Poughkeepsie, N.Y. –– 16 games played throughout the season, and it came down to just one to decide if Marist Men’s Soccer would live or die. With Saint Peter’s, Manhattan, and Rider nipping at the heels of the Red Foxes, they needed a win to secure the third seed and guarantee passage to the MAAC tournament.
Head Coach Matt Viggiano’s team came out hungry for their postseason spot and were firing on all cylinders. “We had the majority of possession, obviously a ton of chances. We did our jobs today so overall I was pleased with the way we played,” said Viggiano. He thought the first half went their way and that his team attacked and possessed well. Yet, Viggiano said his squad played even better in the second half.
By the final whistle, the shot total was 30 to 5 in favor of the home side, as they spent the vast majority of time in the attacking third. Though just three shots in the first half made it on target, a precise ball from sophomore Allen Gavilanes allowed junior Samad Bounthong to score a tap-in from the six-yard box for the lead.
Senior Juan Parada and sophomore Justin Jaime also found the back of the net in the second half to put the game away.
With the 3-0 win, the Red Foxes have bounced back after a nightmare 2017 campaign in which they finished 3-6-1 and failed to make the playoffs. After a much improved 2018, the Red Foxes find themselves with a home playoff game in the first round.
Bounthong, a junior, spoke about what it means to him to be back in the playoffs. “A couple years ago we were in the same spot, we were home for the quarterfinals and we lost a really important game. But this year, we know what to do now.”
The team and their coach have high expectations, and they well should. The Red Foxes host Saint Peter’s this Sunday at Tenney Stadium – a team that they beat 2-0 on the road earlier this season. Viggiano is confident going into his fifth MAAC tournament as a head coach. “We wanted to go in with a win, we didn’t want to back in… We finally scored some goals when we’ve been struggling to score the last few games.”
Viggiano also recognizes his team’s achievement, securing their best ever finish. “We’ve never finished higher than third, but this is the most points we’ve ever had in the conference.” The Red Foxes will look to make more history, playing in just the second home playoff game ever at Marist.
Edited by Marco Schaden