This game was also important to me because of Kevin Anderson, the head coach of Columbia. When I was a junior in high school, Coach Anderson was the assistant coach at Boston College. He was my coach for one of the prospective college camps I went to during that summer. At the end of the camp, Coach Anderson gave myself and all the other players an evaluation of our ability. That evaluation still hangs on my wall, where he had circled Division 3 substitute as the level he thought I was best suited to play at.
Even though I had started games in the spring and played 70+ minutes against Boston College, this was going to be the first game I’d ever started for Fairfield U. It was a perfect evening for a game, with a slight breeze and a clear sky. Although school had been pushed back until the next week because of Hurricane Irene, there was still a decent crowd of supporters at the match. We started off jittery, not calm and composed as we had against Boston College. I don’t know if it was because we were nervous playing at home for the first time, or if we just weren’t prepared for the game. Columbia pressed us really high up the pitch and didn’t allow us to build out of the back at all. Their best chance to score came when a pass between our two center backs was intercepted and then eventually cleared off the line by Jonny Raj. We still managed to string together a handful of passes and could have gone up 1-0 off a corner, but a Columbia player cleared the ball off the line.
Unlike Boston College when we went down a goal and responded with an equalizer, I think we panicked from the pressure of knowing we were expected to win at home. We suddenly forgot to play to feet and began to play everything over the top. With the slick grass, all these passes went straight to the Columbia goalkeeper. For the rest of the game, we struggled to create any chances except from corners. Columbia came in with a solid game plan and executed it well. We never really did enough to say we deserved to win the game.
Our team is currently getting ready to play Northeastern on Saturday night. We missed two games this past weekend against Hartwick and Robert Morris due to severe rain in New York, so it will have been two weeks since our last game. Hopefully we are able to go up to Boston and this time come back with a good result.