Fairfield Steals from Men’s Soccer in Overtime
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Lafayette men’s soccer team couldn’t close out its first win of the season on Monday evening at Fairfield as a penalty kick late in regulation sent it to extra time, where the Stags found the winner in the 94th minute.
The Leopards played well throughout the match, putting consistent pressure on the Fairfield defense for the full time. Lafayette’s lone goal came off the head of sophomore Chris Gomez, who opened up a scoreless game in the 78th minute. Working down the left side, junior Josh Koval found Gomez in the center of the box, who headed it back past Fairfield keeper Jack Robinson for the game’s first goal.
Momentum quickly swung to the home side, though, as the Stags eyed an equalizer. In the 84th minute, a foul in the Leopards’ defensive box was spotted, setting up a penalty-kick opportunity. Ben Wignall made no mistake, beating Lafayette senior goalkeeper Brian Ehrlich to his right to knot the game at one apiece.
Just over four minutes into the extra session, it was a counter attack that proved costly for the Maroon and White defense. Working around the outside of the box with Lafayette struggling to find its shape getting back defensively, Wignall found a cutting Don Junior-Bobe in prime position in front of goal, as his one-time volley beat Ehrlich for the game-winner.
The loss drops the Leopards to 0-3 on the young season, while Fairfield improves to 2-2. Ehrlich picks up his second loss, making three saves in defeat.
The Maroon and White opened the game well as the first two chances came off Leopard feet. A Gomez free kick in the opening minute sailed just over the crossbar above the left corner of the goal, while sophomore James Gibson got on the end of a corner in the 13th minute, but put his one-time volley just over the bar as well.
Starting the game between the pipes, senior keeper Brad Seeber was called upon in the 20th minute to cut down a 1v1 opportunity on his own net. The Charlotte, N.C. native was able to make the play, picking the ball off the Fairfield forward’s feet, but was injured in the process, forcing Ehrlich into relief duties.
Ehrlich was effective, though, making an excellent diving save to push a ball over the crossbar just before halftime to keep the game scoreless into the break.
It was all Lafayette for the majority of the second half as the Maroon and White dominated much of the play in the Fairfield defensive third. Just eight minutes out of the break, sophomore Ryan Goncalves side-stepped a defender and sent a shot on net that beat Robinson, but was saved off the line by a sliding Stag defender.
Twenty minutes later, though, Gomez’s breakthrough seemed to put the game in Lafayette control. Unfortunately, Fairfield was able to turn it on and win it in the extra session.
The Stags held the overall edge in shots by an 11-9 margin and corners were tied at five apiece. Seeber made one save prior to his exit and Gomez finished with three shots on goal to lead the offense.
The Leopards will look to get their first win on the board when they return to Oaks Stadium on Friday, hosting Fordham at 7 p.m.