Tom McKiver/The Mirror

It was the highly antcipated moment  to welcome back the Fairfield University women’s soccer teams this past weekend.

The 2011 Stags opened their home portion of their schedule by honoring the alumni who built the program 20 years ago.

They hosted the Fairfield University Invitational, a tournament bringing three different colleges (Syracuse, Central Conneticut State, and Holy Cross) from around the Northeast to compete on campus.

“I think it was an honor for them [the players],” Jim O’Brien said.  The seventh year head coach was instrumental in setting up the first ever such competition on campus at a time when he thought the program was ready. “We felt it was the perfect scenario for us to host a tournament like this and it was a huge success.”

The Hall-of-Famers and alumni were recognized during a halftime tribute during the Stags Friday night game against Syracuse and applauded the athletes who have helped build the program to what it is today.

“It’s a good experience for everyone to see where the program has gone from start to now,” tournament MVP Goalkeeper Kelly Boudreau said.  Sophomore Carly Beyar said, “Some of the girls talked to the people who used to play here and it’s amazing how it [the program] improved so much.”

And what better way to display the success over the past 20 years than going unbeaten in the tournament and recording back-to-back shutouts?

“It was great, we really needed it.  It’s a good momentum booster and we’re ready for another one,” senior captain Jackie Taylor said.  The Stags improved their record to 2-1-2 on the year by winning the finale over Holy Cross 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.

In the process they extended their shutout streak to 461 consecutive minutes.  They have only surrendered one goal the entire year and that came in the first half of the opening game of the season.

A big part of the defensive success has been senior Kelly Boudreau.  The Farmington, CT native has already won three out of the four MAAC Defensive Player of the Week Awards and continues to add to her already program best shutout record.

“It’s not just me though, it’s my whole defense.  I just got to come up big, get a couple of saves but they play the whole game letting nothing by them,” she said.

It isn’t just the regulars contributing for Fairfield.  The squad has used at least 19 different players in each and every game this season, which shows the depth of this particular team.

“The young players are very, very talented the future is very bright, not only for the defense but across the board,” Coach O’Brien said.

With the 20th anniversary being talked about during the entire season, the 2011 team is looking to ‘defend’ the success of this women’s soccer program and started off in the right direction by winning the Fairfield University Invitational.

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