Poughkeepsie, NY— Manchester United is a club full of history, trophies, legends, and had probably the greatest manager of all-time. However, for the past few seasons they have underperformed. This season is no different. They have only scored just seven goals in their last ten matches. In close comparison, Marist Women’s soccer—in its past seven matches—has scored only four goals. In their match against the Niagara Purple Eagles, they wanted to flip the script.
“One frustration we have had the past few games is that we have been generating opportunities,” explained coach Leigh Howard. “But we didn’t have the execution to put multiple balls in the back of the net and we have looked to adjust that in training.”
After winning just one of the last seven matches—as well as failing to score multiple goals in any of them—anything outside of a win in this match would put huge amounts of pressure on the team. Heading into a three game road trip playing against Siena and Fairfield, (second and third place in the MAAC respectively) added even more pressure.
“Going away is always tough but we treat every game the same,” said Howard talking of their upcoming away fixtures. “We have to manage the bodies that we have and making sure that we are performing in training as well.”
Coming into this game, Niagara conceded ten goals in their last four matches. This gave the opportunity for the Red Foxes to capitalize on their attacking chances.
Within the first four minutes of the match, the Red Foxes came out hot as sophomore forward, Kaylin Sperley put a dangerous ball into the six-yard area of the Niagara box. A connection was made from a diving header by fellow sophomore forward, Victoria Colatosti, but was just wide of the post.
In the twenty-fifth minute, a free kick from senior defender Alexa Svensson put the ball over the heads of every Purple Eagle defender and found captain Nicole Sasso for the first goal of the match, and her first of the season.
With confidence running high for Marist, another set piece from Svensson was taken. This time a corner kick was met by Sasso again, as the two combined to make the score 2-0 at the brink of halftime.
Not only was it Sasso’s second goal of the match, and the first time that Marist has scored two or more goals in a match since September 8 (a 2-1 win over Loyola). The second assist from Svensson puts her tied for first place for all-time assists in Marist women’s soccer history, tying Rycke Guiney in the record books with 21 dimes.
“[Svensson] is super important to this team in terms of what she does on the defensive end and offensively, which is unique given someone who plays along the backline,” said Howard about her senior defender.
Newly informed of her accomplishment, Svensson exclaimed, “Really?” She laughed it off like it was no big deal, “I had no idea about that until now but wow, it feels pretty good.”
Throughout the second half, the Red Foxes kept Niagara at bay, never seeming threatened at any point of the match. To put the nail in the coffin, a cross from sophomore forward, Chiara DiPalma in the seventy-fourth minute was tipped by the Niagara keeper but only straight to junior defender Katey Samarro, who was newly subbed into the game 57 seconds prior. Talk about an impact.
Despite nearly everything going Marist’s way in this match, junior forward, Jillian Colucci, who has missed a couple of games this season due to an ankle injury, was subbed off early in the match after a hard challenge, and did not return to the game. Although it seemed that she aggravated her ankle, according to Howard there is “no update” on Colucci and her status for the upcoming road trip is uncertain.
The Red Foxes take on the Siena Saints in Loudonville, NY in a MAAC conference matchup, this coming Saturday.
Edited by Lily Caffrey-Levine