The Stags dropped their third straight contest of the 2015 season at Lessing Field on Saturday, falling to the Towson Tigers 2-0.
The young Fairfield squad came up against a fast, physical Towson side which controlled the midfield and constantly pressured the Stags’ defensive third.
“We had eight freshmen in the starting lineup today,” Fairfield Head Coach Jim O’Brien said. “In the second half we put nine on the field. We always want to win the games, but at the same time we want to get the players the experience they need.”
Neither side was able to to seriously threaten the other in the opening stages, with possession split evenly and no real goal-scoring chances.
Towson struck first with an open-net goal at the 14:38 mark. Fairfield goalkeeper Jenna Pike ‘18 charged to clear a ball at the edge of her 18-yard box, colliding with a teammate which sent her to the ground. The ball fell to Tigers’ freshman forward Katie Fullerton just outside the box who easily tucked it away for a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers settled into a much more threatening rhythm following their goal, barely allowing the Stags possession in Towson’s side of the field. They would punish a Fairfield mistake again as senior defender Vasthy Delgado split two defenders and went to ground, drawing a penalty at the 5:53 mark.
Pike guessed correctly to her right side, but Delgado confidently drilled her shot into the top left to give Towson a 2-0 lead which they took into halftime.
The Tigers controlled the possession and offense after the opening minutes, out-shooting Fairfield 7-1 in the opening 45 minutes.
The second half saw a much stronger showing from O’Brien’s side, putting pressure on the Towson goalkeeper Taylor Sebolao, but unable to come away with a goal.
Freshman forward Jenny Jacobs, who came away with a game-high three shots for Fairfield, forced a narrow near-post save from Sebolao at the 34:38 and again at 28:35. Although the Stags continued to threaten the Tigers’ net, this was as close as they would get, and the game ended 2-0 in favor of Towson.
“These games that we’ve dropped thus far are ones that a younger team is going to have some growing pains with,” said O’Brien. “Anybody that’s asked me over the past year after last year’s class graduated, I always have the same answer for them: We’re going to be good and we’re going to be young.”
While Fairfield’s offense impressed in the second half with 11 shots compared to just one in the first, the Tigers still held the advantage on total shots 18-12. Towson managed to keep the pressure on the Stags net with seven corner kicks.
Pike made five saves in the second 45 minutes for six total for the match, while Fairfield forced five saves from Towson’s Sebolao in the second half after forcing none in the first.
“We want them to take away that even though they were down 2-0, they battled for the last 45 minutes,” O’Brien said. “We were aggressive and winning balls in the air, and the overall effort was there in the second half, so it’s very promising to see these young players get that experience.”
The Stags drop to 1-4 while Towson improves to 2-2-1.