In soccer, the beauty about having 11 players on the field is that almost anyone can score at any time. The Fairfield men’s soccer team proved this on Sunday in their 1-0 victory against Yale.

George Newton, a freshman defender, scored the game-winner in the 72nd minute, on a beautiful strike from outside of the penalty area.

It was Newton’s first collegiate goal and also earned him the honor of MAAC-Rookie of the Week.

“I’m not really known for scoring goals, so it was just one of those ‘head down and hit it’ moments, and hope for the best. And luckily it flew in and won us the game,” said Newton.

It was quite lucky for the Stags that Newton’s goal found the back of the net, as they had had a somewhat shaky first half.

Going into the break, Junior Reco McLaren had the only shot for the Stags, in a one-on-one attempt with Yale’s keeper, who made a fantastic save to keep the score level.

In the first 45, the last pass, the pass that would have put Jordan Ayris or McLaren in for the goal, wasn’t quite hitting the target. Some would roll harmlessly to the keeper, while a Yale player would intercept others.

“As a team collectively and me individually I think we have to keep the ball better and maintain possession so we can take a bit of pressure off of ourselves. And I still think that going forward we have a lot to improve on to create chances,” Newton said.

However, as the game progressed, the Stags got more comfortable, they held the ball more in Yale’s half, and ended the game with eight shots, and the win.

The defense held strong for the Stags, notching their second clean sheet of the 2012 season. While Yale was able get off nine shots, only two actually troubled Michael O’Keeffe ’13 in the Fairfield net.

The defense has been strong thus far this season, in spite of losing Jack Cleverley ’12 in the center, who played his last season with Fairfield last year.

“Jack brought a lot in terms of leadership for our team. He was really vocal. He brought a lot of experience, so basically it’s on Mike (O’Keeffe), Jonny (Raj ’13) and myself to bring the leadership,” said Adam Cowen, a senior center defender for the Stags.

However, the loss of Cleverley has been reduced as Newton has joined the defense, and has started all three games for the Stags this season.

“George is quality. He’s a bloody good defender. He defends well one-on-one. He’s a really solid and good player, and I’m really happy to have him on the team.” Cowen said.

In the three games to date, Newton has been influential in in both the defensive and offensive halves.

The Stags hopes to have Newton and his fellow freshmen continue their impressive play ahead of their next match on September 12th against Long Island University and ahead of MAAC play which begins on October 6th against Iona.

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