On February 18, the Red Foxes put the college lacrosse world on notice. They stunned the Army Black Knights, who were then ranked nationally in the top 10 and dominating teams at the start of their season.
While each game of the season poses its own importance, this game meant something a little extra. With another win this weekend, the Foxes could continue to boost their resume and potential as a nationally ranked squad.
Marist took down Army by a convincing 17-9 margin, and in their next match, defeated Hartford 14-6. After the duo of drubbings, the Foxes had real potential to break into the rankings. Some voters that influence the Maverik Division I Media Poll agreed, as Marist received votes for the top 20. It just wasn’t enough to solidify their spot — this time.
“At the end of the day getting ranked is a big deal to see and we like that,” junior defenseman Kyle Stofko said.
Stofko transferred to Marist this year from Wagner, where winning was not as routine as it is here in Poughkeepsie, at least of late. Stofko said, “For me personally, I transferred in here from a school that was 6-20 in two years… just getting a win the other day against Hartford was a big deal to me.”
Not always is a carryover from a championship season success a guarantee. So far, though, it has been. And it’s not surprising to the team and coaching staff. They knew what they had in their locker room and felt confident going into the gauntlet of their schedule. “Everyone here was expecting a big season because everyone was putting in the work,” starting goalie Jake MacGregor said.
While a ranking would be a satisfying acknowledgment of their early success, the men understand that a number is not their end goal and there is plenty of work to be done. “We have a lot higher goals than just that,” Stofko said.
Prior to Army, Marist was sitting at 1-1 with a win over Binghamton and a heartbreaking loss at Richmond under their belt. They’ve since ramped things up again.
Their win against Hartford came under the lights on Tuesday at Tenney Stadium; for their next hopeful resume-builder, they’ll travel to Pennsylvania to take on Bucknell on Saturday. Bucknell, like Marist, also received top 20 votes in last week’s poll, but not enough to give them a spot. The Bison are off to a hot start this year, posting wins over Furman, Bryant, Sacred Heart, and Binghamton while their sole loss came at the hands of Ohio State.
“Bucknell is definitely going to be a big test for us. They have a lot of weapons on offense,” Stofko said. Bucknell posts an offense that averages almost 14 goals per game which features an attacking duo, Will Yorke and Alston Tarry, who have collected 20 points each through five games.
Marist will attempt to counterattack, well, the Bison attack by locking down on the defensive end. They’re only giving up eight goals per game, good for second-best in the MAAC, and possess a .579 save percentage, also good for second-best. On offense, the Foxes are led by a pair of attackmen in Jamison Embury and JoJo Pirreca who each have 15 points through four games. Jason Intermesoli and Jake Weinman follow closely behind with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Opening faceoff Saturday will be at noon on Bucknell’s home turf.
Edited by Will Bjarnar
Photo from Gabby Ricciardi