Fisher Catholic disrupted the normally potent passing of Fairfield Union, applied consistent pressure and took advantage of two first half goals in a 3-0 win Thursday.
“We just focused on our passing and made sure we kept pushing the ball up top and got the ball to the forwards,” Irish coach Rickie Thaboune said. “Have our midfielders win the ball and counterattack.”
Fisher Catholc was able to consistently win the ball despite an obvious size advantage for the Falcons. The lack of physical play from Fairfield Union left coach Shane Perdew disappointed in what he said was an uncharacteristic performance.
“Our claim to fame is being a blue-collar team, we’re physical,” he said. “We were not that tonight. We tried to play too much individual, pretty soccer (rather) than smart, quick touches.”
As the Falcons (7-4) were having difficulty being physical, the Irish (9-3) were benefitting from strong first-half runs from Eli Frazier. The junior twice got behind the defense on through balls and was able to draw Fairfield Union’s goalkeeper out and slip slow-rolling, finesse shots into the net.
Frazier first scored on a pass from Ben Smith with 11:37 left in the half and doubled up on a ball from Zach Dryden at the 6:39 mark. In fewer than five minutes, the game went from a scoreless tie to a 2-0 Fisher Catholic lead.
“We’ve been doing a lot better this season with finding balls through,” Frazier said. “I think (the Falcons) just left some gaps open and our midfield did a great job of seeing the gaps and using them to our advantage.”
Those through balls were a result of a near-constant attack by the Irish. Thaboune said he entered the game wanting to disrupt the Falcons passing by pushing the ball and forcing Fairfield Union to play in transition.
“We normally come out and set the tempo, and we didn’t,” Perdew said. “We let them get on us and we were constantly fighting back. We are not a top transition team, we set the tempo and let somebody try to guard us.”
The best chances Fairfield Union was able to generate came from the hands of Ben Hultz. The senior was able to place 13 throws in the box.
“That was their most dangerous weapon for sure,” Fisher Catholic junior Nick Klitzka said.
The Irish finished off the scoring when Brice Quaintance connected on a rebound of a Ben Smith shot with 16:34 left in the game.