On a warm spring Saturday afternoon, Marist faced off against Detroit Mercy Titans at Tenney Stadium. The Red Foxes were coming off of a two-game winning streak with victories against Monmouth University and Manhattan College, to start the season 2-0 in MAAC play. The Mercy Titans were also coming off a victory over Monmouth. In a tight game throughout, Detroit Mercy was able to edge out Marist 12-11, by scoring four unanswered goals to close out the game.
The game began with a faceoff win for Marist, but a quick first goal for Detroit Mercy by junior Seth Mendell quickly followed. However, this did not go unanswered by the Red Foxes. Marist answered with a goal from freshman, JoJo Pirreca, in the next two minutes. After quick back and forth possessions by both teams, the Titans took control of the game by obtaining several loose ball possessions and winning a few faceoffs. They later scored three more goals by Mendell, sophomore Brett Erskine, and sophomore Paul Manuszak.
Despite this, the Red Foxes maintained their aggressiveness and energy. Pirreca and freshman Jamison Embury later caged another two goals for the Red Foxes. Knowing they had possession of the ball, Marist took a timeout in order to come up with a game plan to take the lead going into the second quarter. This timeout proved to be crucial. Immediately following the timeout, freshman James Lyons found Jamison Embury to put away another goal with twenty-two seconds left in the first quarter. The Red Fox team chemistry tied the game, 4-4.
The tension was high in the first eight minutes of the second quarter. Each team had several possessions but came up with no goals. The scoring lull was soon ended by a skilled over the shoulder goal by freshman Hunter Embury. But a quick response off the draw tallied another goal for the Titans. The Red Foxes had the final say going into halftime with two goals in the last five minutes by junior Joe Tierney and Hunter Embury. The Marist mojo was in gear, leading the game 7-5 at the half.
To start the second half, the Titans ripped off two quick goals, one as quickly as the other. One was scored by Mendell once again, securing a hat trick for the game. This tied the game 7-7. The tension began to fill Tennelly Stadium as the back-and-forth game progressed.
Later on in the third quarter, Red Fox sophomore, Vito Musso, rifled a goal in. This was later answered by a Titan goal for sophomore Ryan Figueiras. This tied the score once again, at 8-8 with a quarter left to play.
In the final quarter, the Red Foxes went on a roll with three consecutive goals scored within the first six minutes. However, a few minutes later, the Titans answered with two goals from freshman Max Payton and senior Brent Lubin, making the Marist lead 11-10. The nail-biting began once again.
To close out the game, the Titans added two more goals to take over the lead. After a valiant team effort and strategic plays, the Detroit Mercy Titans were able to maintain their slim lead during the final four minutes of play to capture the victory.
“I thought the offense played really well for large portions of the game,” Marist Head Coach Keegan Wilkinson said. “Jamison Embury got his first start as a freshman and did a great job quarterbacking the offense. Our group of guys did a really nice job on man-up today, which was huge. I am really proud of the guys.”
After a game full of exciting moments for the Red Foxes, but also costly mistakes, Wilkinson thought there is room for improvement.
“We have to be better across the board. It wasn’t one mistake today that costed us that game,” Wilkinson said. “It was a sum of a number of them. We have to continue to work on is our transition defense. We know that Detroit’s strength today was in transition and we needed to do a better job, and we didn’t.”
The Red Foxes will look to rebound with a game this Tuesday against Bucknell University. “I know the guys are resilient and they will not be hanging their heads for too long, but we have high standards here and we need to be playing better lacrosse in our home stadium,” Wilkinson said. “And we are hopeful that they will bring us home a win on Tuesday at home.”
Edited by David Salamone
Header Photo by Shannon Tierney