The Fairfield Stags Women’s Soccer team took the field this past Saturday, Oct. 21 against conference foe Marist with some bittersweet hearts. It was Senior Day for the Stags, the last time the seniors from the class of 2018 would be lacing up their cleats at Lessing Field before heading off to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament this weekend in Florida.
Emotions were running high before the game while the seniors were honored with their parents. Head coach Jim O’Brien knows how to coach these emotional games well as he has been in this position before and knows what his players are feeling come Senior Week. “It’s always emotional. The pre-game ceremony is a bit of a drain. Once we got settled into the game, I thought we did a very good job,” said the head coach.
Even though the Stags tied against Marist, the veteran head coach saw this game as a stepping stone for the upcoming MAAC tournament.
“You want to start going into the tournament with a proper ascent, on a positive note. It is a positive with the way we played. This team is taking it like a loss. I’m impressed with that,” said the winningest coach in Fairfield women’s soccer history.
O’Brien is not afraid to admit the strengths as well as Fairfield’s weaknesses after seeing his team play the regular season finale.
“We were better defensively during the game. But we were creating opportunities and now we are in a bit of a dry spell scoring-wise which wasn’t the case earlier in the season,” said O’Brien. “After you get that one, the momentum starts to build.”
One key player competing in her last home game and being honored at Lessing Field was team captain Faith Daley ‘18. She felt that expected bittersweetness before and after the game. Daley left everything out there in her final game as a Stag.
“I’m sad that it was my last game but we tied and we played well. I couldn’t be happier to be on the field with my teammates,” said the midfielder.
Consistency is vital for the Stags’ success especially for the senior on the defensive side of the ball. “Everybody listens to each other and playing together really helps us defensively,” said Daley.
After fours years in the red and white, Daley will never forget her team and there will always be a special place for her team in her own heart. “My team, that’s what I’ll remember. Just seeing how everybody cares so much and how close we are. Without my team, this experience wouldn’t be the same,” said the captain.
On a day of joy and celebration for the seniors, the Stags were unable to record a win as they tied against a highly-regarded Marist squad this year, showing a major positive behind a 0-0 draw. They also finished 6-9-1 on the year and went 4-5-1 in conference play.
Next, the Stags head to the Sunshine State down in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. as No. 7 to face No. 10 Iona on Saturday, Oct. 28 as they look to make a run in the MAAC tournament.