Men's soccer earns split in conference opening weekend
As the calendar flipped to October, the Marist men's soccer team's focus flipped towards the start of conference play. The Red Foxes began their conference schedule at home, coming away with three of a possible six points, losing 1-0 against Manhattan on Friday before rebounding against St. Peters on Sunday with a 3-1 victory.
The Red Foxes weekend started on a negative, after falling to Manhattan. Marist was dominant in shots, corner kicks and possession, but were unable to match a 32nd minute goal from Manhattan midfielder Reese Akers, who buried a corner kick from striker Eugene Heerschap.
Marist finished with 21 shots on the evening, but was unable to bury one into the Manhattan net.
Junior Evan Southworth had the first chance on target of the night, testing Manhattan keeper George Ellis in the seventh minute with a header. Senior Stephan Brossard tested Ellis twice and junior Evan Davis tested Ellis once himself in the next four minutes looking for the opening tally, but the keeper denied all three shots shots, the latter on a diving save off of a close range effort.
Following the Manhattan opener, Marist had five more shots before the end of the half, but could not find the target with any as they hit the locker rooms trailing 1-0.
The Red Foxes best opportunity came in the 74th minute when a Brossard shot rang back out off of the crossbar, denying the Red Foxes of their deserving equalizer. Marist again tested the Manhattan goal in the 84th minute courtesy of an Anthony Rozmus free kick, but the senior's effort was again denied by Ellis.
"When you outshoot a team 21-12, and dominate the possession you have to find a way to score," Marist head coach Matt Viggiano said. If you give a team like that life and we talked about it before the game that every minute that Manhattan wasn't losing was a victory for them."
The Red Foxes came into Sunday's game knowing they faced a must win situation, with the prospect of dropping the opening two games of conference play at home being a crippling potential reality. When they took the field on Sunday, however, Marist found an intensity that they had lacked on Friday, and came away with a 3-1 victory.
"I think with the loss we just really had to refocus and concentrate on what we needed to do better," said Marist junior Matty Berman. "We would've liked to have that first one under our belts, but with our backs against the wall we realized it was win or pretty much go home."
Marist peppered the St. Peters net with shots right from the get go as Brossard, Rozmus and Davis all tested the keeper early. Marist was finally able to opening the scoring in the 32nd minute, as Southworth headed home a Brossard corner, putting the Red Foxes ahead 1-0.
Brossard doubled the lead at the 44 minute mark as his incredible hustle allowed him to chase down a long ball from sophomore Dylan Lee, which he beat St. Peters keeper Diego Mendoza to, and he headed it over the charging keeper into the net for the 2-0 advantage.
St. Peters drew one back after the break putting one past Marist keeper Anthony Sokalski in the 56th minute to close the gap to 2-1. Marist finally iced things in the 86th minute, with an insurance goal from sophomore forward Nick Bramall, setting the score at the final of 3-1.
Brossard led the scoring charge with a goal and an assist, for a three point effort, while Sokalski had a strong game between the pipes, finishing with seven saves.
"I think we came out with a much better attitude than we did against Manhattan," Viggiano said. "We came out ready to fight right from the opening whistle and I think that's why we got over the hump."
The Red Foxes are next in action this coming weekend, when they take to the road for the first time in this young MAAC season. Marist is away against Loyola in a 7PM on Friday night, before traveling to Rider for a 1PM tilt on Sunday.
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