Quinnipiac stays flawless at home with chippy 3-2 win vs. Fairfield

Connor Youngberg

The Quinnipiac men’s soccer team is now 5-0 in their home stadium this season, as they defeated the Fairfield Stags 3-2 in an energetic MAAC matchup on Saturday afternoon.

For the first time this season, the Bobcats hosted a MAAC opponent, and it showed, as players on both teams were getting into it early. In the first 10 minutes of the game, Quinnipiac defenseman João Pinto and Fairfield forward Raz Amir each received yellow cards following an altercation. 

Just a few minutes later, Stags defenseman Juan Pablo Leano tripped up Quinnipiac midfielder Alexander Stjernegaard, which led to Stjernegaard standing over Leano and yelling in frustration.

“He has a different mentality and he brings a different competitiveness,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said about Stjernegaard. “He wants to compete, he wants to win and he’ll do anything, including probably bite his mother in the ear, to get it done.”

The Bobcats were the first team to score as defenseman and midfielder Domen Bozic scored his first goal of the season less than twenty minutes into the contest. 

After their first goal, Quinnipiac thought they scored another when forward David Bercedo took a shot that hit the crossbar and landed right in front of the net, where Fairfield goalkeeper James Anderson retained possession. Bercedo leads the Bobcats in goals and points but was relatively quiet in this game.

Fairfield tied up the game at 1-1 when Stags forward Thomas Drillien scored a goal from inside the box. A Fairfield player lifted their leg up above their head to try to make a play on the ball, but the referee did not call a high kick. This led to Da Costa fuming on the sidelines.

When discussing the no-call after the game, Da Costa said, “I’ll let you be the one to make that decision, but you look like a guy who eats his carrots.”

Quinnipiac earned back the lead in the second half when Stjernegaard scored his fourth goal of the season following a Bobcats corner kick to make it a 2-1 game. Defenseman Jared Smith was credited with his fourth assist of the season, which is the second best for the Bobcats.

Shortly after the goal, the chippiness continued. Pinto tripped a Fairfield player and was awarded his second yellow card, resulting in a red card and leading to his removal from the game. This forced Quinnipiac to play nearly thirty minutes with just 10 men on the field.

Fairfield took advantage of their extra man, equalizing the game with a volley from midfielder Alex Oliveira that sneaked past the far side of Quinnipiac goalkeeper Karl Netzell. Amir and defenseman Lenni Mierow were credited with assists.

The Bobcats wasted no time breaking the tie, as Stjernegaard found midfielder and forward Jason Budhai using his elite pace to outrun the Fairfield defense. He got the ball and kicked it past the keeper to score his third goal of the season and give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead.

Despite playing down one man for the rest of the game, Quinnipiac managed to prevent the Stags from scoring another goal, with a couple of great clearances by forward Sam McCann and defenseman Sander Sonsterud, who made his first career start after sitting out all of last year with an injury.

“It’s been a long way to get my first start, but I’m just so happy I can help the team,” Sonsterud said after the game.

Quinnipiac will look to remain undefeated at home, as they face another MAAC opponent, the Marist Red Foxes, in Hamden on Wednesday.