Men's Soccer Posts 3-1 Win Over UMass Lowell
The Fairfield University men's soccer team extended its winning streak to three games following its 3-1 victory over UMass Lowell at Lessing Field on Tuesday night. Three different Stags scored in the game, including Martin Lindgren who scored his second collegiate goal to put the game out of reach in the 51st minute.
For Head Coach Carl Rees, the way that the Stags responded to his challenge was even more reason to be satisfied with the non-conference win. Before the game, Rees stood in the locker room and challenged his team to get off to a quick start. In the previous four games, Fairfield started slowly before picking up the pace in the second half. Tonight, he wanted to see his team more energized in the opening half.
"I put the challenge out to the team to start quickly tonight," Rees said after the game. "It was a credit to the guys to get two quick goals early in the game and rise to that challenge I issued before the game."
A quick start is saying it modestly as Fairfield scored two goals on its first two shots in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Less than two minutes had expired before Jake Zuniga stood over the ball for the team's first corner kick. He delivered the ball into the center of the box where Dan Shaw was able to redirect the cross and turn the pass into the team's first goal.
About nine minutes later, Fairfield turned a broken play into a scoring opportunity. A pass back to the goalkeeper fell short of the mark, forcing Joe Martin to come out of the box and play the ball. He sent the ball over the River Hawks defense onto the foot of Jordan Ayris. The sophomore took one step with the ball and sent a cross to Reco McLaren, who found free space at the top of the box. He released a shot that beat goalkeeper Chris Maierle to the far post to double the deficit at 2-0 in the 11th minute.
"Reco has been electric over the last two games," Rees said. "He has sparked our offense with two goals and an assist over the last two games and his play has helped us get back in the flow offensively."
The River Hawks also had their chances in the first half, most of which came from the play making ability of Homero Morais. The senior put three shots on goal in an eight-minute span, two of which called for a diving stop from Martin. The third opportunity was perhaps the best, but Martin was fully extended to the near post to keep the visitors off the scoreboard. By the end of the half, UMass Lowell had equaled Fairfield's shot total as both teams went into the locker room with five shots each.
In the second half, Fairfield took Coach Rees' challenge to heart again by scoring a goal just six minutes into the half. This time, defender Martin Lindgren was responsible for the opportunity. He collected the ball near midfield and sent a shot from about 30 yards away that drifted over the goalkeeper's head and into the back of the net in the 51st minute.
UMass Lowell finally broke through in the 63rd minute when Morais set up Kevin Zapata just outside the box. Morais brought the ball into the box but was smothered by the Stags' defense. He sent the ball back out where Zapata made a cut toward the ball and one-timed a shot that caught the far corner of the goal. The score also ended Martin's scoreless minutes streak at 266, the first goal he allowed since yielding a second-half goal against Northeastern on September 7.
Fairfield will play the second of three straight home games on Saturday night when it hosts LIU Brooklyn at 7:30 pm. The game is part of a doubleheader as the women's soccer team will host Marist College in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) game at 5 pm. Both contests will take place at Lessing Field.
Above: Dan Shaw