The women’s soccer team kept its’ playoff hopes alive on Sunday in a must win game over the Niagara Purple Eagles.
It was a day to remember for a number of exciting reasons, one even historic, and an afternoon that at least three players will never forget.
The class of 2010 bid farewell to the home crowd on the Fairfield campus. They are two of the most accomplished players in the history of the women’s soccer program and both showed their promise early on as they captured the MAAC Rookie of the Year award in back-to- back seasons.
148 starts, 135 points , 43 goals, and 49 assists later these two players have inked their names in a number of records, as team captains Nicole Cavallaro and Casey Frobey competed in their last game on Lessing Field.
“I love playing here and there’s not many memories I don’t like so it’s only happy times,” said Casey Frobey.
She ranks fifth in the school’s history with points (74) and goals (29). It’s the last time they will compete on the lowcut grass on Lessing Field, the last time they will stare at the dark red clock ticking down on the scoreboard above, but fortunately for the Stags it ended up being the last time they could celebrate a win on campus. “It was extremely sad,” said Nicole Cavallaro. The New York native will graduate second in Fairfield history with 33 assists.
But after the players and their parents were presented their flowers, the flashes of the cameras faded, and the seniors jogged out for the last time wearing their cardinal red uniforms.
Goalkeeper Kelly Boudreau ’12 broke Anne Lyons’ shutout record set a decade ago. The Farmington, Connecticut native secured her record by becoming the all-time shutout leader with her 25th game.
However, she wouldn’t take all the credit. “I wouldn’t be here without my team, especially my back four, Alyssa Decker does not get enough credit. She’s been here since I’ve come here, so it’s all her, it’s all the back four it’s not an individual award it’s more a team award,” she said.
Boudreau has helped the team from the day she arrived. She’s a two time All-MAAC Second team representative and also tops in the program history in goals against average.
“To do it in her junior year, she’s still got her senior year, she’s going to pad that record for a long time,” said Coach Jim O’Brien. The sixth year head coach is a fellow goalkeeper from his playing days and he knows great talent. “I think she’s definitely one of the tops that we ever had and Fairfield has been known to have good quality goalkeepers over the years,” he said.
The Stags entered the game in sixth place in the MAAC staring up at a four way tie for third with only the top four teams advancing to the conference tournament.
With the added three points, Fairfield has moved into sole possession of third place. With a loss the team would have been in playoff crisis, but they refused to have the same team potentially end their season two years in a row.
Last year the third seeded Stags were upset by the Purple Eagles in the first round of the tournament down in Disney. “We wanted to get a little payback,” Coach O’Brien said.
The players came pumped for the rematch. Frobey said, “We wanted to beat them and show them we were actually the better team.”
The Stags will play two more games on the road to close out the regular season. “We’re peaking offensively at the right time,” Coach O’Brien said.
If Fairfield wins both games they will automatically clinch a playoff spot in the tournament.
Their important road trip will begin when they will travel to Siena on Friday.
The Saints were the last undefeated untied Division one school in the nation and were once ranked as #25 in the nation.
However, the last time they played on that field up in Albany they won the MAAC title.
After two days, the Stags will travel up to Poughkeepsie to take on the current number one seed Marist.
The Red Foxes are currently 6-1 in the conference but the players actually enjoy playing on the road. Boudreau said, “Personally, I get more pumped up for road games than I do home games, I don’t know why.”
After a disappointing loss to Canisius, the Stags faced a must win game and they were up for the challenge.
The playoff chase, the graduation of one of the most successful senior classes, and the record breaking shutout for Boudreau, Frobey hopes this can propel them.
She said, “I think the emotion that the team showed when we scored the goal and at the end of the game is something that we can remember for next week and we’ll just remember that feeling and want to play for that feeling.”