FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Purple Eagles men’s soccer team scored two goals in the final nine minutes of regulation to conclude this week’s road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Fairfield Stags. Borna Juracic and Saiaz Saenz each scored their first goal of the season as Niagara earned its second conference win of the 2016 campaign Saturday evening at Lessing Field.
· Final Score: Niagara 2, Fairfield 1
· Niagara Goal Scorers: Borna Juracic (82’), Saiaz Saenz (86’)
· Niagara Assists: Owen Carter (1), Navid Rahman (1)
· In Goal: Steve Casey (3-8-1): 1 GA, 5 SV
· Records: Niagara (3-9-1, 2-4-0 MAAC), Fairfield (5-5-2, 3-2-0 MAAC)
· Location: Lessing Field – Fairfield, Conn.
· Attendance: 209
· Fairfield controlled the possession from the opening of the match, outshooting Niagara 7-0 in the first 45 minutes.
· Niagara goalkeeper Steve Casey made two saves to keep the game at a scoreless tie after the first half.
· In the second half, Casey made a stop against Fairfield’s Steven Valente in the 47th minute, but it was Valente who registered the next shot of the match and gave Fairfield the 1-0 lead in the 59th minute.
· A free kick from the Stags’ Diego Casielles was placed to the right post of the Niagara goal, and Valente beat Casey for the 1-0 lead.
· Niagara was held without a shot until just past the 81-minute mark of the match, but their first shot turned into a goal by Borna Juracic.
· Juracic completed a passing play with assists from Owen Carter and Navid Rahman, as the freshman defender collected a loose ball and beat Fairfield goalkeeper Joe Martin to the lower left corner.
· Niagara’s Fabrizio Chiari had two chances in the following three minutes turned away by the Fairfield defense before the Purple Eagles found the eventual game-winning strike.
· With just over four minutes to play, Saiaz Saenz controlled a bouncing ball about 20 yards out from Martin, and his shot found the back of the goal to put Niagara in front 2-1.
· Casey had to make a tough save in the 88th minute on Fairfield’s leading scorer, Ben Wignall, to preserve the come-from-behind victory for the Purple Eagles.
· Head coach Bill Boyle: "This is a gutsy win for our team. The guys were outplayed in the first half, but they didn’t give up in the second. They never quit, and new guys keep stepping up each game. That determination helped us defeat a very good Fairfield team tonight."
Inside the Numbers
· Borna Juracic and Saiaz Saenz both scored the first goals of their Niagara careers in the win over Fairfield.
· Juracic now has one goal and one assist for three points on the season, entering a five-way tie for second on the team in total scoring.
· For Saenz, his game-winning goal in the 86th minute came on his first shot and first shot on goal of the 2016 season.
· Owen Carter made his first start as a Purple Eagle Saturday night and picked up the primary assist on Juracic’s game-tying goal.
· Steve Casey has now made five or more saves five times this season, including four times in his last six appearances. He now sports a 1.36 goals-against average and .733 save percentage in the 2016 season.
· The Purple Eagles have four games remaining in the 2016 regular season, with three of those matches set to be played at Niagara Field. Niagara returns to action next Saturday, Oct. 22, at home against the Iona Gaels. Opening kick that night is slated for 7 p.m.
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