Men's Soccer Leads Nation in Shutout Percentage
It would be tough to argue that Fairfield University men’s soccer team does not have one of the top defenses in the nation. With the Stags ranked in the top six in three defensive categories, Head Coach Carl Rees has compiled a unit that has registered 11 shutouts in 15 games. The team is one of four programs nationally to have a double-digit shutout total, joining Syracuse (11), Cornell (10), and Michigan State (10).
The defense will once again be tested on Wednesday night when the Stags host Iona College in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) match up at Lessing Field. Game time is slated for 7 pm.
“The collective defending of our entire team has been exceptional,” Head Coach Carl Rees said. “The back four defenders and goalkeeper will enjoy the plaudits as they should, however, it is a team effort based on compactness, player concentration and hard work. The players study the individual habits and small group patterns of play and set pieces of our opponents. Through match analysis we can prepare our team thoroughly regarding what to expect come game time. Javier Decima works with our goalkeepers and has been a major reason for their success. “
Fairfield leads the nation in team shutout percentage at 0.73 with 11 shutouts in 15 matches. And, the program places fourth in team save percentage (0.864) and sixth in team goals against average at 0.50. In the middle of the success is goalkeeper Matt Turner, who has been in goal for all 11 clean sheets. The junior owns a 0.50 goals against average which places fifth in Division I, while his .884 save percentage is fourth in the nation.
More importantly, the Stags are poised to earn a berth in the MAAC tournament in mid-November. The team is currently tied for the top spot in the standings with Iona, Quinnipiac, and Rider. All four teams have 15 points with Iona and Quinnipiac having one game in hand. After the Iona game, the Stags will host Quinnipiac on November 5 at 7 pm.
Playing at home has been good for the Stags in 2014, posting a 3-0-2 mark in their five outings. The primary reason for the team’s success at home is the defensive effort put forth. Coach Rees has witnessed his team allow just two goals in those five games, both of which came against Manhattan. Turner has posted a shutout in four of his five starts at Lessing Field this year.