Poughkeepsie, NY — The sound of a crisp kick to a soccer ball hits the ear a little bit differently when said ball is soaking wet. It sounds a little squeaky and if you’re at the right place at the right time, you can almost hear the water from the pitch splash off of it. Ask most players and you’d likely find that it makes controlling the ball a lot harder. But Marist adapted, pulling out a 2-1 out-of-conference win against Gonzaga at Tenney Stadium.
The start of the game was fast-paced as Gonzaga opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a goal from Mark McEntosh to make it 1-nil. Both teams continued with a quick and aggressive style and Marist began to open up a few scoring chances. After missing a shot that was just shy of the goal, Marist’s first home goal came shortly after. With a few suspenseful passes in the air, the ball found its way to the back as sophomore defender Christian Curti scored his first goal of the season to tie up the match.
Holding up defensively, the Red Foxes struggled to convert following their debut goal. Two painfully close shots in quick succession finished the first half with some missed opportunities that would have to be made up for in the second half to bring the first win of the season, but it was encouraging signs from Matt Viggiano’s team.
When the second half opened, there was a little more grit in the Poughkeepsie air. Early season frustrations, bad weather, and a tie game began to bring the heat at an otherwise cold game. With aggressions running high, senior defender Marcus Ginman launched the ball to the back of the net in the 59th minute, putting Marist up 2-1.
Following Ginman’s goal, the boys in red became electric, jumping up from the bench in excitement over the Swedish defender’s second goal of his Marist career. More excited than Ginman was probably his fellow countrymen, and Marist athlete, Tobias Sjoberg. Proudly waving the Swedish flag, Sjoberg attends every game in support of Ginman, quite literally, rain or shine.
With the excitement surrounding the goal, Ginman is taking it in and looking forward. “Hopefully we can use it as momentum going forward, but it’s also just one game. We have to keep focusing on the next one and keep pushing hard,” he said.
Returning back to the game, as everyone lined up, the muffled sounds of yelling came from the sidelines. After arguing from coaches, yellow cards were issued to Demetrius Kiegya from Gonzaga and Marist freshman midfielder, Joe Mac. With Marist now in the lead, the aggressiveness from the two sides began to come out both on the field and in-between whistles.
Quickly after play resumed, Ginman was met with slide from a Gonzaga player, taking him down near the Marist goal. Taking a few minutes to stand, Ginman’s earlier triumph was in the rearview mirror as he slowly made his way to the bench as Tobias was still standing strong for him with the blue and yellow Swedish flag flying high in the stands.
Less than 10 minutes later, a small fight broke out on the sidelines between a few players after another Marist player was taken down. After the fight was broken up, the argument resulted in a yellow card for first goalscorer Curti.
The physicality rang high throughout the rest of the game. But Coach Matt Viggiano is taking it not with frustration, but rather preparation. “We know we’re going to face physical teams in the MAAC. We know we’re going to face teams that are going to try and get us off our game. We are going to face teams that are going to be physical with us,” explained Viggiano. “So, this is all good preparation for when we’re really playing for three points.”
The game continued on combatively, but the goals from Ginman and Curti, as well as a few spectacular saves from sophomore goalkeeper, Sam Ilin, Marist put themselves at a 1-1 record in week two. With more out-of-conference games before MAAC play begins, the Red Foxes are looking to take each game as a learning experience to achieve their ultimate goal.
“It’s a confidence builder, there’s no doubt about that. We talk about learning. Every time we step out on the field what are we taking from the game,” said Viggiano. “We got the win but we have to figure out how we got the win and what we did successfully to get the win.
Marist takes on the University of Pennsylvania Monday at 7 p.m away from home.
Edited by Alex Azarm