The coldness in the air as one of the famous sunsets over Tenney Stadium commenced almost perfectly matched the coldness of the play between the Marist Red Foxes and Army Black Nights on Wednesday night. Physicality and high energy were the star players as Marist fell to Army 18-9.
Marist came into their first game of the season with high hopes coming off of a loss to Canisius College in the semifinal round of the MAAC Championships last season. Army started their season on high note, beating Iona 18-8 in their home opener. The one game warm-up may have been the difference.
Marist was able to open scoring later in the first half, however Army quickly responded with four unanswered goals, all coming less than two minutes apart. Marist was able to contribute four more in the first half, with junior attacker Samantha Mehalick racking up a hat trick, along with the Red Foxes initial scorer and sophomore midfielder Camille Renaud adding another. Army was also able to score three more goals totaling a hat trick from Samantha Stewart, two from Cameron Manor and a goal each for Manuela Cortes and Jackie Bratton.
The physicality was clear from the start with Marist senior defender Logan Boyle being assisted off the field in the first with an apparent injury, and four goals being a free position shot or on the power play. Army’s physicality and accuracy throughout the half gave them bursts of scoring, but Marist’s consistent play kept them in the game, finishing the half trailing Army 7-5.
With a narrow lead going into the second half, Army was able to break out with a strong scoring streak that ultimately led to their second win of the season.
“I think momentum has a lot to do with our game and I think that we were trying to stay on top of the momentum going into the second half being that we closed the gap to two goals […] so the momentum part was in their favor and we slipped,” Coach Jessica Wilkinson said postgame.
The Red Foxes responded quickly to West Point’s opening scoring in the second half with a goal from sophomore attacker, Isabella Stockman. It just never seemed to be enough, as the Black Knights continued with their fast pace and strength of play to score nine unanswered goals. Army’s sophomore attacker Devon Connolly came in with a last-ditch effort, scoring three in a row in the final nine minutes. West Point scored a salt-in-the-wound goal in the final six seconds of the game, slamming the door on their 18-9 win.
Although Marist did not end with the result they had hoped for, breakout performances from Mehalick and Connolly give them momentum going into their coming games. Army’s showing from younger members gives them a confidence for the coming season.
Coach Kristen Skiera expressed, “We had some young players step up on the offensive end. We had some contributions off the bench as well with [Manor] coming in and scoring four goals off the bench. She was a really much needed spark on the offensive end.”
In a high energy and physical game, both teams brought an effort important in the early games of the season. Despite the final score, the skill and talent seen from both Marist and West Point hint at an interesting season to come.
Edited by Will Bjarnar