Men's Soccer Falls at #20 NC State
Despite a valiant effort against a nationally ranked foe, the Marist men's soccer team fell to North Carolina State by a 3-1 score line. A goal from junior midfielder Evan Southworth in the 29th minute knotted the score for the Red Foxes at one, but the Wolfpack showed why they were ranked 20th in the nation as the came back with two more goals of their own for the victory.
NC State got off to a quick start, getting all over the Red Foxes right from the opening kickoff. Marist goalkeeper Anthony Sokalski was able to keep the game scoreless early on, making two early saves, but the Wolfpack broke through in the sixteenth minute with the opening tally. The Red Foxes were then able to level in the 29th minute on Southworth's goal. Sophomore Matty Berman hit a free kick into the box which Southworth headed past the NC State keeper for his second goal on the season.
Southworth's offensive performance with the Red Foxes is a welcomed addition, to go along with his already steady work ethic and defensive play. Coach Matt Viggiano attributes Southworth's performances as of late to his soccer intangibles and effort on the pitch.
"It's the same thing that he's brought to us defensively and that's an unbelievable work ethic," Viggiano said. "He's always in constant motion and seems to be at the right place at the right time, especially on free kicks."
The Marist lead was short lived, however, as the Wolfpack struck just forty seconds later to take a 2-1 lead, which they would maintain into the break. Coming out of the locker room down just one goal, Marist was able to create several chances in the second half but were unable to bury a goal. The Red Foxes outshot NC State by a 5-2 margin in the second 45 minutes of play, they could not find the back of the net before the Wolfpack added an insurance marker in the 85th minute for the final 3-1 score line.
"[Playing NC State], it's two fold," Viggiano said. "It prepares us for the MAAC, playing against that kind of competition, and it gives our guys idea where they're at. Playing against the best in the country is great preparation for a possible NCAA game if we advance there. As a mid-major, we would have to go play somewhere like that in a first round game."
The Red Foxes fall to 2-3 with the defeat, while the Wolfpack remain undefeated at 6-0. Marist is coming off of a MAAC semi-final appearance last season, with a dynamic offensive roster. After losing players like Krystian Witkowski to the MLS Draft, Lucas Szabo to graduation and Matt Wendelken to transfer, Marist is facing a situation of replacing a great deal of individual talent. Coach Viggiano feels that it will take a group effort to offset the loss of those players, but feels as a unit the talent is there.
"It will definitely be a group effort [to replace Witkowski]," Viggiano said. "We were missing two of our better players, Hill and Davis, who was the leading scorer at Providence last year, and haven't had our full eleven all on the field at once yet. It's some bad luck and if we get healthy for MAAC's we have a very good group.
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