The Fairfield University women’s soccer team could not have asked for a better weekend than the one they just had. Not only was it Alumni and Family Weekend and senior day, but they did their job in defeating conference foe Niagara University 3-2 at Lessing Field on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Fairfield entered the contest with a 12-3 record to go along with a 7-1 tally in conference play. The match commenced with no one appearing on the goal sheet, as both teams came in with high levels of drive and determination in attempts to shift momentum in their respective favors.
Fairfield was the first to make some noise, as forward Elle Scott ‘24 fired a cross-shot that was deflected in by a Niagara player in the 23rd minute, leading to an own goal by the Purple Eagles to give the Stags a 1-0 lead.
Seventeen minutes later, just before the half, the two teams would exchange goals.
In the 40th minute, Niagara player Maia MacLean tied the game at one. The knot was quickly untied, as three minutes later at the 43rd-minute mark, midfielder Reagan Klarmann ‘25 fired a shot off a pass from graduate student midfielder Maddie Mills to put the Stags back in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 lead.
Niagara came out of the half looking to respond quickly after the Mills goal. They did, in fact, respond rather quickly, five minutes into half at the 50th-minute mark to even the score at two after a laser shot from player Alexis Horwedel.
The game reverted to how it was before the 23-minute mark for the next 30 minutes, a battle for possession between the two teams without any additions to the score sheet.
Things changed in the 80th minute of play when forward Maddy Theriault ‘26 sent a cross-kick toward the middle of the box, which was deflected by Scott before hitting the foot of Mills, who put the ball in the back of the net to put the Stags in control of the game for good with a 3-2 lead.
The game should’ve been over then right?
The Purple Eagles nearly tied the game once again at the 85th-minute mark when Emma Bough picked up a turnover in the goaltender’s box by proceeding to take a blistering shot that was robbed by Stags goaltender Katie Wright ‘26, who reached across to place her fingertips on the ball to make the save.
This win improved the Stags overall record to 13-3 with a conference record of 8-1. The Stags also clinched a bye into the MAAC semifinals as well as earning the right to host a game at Lessing Field, which will occur on Thursday, Nov. 3.
In addition to the victory, the Stags also recognized its nine-member senior class prior to the contest in a pregame ceremony. The seniors that were recognized for their contributions over the past four years were Gena Pike ‘23, Maddie McClenathan ‘23, Olivia Horman ‘23, Kristi Mikula ‘23, Hannah Vogt ‘23, Allie Landino ‘23, Corrin Motyka ‘23, Rachel Dobricki ‘23, and Kayla Leary ‘23.
Head coach David Barrett could not be more proud of the senior core he has in place this year.
“It’s a good day to honor their accomplishments as people and not just what they do or don’t do as soccer players,” coach Barrett says. “We’re really grateful for the contributions that they’ve made to our program over the last four years, and I’m just really happy for them that we were able to get an important win and you know, how much they remember in the grand scheme of their life and that day remains to be seen. At least in the short term, I think everyone had a good day.”
Horman, Leary, and Vogt were all grateful for their special day in addition to the outcome of the match.
“It was amazing. I thought our team did a great job of making us feel very special,” Homan says. “Starting from the freshmen decorating the locker room [and] the juniors and sophomores writing really nice notes to us. The pre-game was definitely very special for all of us as a group.”
“I think we’ve brought a lot of energy onto the field, and that showed today,” Leary explains. “Everyone was really supportive. We all wanted to get the win, not only for the team but for all of the seniors.”
Vogt added on.
“The energy from the second we walked out from the locker room showed throughout the day,” Vogt says. “It was a lot of fun, and the win made it so much more meaningful.”
Furthermore, it was also parents’ weekend for the university as a whole. The three seniors agreed that the presence of their families made their senior day even more memorable.
“That was awesome. Having families at our games is really nice,” Horman elaborates. “It’s a great group of parents and kids to be around. I’ve formed a lot of good relationships with the other parents on the team as well, which has been a great experience during my time here. That made the day even more special.”
“I agree, nothing could’ve gone better than having them all here,” Leary says.
“We had a lot of support, and it was nice to see our families come out and support us,” Vogt exclaims.
The Stags will wrap up their regular season schedule with a contest against Iona University on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. home at Lessing Field. For more information on the women’s soccer team and Fairfield athletics as a whole, visit www.fairfieldstags.com.