Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – Intensity is a word the Marist Men’s Soccer team likes to use to describe their style of play. In the playoffs, everything is taken up a notch, and the Red Foxes were able to elevate their game on Sunday night and defeat Saint Peter’s 1-0 in the MAAC Quarterfinals.
On the win, Marist sophomore Allen Gavilanes and lone goal scorer said, “It just goes to show that we can play for the whole game with the same intensity.” The Red Foxes showed that tenacity, pressing up the field and giving Saint Peter’s little time or space to operate.
The first half was relatively even, neither team with any massive chances. Marist had more control of the game, but both sides exchanged a handful of shots and possession. Head coach Matt Viggiano was still confident in his side coming out of the break, saying, “We just felt like if we continue to play and make them have to defend that eventually we were going to break them down.”
The Gavilanes goal came just two minutes and four seconds into the second half proved that to be true. He controlled the ball and fired to the keeper’s right to bury the first playoff goal of his career.
The New Jersey native was the pinnacle of the Marist offense on the night, pressing, possessing, passing at the right times, and taking defenders on in the right areas. His performance propelled the Red Foxes to their first playoff win at Tenney Stadium, and to their first MAAC Semifinal appearance since 2011.
That Semifinal opponent on Thursday is Quinnipiac. They will be facing off for a shot at a Conference Championship game, which Marist has not reached in Viggiano’s time as Marist’s Head Coach. The last time Marist won a Quarterfinal game was a 2011 triumph over Niagara on penalty kicks. That team then went on to fall to eventual-champion Fairfield in the next round.
The 2018 Red Foxes do not plan on falling to the same fate.
“We felt we were on the wrong end of some results that we thought we should have got, so we’re looking forward to going up there and giving it our best shot,” said Viggiano on playing Quinnipiac. His team suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss just eight days ago at the hands of the Bobcats, and they want revenge.
Only time will tell if the Red Foxes can bring the same intensity to Hamden as they did tonight, and if they can do what a Marist Men’s Soccer team has not done in 13 years – play in the MAAC Championship game.
Edited by Marco Schaden