For the first time since 2007 the Fairfield University women’s soccer team has opened Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play with consecutive wins, defeating host Loyola University Maryland 2-1 this afternoon in Baltimore, Md. The victory improves the Stags to 5-3-2 on the year and 2-0 in league play, while the Greyhounds fall to 5-4-3 overall and 1-1-0 against MAAC foes.
All of the scoring came in the first-half, with the Stags scoring multiple goals in the same half for the first time this season. Ashley Small put the Stags ahead 16:24 into the contest, accepting a pass from Carly Beyar and beating Loyola keeper Didi Haracic low and to the right. It was Beyar’s second assist of the weekend, having fed Jac Lay for the game-winner on Friday night at Rider.
The Greyhounds answered that tally at the 29:30 mark as Jenny Thorton drove a ball into the top left corner from 30-yards out. The game remained tied for only 67 seconds until Erin Pettersen tallied her first collegiate goal. Jessica Broadbent played a ball into the box that Pettersen headed into the back of the net.
Kathleen Early and the Stags defense did the rest. Early, now 2-0 against MAAC opponents, finished the game with six saves, three coming in each half. Both teams had 11 shots in the game, and the Greyhounds and a 4-1 advantage in corner kick chances, but Fairfield did not allow the equalizing tally. Haracic finished with four saves in net for Loyola.
The Stags opened MAAC play with consecutive victories in 2007, also winning both games on the road, with defeats of Canisius, 2-1, and Niagara, 6-0. That 2007 campaign saw the Stags begin league play with three straight wins, opening home play that year with a 2-0 victory over Siena. The 2-0 start marks the 13th time that the Stags have won the first two league games of a season.
Fairfield, which has not played at home since September 7, returns to action on Friday, October 5 when it hosts Niagara at 7 p.m. on Lessing Field. The Stags are one of three unbeaten teams in MAAC play following the opening weekend, and are tied atop the conference standings with Marist, with six points apiece.