Two days after settling for a draw with Bermudian Springs, Fairfield earned its way back into the win column with a 2-0 decision over Delone Catholic in YAIAA-3 girls soccer action Saturday afternoon at Utz Field in Hanover.
Fairfield (6-0-1) has been known for its explosive offense in recent seasons, but has topped four goals just twice so far this year. Saturday’s match was the third time that the Knights have posted a shutout.
“We feel like we have a very strong defense this season,” Fairfield head coach Owen Phelan said. “We want to build our attack from the back.”
Delone (3-5) managed just one shot on goal, a long distance try by Sarah Swingler less than five minutes into the match.
“Fairfield is very strong in the back and their center back (Honey Strosnider) is the key to it,” Delone assistant coach Tim Swingler said. “She controls things back there to the point that I moved our best striker out to the wing in the first half to try to get her more touches.”
The Knights had a slow start on the attack, registering their first shot when Emma Dennison went at goal with 30:04 to play in the opening half.
She was denied by Squirette keeper Kallie Gilbart, but her second chance was on the money with 20:54 to go until intermission.
Dennison’s strike came from 25 yards out following a drop pass from Naia Roberts. She took two touches and left fly to the top left corner.
“I saw an opening and planted it in the corner,” Dennison said.
Sophomore Paige Yourkins doubled the visitors’ advantage when she cleaned up a rebound off a shot by Lily Harlacher with 12:19 remaining in the first half.
Harlacher’s shot was deflected by Gilbart, but Yourkins beat her to the ball and buried it.
Fairfield, which finished Thursday’s match down five starters, got four of them back for Saturday’s tilt.
“We talked about needing to play better,” Phelan said. “But mainly, playing smarter and more disciplined. We connected our passes really well today.”
Dennison added, “That tie showed us that we had to play better and I thought we did so today.”
Gilbart, a junior, gobbled up both Fairfield shots in the second half, as neither team could find the net in the final 52 minutes of the match.
“Kallie is a talented keeper and she’s improved since last season,” Swingler said. “But mostly, she’s gotten more consistent. Last year, she would have good games and bad games, but she’s had mostly good games this year.”
Delone suited up just 12 players for the match, having just one substitute available.
“We’re really short on players — we only have 15 on the roster,” Swingler said. “A lot of the girls played the entire game and I’m really proud of them.”
Fairfield posted a 6-1 advantage in shots on goal and an 11-3 edge in corners. Though Swingler was pleased with how his side defended against the corners.
“They scored twice off of corners the first time we faced them and it’s been an issue all season,” he said. “We’ve worked on our technique of defending against them and did a good job today.”
Follow Tom Sixeas on Twitter at @TomSixeas
Fairfield 2 0 — 2
Delone Catholic 0 0 — 0
First Half: F-Emma Dennison (Naia Roberts), 20:54; F-Paige Yourkins (Lily Harlacher), 12:19. Shots: F-6; DC-1. Corners: F-11, DC-3. Saves: F-Sophie Orndorff (1); DC-Kallie Gilbart (4)