This past week, both Fairfield’s men’s and women’s soccer teams were eliminated from their respective Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournaments. The women’s team played in the semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 3 when the two-seeded Stags took on the three-seeded Niagara University.
The Stags fell behind 30 minutes into the match, going down 1-0 after a Niagara goal. The Purple Eagles had two goals called off, one due to an offsides violation, one of eight they were called for in the match according to the matches official recap, while the Stags were not called for any, and the other due to a handball. The first half ended a 1-0 contest with the Stags hopeful to turn the tide in the second half.
Just 12 minutes into the second half, Niagara punched in a second goal, putting the Stags on their heels. Three minutes later, the Stags gained some momentum with Elle Scott’s ‘24 sixth goal of the season to make it 2-1. She was assisted by graduate student Maddie Mills, who collected her team-leading eighth assist of the season. Their momentum did not last long, as Niagara put in their second goal in five minutes, making it 3-1 with just 28 minutes left to play.
Even though the Stags had 18 shots to Niagara’s 12, they could not finish and fell short as only six of their 18 shots were on net compared to Niagara, who put seven on net. They ended their season with a record of 14-4 and 9-1 in the MAAC. Freshman goalkeeper Katie Wright completed her season with 14 wins, which was the most by any freshman in the country according to the matches official recap, and the Stags had their most team wins since 2014.
The sixth-seeded men’s team had a similar result in their MAAC tournament match, as they fell 2-0 to the three-seeded Manhattan College in the opening round of their tournament.
The Jaspers punched in two first half goals, which proved to be insurmountable for Fairfield. The goals came in the 19th and 32nd minutes of the match. The Stags competed and played hard with just one less shot on goal compared to Manhattan with three to their four.
Junior James Anderson kept his team in the match through the first half with two big saves, keeping it just a two goal lead. Fairfield then came out a different team in the second half by changing up their strategy, becoming much more aggressive and flooding the attacking zone with centering passes, leading to opportunities and holding Manhattan to just two shots.
Freshman Kaea Rangihaeata had one of those opportunities by beating his defender and releasing a shot which was just barely saved, keeping the Stags down two. Later, grad student Cormac Pike sent another shot at the net by redirecting the ball but Manhattan’s goalie was able to make the save once again.
“It was an unfortunate start because they grabbed the first goal and the momentum in the first half,” Head Coach Carl Rees stated in the game’s official recap. “We made adjustments though and I thought we were the better team in the second half. I give credit to our guys for showing resilience. They did not stop and were fully committed.”
Junior Raz Amir was named a member of the all-MAAC first team, Amir had five goals and six assists totaling points on the season leading the team in points and assists and was tied for the most goals with Alex Olivera ‘23. The men’s team finished its season with an 8-10-1 record and were 4-5-1 in MAAC play, according to their official schedule.