POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.— The Men’s soccer team fought a long, grueling battle against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers Friday night. Though the scoreline was empty at the end of the game, the 110 minutes of play were far from it.
The first half opened with neither team being able to grab hold of the game. Possession was generally neutral with few threatening chances for either squads. As the first 45 minutes wore on, however, Marist grew into the game and found space to play down the sidelines.
Penn was lucky to escape to halftime without conceding after a barrage of Marist crosses, set pieces, and opportunities.
The Red Foxes came out firing in the second half. Various chances were created from the wings through junior Marcus Ginman, sophomore Allen Gavilanes and junior Samad Bounthong. A slew of corner kicks also backed the Quakers against the ropes.
But Coach Matt Viggiano’s men just couldn’t find the knockout punch.
“We played extremely well. Had plenty of chances to score,” he said. “I think it was very one sided. You hope to find a way, so I’m a little disappointed for the guys, really.”
14 minutes into the second half, redshirt junior Cameron Harr was played in from a great pass over the top. Harr was able to sneak between the two central defenders but his touch was just too hard and was collected by the Penn keeper.
Freshman Skylar Conway nearly broke the deadlock for the Red Foxes in the 66th minute, going one-on-one with the keeper from the side of the net. His efforts got him only so far as to see his shot blocked by the keeper, as well as his rebound attempt.
A flurry of Red Fox chances before the horn sounded couldn’t find the back of the net, and the game was sent to overtime.
About a minute into the second half of OT, Penn midfielder Jerel Blades crumbled to the ground after being hit in the face by a Marist clearance. Blades was motionless on the field for some time, and then eventually helped off to the bench.
Not the knockout punch anyone was looking for.
An ambulance arrived and was tending to Blades even after the final whistle. The remainder of overtime played out uneventfully for the most part.
Marist got the bitter end of the scoreless draw on the night, but overall it was a positive result against what Viggiano called a “good defensive team.” Viggiano acknowledged the lack of finishing as a frustrating part of the game. 21 shots compared to the visitors’ seven is a tough pill to swallow for any team.
“We’re going to have to figure out a way to break teams down,” he said.
Viggiano knows there will be more teams difficult to score against in the conference, and addressed his mission for the rest of the season.
“Now it’s all about three points and getting results,” he said.
It’s a straightforward message to deliver to his team as they prepare for MAAC play beginning on Sept. 26 at Saint Peter’s University.