NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – The Purple Eagles used overtime to defeat the Fairfield University Stags 1-0 at Niagara Field on Friday night.
Both teams started the game focused defensively, forcing mostly outside shots and not giving up many close chances. Through the first 45 minutes of play, Fairfield (6-8-1; 2-4-0 MAAC) led with seven total shots, two of which were on target. Niagara (10-1-4; 4-1-1 MAAC) added three more shots, while putting only one on net.
The Purple Eagles, looking to secure a spot in the postseason, increased their offensive pressure in the second half, outshooting the Stags nine to two. As it was in the first half, both defenses continued their sound play, and neither team was able to find the back of the net through regulation.
Carrying their momentum into extra time, it took the Purple Eagles just three minutes to add the game winning tally. Niagara senior Bryan Da Cruz received a pass from teammate Callum Willmott at the corner of the box, cut to the inside to beat a Stag defender, and buried his fourth goal of the season, claiming the victory for the Purple Eagles.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Niagara head coach Chase Brooks. “Fairfield matches up well against us. To the team’s credit, they played their butts off and believed in the Niagara way. We have to stay focused, and continue to take it one game at a time.”
Senior Brett Petricek posted his fifth shutout and his tenth win of the season, a career-high, while Michael O’Keefe drew his fifth loss this season for the Stags.
The Purple Eagles return to the pitch for the final home game of season on Sunday, October 28 at 1 p.m. The Niagara seniors will be honored during a pregame ceremony.