The Marist women’s soccer team hosted Rider University in their annual pink-out game to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You know the significance behind that color. It’s so significant that a 1-0 loss — regardless of it being the team’s fifth in seven games — feels small, particularly for two of Marist’s senior leaders, Francesca Guzzo and Bianca Furci.
Both Guzzo and Furci’s mothers have had breast cancer; Guzzo’s mother battled Stage 0 breast cancer while Furci’s mother battled and beat breast cancer two times in her life. The two women both have anniversaries this upcoming November; Guzzo has been battling breast cancer for nine years, and Furci, who’s first diagnosis came when she was only 29 years old, will be 11 years cancer-free.
The women’s soccer team has a theme for the 2019 season: “What is Your Why?” For Guzzo and Furci, the decision probably isn’t too complicated. “My ‘why’ alludes to my family,” said Furci. “I think that they are the people who have supported me to get where I am today.” For Guzzo, her mother’s words of wisdom have stuck with her since she was a little girl. “My ‘why’ was centered around the quote ‘Have Fun,’” said Guzzo. “It is something that my mom instilled in me when I was a young athlete, student, and in everything I did.” While the outcome, as mentioned, went in Rider’s favor, both Guzzo and Furci were appreciative of the crowd and were confident about the remainder of the season.
As for the game against Rider, it was a battle on both ends of the field as neither team would succumb to the other. Rider is coming off a two-game winning streak and a 5-2-3 overall record, with a conference record of 2-0-1. As for Marist, they were looking to win their second straight game after defeating MAAC rival Quinnipiac 1-0 last Wednesday. The first half was a defensive battle, both goalies acting as barricades throughout the defensive battle. Shots were forced, and offense was barren. That’s why there are two halves.
The second half proved to be somewhat similar for a while until 10 minutes remained and Rider broke free. Marist had been knocking at the door all half with multiple breaks and shots on goal that just could not find the back of the net. One fast break, in particular, drew Rider’s goalkeeper Carmen Carbonell out of position. After a great through ball, Marist’s Victoria Colatosti poked it past Carbonell, but the soft shot was met by two Rider defenders who raced it down and cleared it off the goalline. With a little less than seven minutes to go in the game, Rider had a fast break down the sideline. Nikki Arrington lofted the ball into the box, where it would meet Hailey Russell’s head. Head meet ball; ball meet net. Rider, meet a 1-0 lead. That’s all they’d need as they remain undefeated in conference play.
After the game, head coach Leigh Howard did not have much to say about the outcome of the game. “Yeah, we just need to put the ball away,” Howard stated. As for the Pink Out game, though, Howard knew how much this game meant to not only Guzzo and Furci, but to the team as a whole. “The game means a whole heck of a lot to me,” Howard said. “Not just our two seniors who are directly affected by it with their families, but the lives of many people connected with our team who are affected by this disease.”
The Red Foxes are back in action Wednesday, October 9 when they host Niagara at 1:00 PM at Tenney Stadium.
Edited by Will Bjarnar
Header photo by Mike Cahill