- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Two months ago, Erin Fahey wondered whether she even had a job. Tonight, Fahey starts in goal for the Washington Freedom in a crucial game against the Atlanta Beat at RFK Stadium.
Fahey makes her season debut in place of starter Siri Mullinix. Mullinix fractured the fifth metacarpal of her left hand in Saturday's 4-1 win at the New York Power and is expected to be out 10 to 14 days.
Fahey missed a considerable portion of the early season with a hip flexor suffered in the preseason. As a result, the Freedom (5-5-3) jumped third-string goalkeeper Dawn Greathouse over Fahey in the depth chart. Greathouse started the Freedom's first five games but was waived May30. Greathouse, who went 2-3 with the Freedom, was picked up off waivers by the San Jose CyberRays.
"Oh yeah, for sure, because Dawn played really well in the preseason, but I was confident in my abilities," Fahey said about being concerned that she might lose her backup job. "It was just a matter of time before I got my form back. I was nervous that coaches weren't going to notice. I think I came back and made it known that I was ready."
Freedom coach Jim Gabarra said he was going to start Fahey in this game regardless of the competition. At 5-foot-8, Fahey is a big keeper and has performed well in the past against the Beat (6-5-1).
Last season, Fahey lost 2-1 to the Beat at RFK when a Beat player collided with her on a save attempt and forward Charmaine Hooper scored the game winner. In that game, Fahey recorded six saves her highest single-game total of the year.
"I think I played a good game, but in the second half with about 10 minutes left in the game, Hooper scored," Fahey said. "I think it was [Atlanta forward] Sun Wen crossing a ball and someone hit me from behind as I was catching it, and it kind of slopped in the goal. In my opinion, that was a foul. I think even [Atlanta coach] Tom Stone would have said it was a foul."
This will be Fahey's fourth career start. Gabarra likes Fahey's physical presence against perhaps the most physical squad in the league.
"[Faheys] history is that she is always prepared and can step into games," Gabarra said. "In all honesty, we were probably going to start her against Atlanta anyway just because of the physical matchup. She's taller, and they have [5-11] Cindy Parlow and [5-7] Hooper, big targets in the air. Fahey is better suited to deal with balls in the air. It was a game she was going to play anyway, and the timing with Siri could obviously be better, but we have this game and then a long break."
Fahey has big shoes to fill. Mullinix (3-3-3) leads the league in save percentage (81.0) and ranks second in goals-against-average (1.16).
"I'm not really worried about getting action. If they don't have a shot on goal, then I'm happy for our team because that means we played outstanding," Fahey said. "If I don't have to do anything, then great. If I have to? Then I hope I make the right save."
Note
There will be a fireworks display after tonight's game. It is also military appreciation night. All personnel who show military identification and purchase a ticket to the game will receive a free ticket. Other pre-game ceremonies include the Coast Guard's Silent Drill Team.


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