With just a couple of games remaining on the 2017 schedule, the Fairfield University Field Hockey team looked to finish the season on a strong note when they hosted the Temple Owls this past Sunday, Oct. 22 in front of a packed house at University Field. Both teams battled for the majority of the game, struggling to knock down a goal on the opposing defense. The game was scoreless in regulation until the overtime period, when Jaclyn Gallagher ‘18 knocked in the game-winning goal for the Stags.
“In the last couple of games, our girls have been developing a lot of pride in the backfield making sure that we’re holding teams to little to no goals. The last two games have been 1-0 and that’s all on the defense,” said head coach Jackie Kane. “It’s just having faith and believing that the opportunity is going to come, which they did and that we’re going to finish when we need to, which Jackie Gallagher did then.”
On defense, the Stags were not allowing any opportunities for Temple. In the first half of play, Temple struggled to get past the Stags’ defensive line as they were only able to connect on one shot, which failed to get past the goalkeeper. On the contrary, the Stags were more of the aggressor, finding themselves with several opportunities to score in the first half of play. Unfortunately for the Stags, Temple’s goalkeeper Maddie Lilliock had a say in all of Fairfield’s early shots, holding Fairfield scoreless through one period of play.
The second half of play saw both teams get more comfortable on offense as they earned more opportunities to score, but the great play of both team’s goalkeepers kept the score tied at zero as both teams could not get a shot past the goalkeepers.
With 10 seconds left in regulation, the Stags had an opportunity to close the door on the Owls when Andrea Soler ‘18 hit a shot toward the goal which forced Temple’s goalkeeper to make a diving stop. The ball would ricochet back to Sam Giordano ‘19 who gave her best swing but unfortunately for the Stags, the shot hit the post and time expired, forcing the game into overtime.
Fairfield took care of business early in the overtime period, knocking down the game-winning goal just minutes after the start of the extra period when Gallagher scrambled to collect a rebound off the net and dribbled past the goalkeeper to knock in the shot that would send the Stags’ faithful home happy, edging the Owls by a 1-0 margin. “She played with a lot of resilience and a lot of heart,” said Kane on Gallagher.
With the win, the Stags hold a season high three-game winning streak and currently stand at the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings, tied in the first slot with the Monmouth Hawks holding a record of 3-1 in conference play. Fairfield looks to continue the momentum when they host their final home game of the regular season on Friday, Oct. 27, a day where the class of 2018 will be honored in a pregame ceremony for their contributions over the last four years at Fairfield.