Marist women’s lacrosse will play one of their biggest games of the season today–a home contest against the Monmouth Hawks–which will be the only time the Red Foxes will see the Hawks prior to the MAAC tournament. It will be both team’s second game and both teams are undefeated, as Marist comes off a win against Manhattan, and the Hawks come off a win against Iona.
Monmouth was the preseason MAAC favorite, receiving five first place votes. Additionally, fifth-year student Nicole Ceraso was named the preseason MAAC Player of the Year. A dangerous attacker for the Hawks, she was ranked first in the conference last season for points, points per game, assists and assists per game. She ranked in third for points and assists in all of the NCAA in the shortened 2020 season.
WIth the extra year of eligibility granted to graduating seniors in the class of 2020, seven out of eight Monmouth seniors elected to stay with the program. Five players from their squad (not including Ceraso) were named to the all-MAAC preseason team.
If there is anything the Red Foxes love, though, it’s being the underdog.
Picked fourth overall in the preseason poll, Marist showed in their battle against Manhattan that they will be a top force in the conference. They do not count themselves out if they find themselves in a deficit, which will be critical against a team like Monmouth. Marist can score goals and play very solid defense. With a win at home under their belt, they look to be in great shape heading into one of their toughest games on the season.
Who, What, When, and Where?
Marist (1-0 in MAAC) vs Monmouth (1-0 in MAAC)
Date: Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m.
Location: Tenney Stadium
Series History: Monmouth leads 6-3
Last Game: Monmouth won 15-12 March 30, 2019, at Monmouth
Marist’s Keys to Victory:
Shut down Ceraso and senior attack Caroline Bleck on offense. If Ceraso can’t score or get the ball, Monmouth’s attack will struggle. She scored 23 goals in the shortened season and is also their main passer on offense. If the Foxes set up a faceguard, or keep her at X and deny her a crease roll, Monmouth will have to explore other options to get the offense going. Bleck was their leading goal scorer last season with 32 goals. If she also can’t get the ball, their production is going to decrease significantly. Iona explored that idea, and caused Bleck to only score once.
Defense is going to have another huge game and continue to slide to ball when someone tries to enter the eight meter, crash to the goal, and set senior goalie Delaney Galvin up to see all of the shots. Marist needs to disrupt the Hawks’ rhythm, try not to give up free position shots or penalties, and win the 50/50 battles. If Marist scores first and sets the tone, the game will be a lot easier moving forward. Getting up early, holding the ball, and using the full 90 seconds on the shot clock will give them time to set things up and get the looks they want.
Red Fox To Watch:
Attacker Kerri Gutenberger had a breakout game against Manhattan, scoring four points. The sophomore has definitely flown under the radar and since this Monmouth team has never seen her play, she will surprise them on offense. She can shoot — as evident by her three goals last game — has great off-ball movement, and has a great vision of the offense. She’s not scared to take it herself to the cage if the opportunity is there.
Monmouth’s Keys to Victory:
Stay out of the box. Monmouth loves to play a physical game but there is a fine line between too physical and just physical enough. The Hawks racked up 17 cards last season, and in the games where they didn’t receive any, they dominated the competition. In their two losses against Army West Point and Lehigh University, they had seven cards total. If they stretch out Marist’s defense, they will set up for things like isolation and stack plays, or the draw and dump. If they don’t overcomplicate on offense and read the defense well, they will get going. In the game against Iona, Monmouth loved to feed from down low to attackers cutting from up top for a quick pass and shot to the cage. If they stretch out Marist enough, those runs will be open.
Hawk to Watch:
Fifth-year student Allison Turturro scored six goals against Iona. The attacker is going to be a big threat up top and coming off that much steam, she is going to be hard to contain. She will look to get going right where she left off. Turturro has effective off-ball moves, loves to dodge and re-dodge, and will pick up the production if someone else on Monmouth is being shut down.
This is going to be one of the most exciting games for both teams to date. It will be an intense, high scoring game, easily upwards of ten goals on both sides, with the potential of overtime. Marist needs to score first though. They need to set the tone and be on the board early so they won’t have to catch up later on. Monmouth has shooters, and lots of them. If they get caught down by four or five goals, it will be a hard hole to climb out of. Both teams are hungry to stay undefeated, and both played well in their first games. The Red Foxes are considered the underdog, but I think they will be able to pull off an upset early in the season.
Prediction: Marist wins with a score 12-10.
Edited by Sam DiGiovanni and Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: Riley Griffin