Foxes shutout UNH in home opener
After a tough road trip that yielded four consecutive losses, the Marist Red Foxes men's soccer team picked up its first win of the season, a 2-0 victory over the New Hampshire Wildcats on Saturday Sept. 14. A crowd of 446 braved overcast weather for the Foxes' 2013 home opener, their fifth win in their past six Poughkeepsie debuts.
Sophomore Steven Arraiano tallied the game-winning goal while junior Nick Bramall put one in minutes later.
Goalkeeper Anthony Sokalski made eight saves in the shutout victory.
Head coach Matt Viggiano is pleased that his team finally has their first win under their belt.
"To get the first win off your back, especially at home, is an especially big deal for your team," Viggiano said. "I think it was deserved, and it helps us to move on for the rest of the season."
Viggiano was especially pleased with the play of Sokalski, who notched his fourth career shutout.
"[Anthony] continued to do a great job," Viggiano said. "He's been our MVP thus far."
Sokalski, a 2012 transfer from Binghamton has impressed this season with a 1.60 goals against average in his second season with the team. He also leads the MAAC with 31 saves.
"I have to do my part in the back," Sokalski said. "The guys in front of me have tried so hard to get goals for me and it's important to not let them down. It took a couple of games but it finally came together, which is huge, especially at home."
While the Foxes did not score a goal in their first four games, Arraiano broke through for the Foxes in the 66th minute of Saturday's game. Seven minutes later, Bramall put the Wildcats out of reach with a clinching goal.
"We were on a four game losing streak [on the road]," Arraiano said. "So coming home and getting the win in front of our fans was a pretty big deal for us. We got the momentum and hope it will carry over into our upcoming games."
The Red Foxes didn't pick up any wins or goals on their road trip, but the players brought silver linings forward, labeling the trip as a learning experience.
"It's important mainly for the experience to gain on and move on forward in the MAAC," said Arraiano, pointing out that the Foxes' first opponent UC Irvine tied Indiana after their Marist encounter. The Hoosiers won the NCAA men's soccer championship last season.
"We have to learn and to play on the road," Viggiano said. "It's tough especially on a banged up team like us."
Viggiano noted that the team is missing several scholarship players due to injury. To put things in perspective, he mentioned that in the team's 2-0 loss to Army on Sept. 11, the Foxes were only 12 players deep, in contrast to the Black Knights, who used 20 players. Viggiano, however, is confident his team can pick up the slack.
"We'll find a way to gut through things," he said. "That's the mark of a good team, to go show strength in adversity. Hopefully [this trip] will prepare for the MAAC and help cope with the places."
After their season opening road trip, the Foxes will enjoy a mini-homestand, with Hartford and Sacred Heart coming to Poughkeepsie on Tuesday and Saturday of this week. The Foxes finish out their non-conference slate on the road against Brown before starting the MAAC portion of the schedule on the road against Rider on Oct. 5. The home MAAC slate kicks off Oct. 9 against Canisius.
"I thought particularly in the second half we were starting to find our identity against New Hampshire," Viggiano said. "We played the game we like to play by moving the ball around and playing very unselfishly. Obviously we talk about not losing games at home, protecting our house and all that other fun stuff. It's home where you find your identity and where you gain the confidence to go out and win on the road."
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