Marist Begins on a Good Note, Taking Detroit Mercy in Season Opener

On a crisp, cloudy day in Poughkeepsie the Marist men’s lacrosse team geared up for their long awaited season start. This afternoon, Marist, the top team in MAAC preseason rankings geared up against the second ranked team in MAAC rankings, the Detroit Mercy Titans. Both teams have produced successful lacrosse teams over the past few years and have remained dominant competitors in the MAAC. 

Today, Marist proved their top dog status in the MAAC, finishing the day with a victory of 15-11. Before today’s Red Fox win, Marist led the series with seven wins and six loses. Their last matchup in 2019 resulted in a 11-12 loss for the Red Foxes. 

The Red Foxes came out hot in the first quarter, cashing in first with a goal from junior attacker Jamison Embury, assisted by fellow junior attack Jojo Pirreca. Knowing Detroit Mercy was gonna be a tough competitor, Embury explains how the focus coming into the game was to “remain confident in one another.” Following a penalty on the field, Embury netted another one with 7:54 remaining. He totaled three goals and three assists in the win.

Embury, smiling ear to ear, felt great to be back out there with his team. He spoke highly of freshman goaltender Logan Covey, explaining how he “stepped up in a big way” with just a handful of practice reps this week.

Just two minutes later in the first quarter, senior midfielder Jason Intermessoli and Pirreca placed two in the back of the net back to back making it 4-0 Marist with 5:14 remaining. The defense also started off strong, delivering a shut-out for the first half of the first quarter. Junior long stick midfielder JT Roselle stepped up with key interceptions and freshman goalie, Logan Covey, received the start today in place of injured junior, Anthony Novellano. Covey played strong in between the pipes during his first start at the collegiate level. Detroit Mercy finally broke in with a goal from junior attacker/midfielder Jack Watsic with 4:08 remaining. By the end of the first quarter, Marist led 5-1. 

It was truly a tale of two quarters. Watching the first quarter no one would have known Marist had just five or so practices under their belt before coming into this game. However, the cobwebs began to appear during the second quarter, as Detroit Mercy outscored Marist 6-3. Just over 30 seconds into the quarter, Detroit Mercy netted their first goal from the senior attack powerhouse Brett Erkskine and from there went on a 4-0 scoring run. Marist finally began to find some rhythm as junior midfielder Hunter Embury put Marist back on the board with a solo shot, making it his first goal since 2019. Erksine answered again with back to back goals, making it 7-6 in favor of Detroit Mercy. Finally, after finding some late quarter rhythm, Marist regained a lead of 8-7. 

It was a quiet third quarter for both teams, Hunter Embury scored off an assist from his twin brother. Just minutes later, the Titans finished with a goal from sophomore midfielder Ryan Birney, tying it up at 9-9 going into the fourth quarter.

Coach Keegan Wilkinson emphasized in the locker room for the team to trust each other heading into the second half. “When you had breakdowns on either side of the ball in the first half it was a result of us doing a little too much on our own,” said Wilkinson. He expressed that Marist is at their best when they are “playing a team game and sharing the ball.” That was surely the case in the fourth quarter. 

The fourth quarter can be defined in a single name: Vito Musso. Coach Wilkison expressed that Musso was at the “backend” of a lot of the sharing of the ball in the quarter. In his first game as a starter, senior attackman Musso stepped up big, netting four out of the six Red Fox goals in the quarter. Musso netted a career-high five goals and proved to step up to fill holes in the Red Foxes’ offense.

Musso describes the excitement the team felt coming back onto the field after nearly a year. “It felt like a movie when I scored those goals. It felt great, it felt great to be out there, and it felt great to be with this team,” said Musso.

The Titans tried to find some late fourth quarter magic, but Marist’s defense spearheaded by Covey proved to be too much for them to handle. Covey, finding out just hours before the game that he would get the start, totaled 14 saves with a save percentage of .560. 

Coach Wilkinson spoke highly of Covey, stating how difficult it is for any goalie to prepare for a game. Coach Wilkison is proud of Covey and his ability to “step up to the challenge.” Sam Alghrim and Roselle totaled four and three ground balls respectively in the win and were a major help to Covey in net. Algrim also added two forced turnovers to his statline with Roselle, sophomore midfielder Keenan Deraeve, and junior midfielder Tyler Ammirato forcing one a piece. Senior Andrew Evans played well for his first game at the face-off circle winning 12-27 face-offs and eight ground balls. 

The Red Foxes had a great start to their season. They play with energy, passion, and pride which is all one can ask from a team. Marist is set to play Quinnipiac University next Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. at Tenney Stadium. This will be their first game counted towards their MAAC rankings.

Edited by Bridget Reilly

Photo Credit: Allison Smith

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