On a gloomy Saturday morning, with the floodlights on and stands packed, the Red Foxes took to the field for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament championship game versus second-seed team Quinnipiac. This was Marist’s first time in the finals since 2015. In an exciting back and forth contest, Marist won the title on home turf with a final score of 15-14.
Quinnipiac got on the board first with a goal scored by freshman Will Abbott in the first two minutes of the game. Marist sophomore Jake Weinman clapped back within the minute. Quinnipiac then scored three goals on Marist, a streak that was ended by freshman Jamison Embury with the second goal for the Red Foxes. With eight seconds left in the first quarter, Embury scored again for the Red Foxes, cutting Quinnipiac’s lead to 6-4.
Foster Cuomo of Quinnipiac started off the second quarter with a one-handed bullet to the net. In quick response, Marist junior Joe Tierney found the net less than 20 seconds later. With five minutes left in the quarter, Quinnipiac jumped too early on the face off, earning a yellow card, forcing them to play man down for 30 seconds. Marist capitalized on the opportunity with a goal by sophomore Vito Musso, making the score 7-8.
The first half ended with a Marist goal by Embury, earning him the first hat trick of the game, and typing up the score 8-8.
The third quarter started slow, but picked up four minutes in with three goals within one minute — Marist, Quinnipiac, Marist. Red Fox junior Peyton Smith repeatedly threw his whole body at Quinnipiac players trying to gain control post face off. Tierney earned the second hat trick of the game for the Red Foxes. More back and forth followed, a theme that defined that quarter. Marist was up by two going into the fourth quarter with a score of 13-11.
Weinman got the third hat trick of the game for Marist at the start of the final quarter. After an intense crease violation, Marist was left playing a man down. Quinnipiac immediately took advantage of this with a goal by Cuomo, earning Quinnipiac their first hat trick.
With two and a half minutes left in the game, Red Fox freshman Jojo Pirreca scored an insurance goal, but only seconds later Quinnipiac’s Jake Tomsik responded with a goal, making the score to 15-14. After regaining possession once again for the finals minutes of play, Marist retained control and earned the Championship title.
Head Coach Keegan Wilkinson smiled with pride for his team. “I sat down at lunch with some of the seniors about six months ago,” he said. “We talked about handing that trophy to Thomas Rago after he won the championship. I’m just incredibly proud we put all of our hard work and that dedication into a reality today.”
In the team’s third MAAC championship victory, Tierney was named the Most Outstanding Player of the game. The Red Foxes will advance to the NCAA tournament, where they will play an opponent to be determined in Sunday night’s selection show, which will occur at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.
Edited by Meaghan Roche
Photos by Shannon Tierney