Quinnipiac men’s soccer tops Fairfield

Brent Sanchez

The Quinnipiac men’s soccer team took down the Fairfield University Stags at QU Soccer Field on Wednesday afternoon by a score of 2-0. Bobcats junior goalkeeper Borja Angoitia picked up a clean sheet in his return from injury and senior captain Brandon Strain-Goode scored the deciding goal to lift Quinnipiac to 5-1-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and 7-4-4 overall.

The Bobcats were able to get back on track after a tough loss against Monmouth on Saturday. Quinnipiac applied pressure early and often, controlling possession in the first half. It finally broke through when Strain-Goode received a perfectly-placed pass from sophomore Tobi Esche and smoothly flicked the ball over Fairfield goalkeeper Joe Martin’s head to give the Bobcats an early lead.

It was just the first goal of the season for Strain-Goode, who is still familiarizing himself with his role after moving from defense to midfield this season.

“It’s my first season playing center-mid so I’ve been getting a lot more comfortable playing my defensive role like I’m supposed to in front of the defense, and now moving forward,” Strain-Goode said.

Despite that fact that Fairfield is just a short drive down the I-95, this was the first ever meeting between the two teams. They got to know each other pretty well throughout the contest, trading elbows and tackles in a game marked by aggressiveness.

Fairfield certainly responded well to the Quinnipiac goal, but was not able capitalize on chance after chance in the second half. The Stags fired eight second half shots but couldn’t get anything past the sure-hands of Angoitia, who was sidelined with an injury for the past two weeks.

“Borja is one of the leaders of the team from the back and we always can count on him,” Strain-Goode said. “He’s really reliable player.”

As the clock ticked down, the Bobcats were able to create a little breathing room for the back four. Senior midfielder Simon Hinde’s strike in the 82nd minute provided the Quinnipiac defense with some insurance. After receiving a header from midfielder Sam Nicol, Hinde smashed home a volley to put the game out of reach and ensure his team sole possession of second place in the MAAC.

The points were arguably more valuable to Fairfield, who may now be on the outside looking in when they host the MAAC Championships in two weeks. Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa knew that the Stags would be pressing for a win on Wednesday.

“We knew that they were going to press and put balls forward and put us under pressure because they had to,” Da Costa said. “We knew that was coming and we had to weather that storm.”

The Bobcats will take the field again on Saturday against Saint Peter’s at 2 p.m. This will be Quinnipiac’s final home game of the season, and the senior members of team will be honored during the match.