Poughkeepsie, NY — Just as the uncertain reliability of the groundhog predicting the early start to spring, the victory of Marist Women’s Soccer in its home-opening games has proven to be an unsuccessful precursor towards a triumphant season. Now with Sunday’s 2-1 win against Loyola University, they can only hope history doesn’t repeat itself here in the 2019 season. As for the game itself, it ended in a dramatic fashion.
A sixth-minute shot from Loyola’s Hannah Hoefs curved one from twenty-five yards into the back of the net as it was the only goal scored in what was a rather uneventful first half.
For most of the game, it seemed like the cold spell from Thursday’s 5-0 loss to New Hampshire was going to carry over into this one. However, a low blow in the 75th minute from Loyola’s Beth Eversman brought down sophomore Kaylin Sperley as the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty kick, where Sperley would tie the game.
All of this would lead up to the final minute, where a great ball from Victoria Colatosti sailed through the air before being headed by a sprinting Kristen Prevosto for a game-winning goal in the last minute of the match; the fans went wild.
It was the midfielder’s first goal of the season and just the second of her Marist career. “I’m excited,” said a buzzing Prevosto. “After the rough one on Thursday, this just brings confidence back to the team and myself.”
“I think the game was a great reflection of us just being persistent and patient with our game plan,” said coach Leigh Howard. “I wasn’t worried that the moments would come but it was a matter if one of us was able to capitalize on one of them.”
As exciting as Sunday’s game may have been, however, this may have just prolonged a multiple season trend that has ultimately ended in disappointment.
Since the club’s inaugural MAAC championship in 2011, there have unfortunately been a plethora of seasons that have ended just short of silverware. Although the players have always been considered as hard-working and talented, as they have contributed to a playoff spot for a number of years, the team as a whole still has never finished in a way that they’ve wanted.
Since 2012, Marist has played in eight postseason matches. Despite that, however, they’ve won just two of the eight matches, including being knocked out of the tournament in the first round in four of those appearances.
As a result of this, the team is trying to make an emphasis on doing things differently. Whether it’s hiring multiple head coaches, now set on reigning Coach of the Year Leigh Howard, or creating a confidential goal sheet for themselves, they know that they don’t want their season to start and end in the same way as the others.
So, what does the home opener have to do with this? Well, it’s worth noting that throughout this tough span, Marist has actually been very successful in their first games at Tenney Stadium. In fact, with this win, they have actually won seven out of their last eight home-opening games.
This means that since 2012, in seasons where the team made the MAAC Tournament, where they’ve eventually lost, they always ended up winning their home opener.
Let’s take a deep dive into this: In 2012, after beating Wagner in their home opener, almost three months later, the team ended up losing in the MAAC Championship to Loyola MD. In 2013, the team defeated UMass Lowell, but fell short in the Semifinals to Rider. In 2015, they beat Lehigh, but lost again in the semifinals. In 2016, Vermont was the victim, but Marist lost in the finals. In 2017, Delaware State lose at Tenney, then the Red Foxes lose in the semifinals. And in 2018, they lose in the semifinals again after beating Rhode Island in the home opener. And now in 2019, they win yet again, this time to Loyola MD.
Does this sound fishy to anyone? In the era of being one-time MAAC Champions, Marist has yet to both lose a home opener, and make the playoffs at the same time. Instead, they win every year, make the playoffs, but fall short of their goal.
Will this end up being a bad thing for the Red Foxes? Obviously the team is more than happy with their win, but will this end up backfiring?
“I don’t believe in superstition,” says Howard, when asked about this crazy statistic. “The record book says what it says and the past is what it is, but I think it’s important for us each and every day to take advantage of the present and to continue striving towards each game at a time.”
Having won today’s game, does this foreshadow defeat in the season? Well, as we still hope for an early spring, regardless of whether the groundhog sees his shadow we will just have to wait and see.
Edited By Alex Azarm