For the Fairfield University men’s soccer team (3-2-0), as well as their loyal fans, the only way to describe the 1-0 loss to Northeastern (4-1-0) on Saturday night is heartbreaking.
With only 1:32 to play in the second overtime period, Northeastern’s Terence Carter finished off a cross from a teammate that just went out of reach of goalkeeper Michael O’Keeffe ’13.
The game went into overtime in a 0-0 deadlock with both teams having decent chances to get a goal on the board.
The Stags’ best chance of the first half, when in the 26th minute, defender Matt Danaher ’14 ripped a shot from the right corner of the box that was deflected. The ball ended up back at Danaher’s feet who took another shot, but was stopped by Northeastern’s keeper, Dylan Faber.
In the second half, the Stags outshot the Huskies 5-2, with one of the best efforts coming from Daniel Shaw ’14 who attempted a bicycle kick on the box, which didn’t end up troubling Faber in the net.
Heading into overtime, Fairfield looked more likely to score the game winner, and ended the first period with three shots, two coming on headers from Jordan Ayris ’15 and Adam Cowen ’13 off of set plays.
Unfortunately for the Stags, Carter was able to put the ball into the back of the net in the 109th minute, and put an end to the hopes of the Stags coming away with the win.
It wasn’t the first time that Northeastern had won their game in such dramatic fashion. Of the five games that Northeastern has played this season, three went to double overtime with Northeastern getting the game winner in the period.
All is not lost for the Stags, who put out a good showing against the Huskies.
“I thought we played very well today. I think we adapted well as the game went on … we passed the ball around and we played some nice soccer for the majority of the game,” said Head Coach Carl Rees.
The Stags have been getting better as the season has gone on. In their five games to date, the Stags have taken 42 shots, 27 coming within the last two games. They took 15 shots in their 2-1 victory over Long Island University on Wednesday, in which Reco McLaren ’14 and Tim West ’15 scored the goals.
However the team is still steadily improving.
“We need to be more fluid on attack. We need to take our chances when they arise … And our set pieces need to be more effective. We’re not capitalizing on our set pieces,” said Rees.
Rees also said that the defense has been very effective at the opening of the season, conceding “minimal goals”, with only three scored against them thus far.
Now the team will go back to work an get ready to travel to New Mexico for the weekend to play nationally ranked University of New Mexico on Friday and University of Denver on Sunday.
“New Mexico may be the best team that we see all season long,” said Coach Rees.
The Stags have four games left before they begin MAAC conference play. They’ll look to perfect their play before they set out to defend their MAAC regular season title.