Aisha Faulkner/The Mirror

The last regular season home game always means one thing: Senior Day.

For the Fairfield University Women’s Soccer team, it was a chance to honor a truly impressive senior class. And that is just what they did.

The Stags (5-6-5 overall, 3-2-2 in conference) defeated MAAC conference rival Rider University (9-5-4 overall, 2-3-2 in conference) in style with a 4-0 thrashing at Lessing Field on Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore Carly Beyar opened the scoring 3:42 into the game with a beautiful shot from outside the penalty area. The ball went sailing into the top left corner well out of Rider’s Danielle Singson’s reach.

The lead increased to 2 when Ashley Small broke into the box and was cutting laterally across the goal line. A Rider defender took her down, allowing Nikki Stanton to step up and put a penalty kick calmly into the right side of the net.

Small got her chance to put her name into the scorebook with 2:00 to play in the first half. Torey Camporini expertly placed the ball ahead of a Rider defender, and Small ran onto it, leaving her one-on-one with the keeper.

A simple chip over Singson’s head was all it took to increase the score 3-0. Small’s effort was rewarded as she earned her first MAAC Rookie of the Week award.

The game was finally put out of Rider’s reach with 17:17 left to play when Elise Hemmer chipped the ball into the penalty area. After it bounced around in the area for a while, Spenser Allaway placed the ball into the back of the net.

Going into the game with Rider, Fairfield was in somewhat of an offensive slump. In the past 15 games, the Stags had only amassed 9 goals. The offensive explosion by the Stags was a long time coming for Coach O’Brien.

“We knew that eventually they were going to come through for us and score some goals…. it was great to see,” said O’Brien.

While it was great to see the Stags have such an impressive offensive day, it was also inspiring to see the whole team come together for their seniors.

The class of 2012 consists of: Spenser Allaway, Kelly Boudreau (who won the MAAC Defensive Player of the Week award), Jasmin Corniel, Alanna Locast, Bri Miller and Jackie Taylor. Together, this senior class has 37 wins, including a MAAC tournament crown in 2008.

In Coach O’Brien’s opinion, “They’re a great group, I’ve enjoyed working with them. The only thing I’m going to enjoy more is capping their careers with a MAAC championship.”

The game was a must win as it was, as a playoff berth is on the line. The top four teams in the MAAC go on to the tournament and the field is wide open.

A loss could have been detrimental to their playoff hopes. In fact, with Rider’s loss, they are essentially out of the playoff hunt, a fate that could easily have been Fairfield.

However, with the senior class in mind, the Stags went out on the field and assured that their destiny is in their own hands.

The Stags close out the regular season with two away matches at Canisius and Niagara, with the fate of the MAAC Tournament coming down to these last contests.

When O’Brien was asked about the last stretch of the scheduele, he replied with confidence:“We play to win every game…and if we do that, we’re going to be in the tournament.”

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