The Fairfield University women’s soccer team opened Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play in dramatic fashion Friday night, defeating host Rider University 1-0 in the final seconds of play. The victory improves the Stags to 4-3-2 on the year and 1-0-0 in league play, while the Broncs fall to 5-2-2 overall and 0-1-0 in conference action.
Carly Beyar blasted a shot from 30-yards out that was saved by Jenn Nichols, however, she could not collect the rebound and Jac Ley was there to chip the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net with 40 ticks remaining in regulation.
The game-winning tally was made possible by an impressive diving save by Kathleen Early just moments earlier. Claire Thompson launched a shot in the 85th minute that was tailing to the post, but Early leapt vertical to the ground and made the save. It was her second save of the game, as she posted a clean sheet for the Stags.
Fairfield dominated the statistical categories of the game, outshooting Rider 18-6, with a 10-2 shots on goal advantage. Nichols stopped nine shots in net for Rider. The Stags had a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks and were not whistled offsides in the game, while Rider was called off four times. Rider doubled up the Stags in fouls, 8-4.
The Stags have not loss a MAAC opener since 2005, going 5-0-2 in those seven games. Fairfield looks for its first 2-0 start in league play, since 2007, when it plays at Loyola on Sunday at 1 p.m.