5-1 on Saturday September 21, 2019.
Before fans could even fill the stands at Saturday’s game, Fairfield’s Gabby Diodati ‘21 scored a penalty kick goal, her second of the season, giving the Stags a 1-0 lead. Liz Dumas ‘21 kept the Stags going by scoring two back-to-back goals, her fourth and fifth of the season, midway through the half increasing the Stags lead, 3-0. Her fourth and fifth goals of the season were made possible with assists from Brooke Hernon ‘22 and Stephanie Tsangaris ‘22. Niagara’s defense, led by goalkeeper Sabrina Locas, Hadley Bucken and Mackenzie Mix, felt the pressure from the Stags throughout the rest of the half facing nine shots and three corner kicks.
Fairfield made it out of the half with a three-goal lead, but the team made sure not to get comfortable.
A minute and a half into the second half of the game, Fairfield’s Hernon scored her first goal on the season (assisted by Diodati) and her second goal did not come too long after from a penalty kick. Freshman goalkeeper Gena Pike held down the defensive end of the field for the Stags with the help of Olivia Homan ‘23, Josie Horosky ‘23 and Melanie Hingher ‘20, but they were unable to hold onto the shutout for Pike. Towards the end of the second half, Emma Lindke of Niagara scored the team’s first and only goal of the game. Pike finished the game with 4 saves and the Stags outshot Niagara 13-11.
In the eyes of head coach David Barrett, “I think the girls responded well [after Wednesday’s loss to Brown], as I would expect them to. As we grow as a team this should be our standard.” Barrett also expressed that he recognizes that Saturday’s game was not perfect. The win was good for the team, but he “wished we hadn’t been as sloppy in the second half, definitely some things we need to work on. Our goal is to play a complete 90 minutes every game and we didn’t quite get there, but it is a good start in the MAAC”.
Cheering fans are not the only noises that people can hear in the stadium. It is evident to everyone watching the game that the communication needed on the field is present between the girls on the team. Brooke Hernon sees communication as one of the team’s strengths, “Definitely [in reference to communication as one of the team’s biggest strengths], from day one culture is emphasized a ton and I think everyone on the bench, on the field, not on the field, everyone is tuned in and ready to go at all times.” So does this mean there is a strong sense of comradery between the girls? The answer is yes, “It really is like a family here, we have a ton of fun together”.
Fairfield University become 1-0 in the MAAC and their season record lies at 4-3-2. They go on a week and a half hiatus and face off against Saint Peter’s University on Wednesday October 2, 2019 at 4 p.m. in Fairfield for their second conference game of the season.