After a long and successful season, Fairfield’s women’s soccer will finally be taking a break from the field.
Before the season had even started, the Stags had established their overall goals. The team wasn’t looking for a perfect record, but for a season that showed they had deserved everything that had come to them.
Before competing in the MAAC Tournament in Florida, the Stags were placed second overall in the MAAC division. Entering the tournament as the second seed with a 7-2-2 record, the Stags received a bye for the quarter final and took on Manhattan College in their first game.
The team entered the tournament as the 88th team in the nation having scored 31 goals in the past eighteen games. Led by Emma Pichel ‘15, the Stags went into the tournament having one of the strongest defense lines in the league. On average, the Stags defense allowed opponents only fifteen goals throughout the regular season and then went on to shut teams out eight different times.
Going into the tournament as the second seed, the Stags received a bye for the first round and went on to take Manhattan College, the 10th seed, in their first game of the tournament. In a shootout, the team was luckily able to advance to the second round.
In the second game, Ashley Small ‘15, was able to save the Stags again with the only goal of the game. Even though it was the only goal, it was just enough to give the team a win against Siena College to advance to the championship game of the MAAC Tournament.
Although the championship game was played evenly and competitively by both sides, Monmouth University outshot Fairfield by two goals.
The Stags fell to Monmouth in the championship game (0-2), but overall, the team was impressed by the immense success they had made throughout their season.
Not only did they make it to the championship game, several of the Stags received outstanding honors for their playing this season.
Graduate student Nikki Stanton ’13, Small, and Megan O’Brien ‘15 were all named to the All-Tournament Team.
Small had a number of accomplishments this season including the All-Tournament team, being selected to the All-MAAC first team, and leads the team with 25 points this season.
Stanton has finished her soccer career at Fairfield with some of the highest honors. After leading the team as captain for two years in a row, Stanton has consistently been selected to be a part of the MAAC All-Academic Team, the All-MAAC first team, and the MAAC All-Tournament Team. Without Stanton as the starting midfielder this season, the entire season would have been different.
And after an impeccable season, Pichel was named as the MAAC Defensive Player of the year. She started sixteen of the regular games for the Stags and helped the team maintain the impressive goal of allowing opponents only 3.1 goals per game. Not only was she the Defensive Player of the Year, she was also named to the All- MAAC First Team.
The team had one of the strongest bonds and they are looking to carry the intensity of the next season, especially with the help of their Head Coach Jim O’Brien.
After his 100th career MAAC win as coach, O’Brien will keep the same goals for his team in the next season. Like they have always been, the team will be working to be crowned MAAC Champs.
Although the season has come to an end, the Stags will continue to work. In the postseason, the team will continue to work on their fitness and skills to prep to be the most successful team next year.