Brossard leads men's soccer to undefeated weekend
Despite traveling south to participate in the Radford Invitational, the Marist men's soccer team's record continued to move north as the Red Foxes came away with a win and a draw this past weekend.
The Red Foxes earned a 2-2 draw with Radford on Friday night, before stomping UNC Ashville by a 4-0 score line on Sunday afternoon. With the two results, the Red Foxes moved to 3-3-1 on the season, evening up their record in non-conference play.
Friday night started off slowly for Marist, with Radford seizing control of play right off of the opening kickoff. After the Highlanders started off the action with the first four shots of the game, including one on target which was denied by Marist goalkeeper Anthony Sokalski, the Red Foxes got a spark from a familiar source. Stephan Brossard, Marist's leading scorer in 2011, buried his first goal of the season off of an assist from midfielder Wes Finch.
Radford would not go down easily, however, and the Highlanders netted the next two goals to put themselves in front 2-1 at the halftime break. Radford held an 8-3 advantage in shots at the break, but the Red Foxes came out flying in the second half.
After being denied with two scoring chances in the opening third of the second half, Brossard once again brought his high skill level to the pitch, burying his second of the match, this time in the 62nd minute, to knot the score at two. Brossard's return to full strength in the lineup was something that the Red Foxes had desperately needed in the beginning part of their season. His scoring touch stunted the offense to the high level that is expected of the Red Foxes this season.
"We missed [Brossard] those first couple of games, no doubt about it," Marist head coach Matt Viggiano said. "He's a special player, especially at the collegiate level because he can score goals and not a lot of teams in the country have that kind of threat."
Marist was able to continue the pressure on the Highlanders throughout the second half and into overtime, but they could not find the winner and the game finished level at 2-2. Sokalski made four saves total, including a huge stop with less than ten seconds to play in the final overtime period. Brossard led the team in goals and shots, with two and seven respectively.
"He just brings another dimension, whereas instead of us always having to create goals and work really hard, which we have to do anyways, he just has the ability to beat a guy at any time one on one and really score from anywhere on the field," Viggiano said. "Just having him back is huge."
The Red Foxes then took on UNC Ashville in their second tournament game, where they came out with a vengeance, scoring three times in the first 31 minutes en route to a 4-0 victory.
Junior Evan Southworth opened the scoring in the 12th minute, when he headed home a corner kick from sophomore Matty Berman to give Marist a 1-0 lead. Brossard would continue his hot form when he doubled the lead to 2-0 with a goal just over three minutes later, off of an assist from Simon Laugsand.
Laugsand would deposit a shot of his own in the back of the net in the 31st minute when he headed Josh Faga's cross to give the Red Foxes a commanding 3-0 lead. Finch would add an insurance marker in the 78th minute, as Brossard added his first assist of the weekend, which capped the score at a 4-0 final.
"I think in the past we might have struggled with a team that was somewhat inferior to us talent wise, but we came out and made a statement," Viggiano said. "We were up 3-0 at halftime and maybe should have been five or six, so I was very proud of our guys. They showed some maturity."
For the game, Laugsand and Brossard led the team with a goal and an assist apiece. Brossard compiled an impressive three goals and one assist on the weekend, for a seven-point tournament.
"I've been struggling with some injuries lately, so to get back out there and to feel good and get some goals is a great feeling, especially to get one important win and four points out of the six is not too bad," Brossard said.
The Red Foxes performance in the tournament saw them as one of two unbeaten teams, joining Marshall, who Marist did not play. The Thundering Herd finished with two wins, putting them ahead of Marist by two points in the tournament standings, but nonetheless, the undefeated weekend was a huge stride for the Red Foxes.
"It was the first time all year where we actually put the same eleven out there to start two games in a row," Viggiano said. "I think we're starting to find that camaraderie and I think that all plays into what happens on the field. It was really nice to finally start to get that flow and some substitution patterns and things like that which definitely helped."
A look ahead on the Red Foxes' schedule sees the Red Foxes hosting Yale this coming Sunday, before traveling to Adelphi the following weekend. For Brossard and his teammates, the game against Yale has a little bit more meaning than a normal non-conference game, after last year's 7-0 loss to the Bulldogs left a bitter taste in their mouths.
"This weekend was important for all of us, because it was a big confidence booster," Brossard said. "Now, we're feeling good and especially with the next game, we have a little payback to be given to Yale so I think it's going to be a good run for us."
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