After only one week in the pool for games and practice, Marist captured the MAAC Tournament crown with a 13-10 win against Virginia Military Institute and continues to the NCAA Tournament next week in California. Marist has played 8 games this season and is currently going into NCAA’s undefeated.
“I’m happy that we won, Tournament MVP Viktoria Orlova said. “Overall, I think I tried my best and other people on the team stepped up this game. Almost everyone scored and did really well, so I think we were a collective unit for this game.”
Marina Hyahm started the game defending the goal for the Red Foxes and Katie Lloyd defended the net for Virginia Military Institute (VMI). Marist’s Marina Hyahm won the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year and head coach Chris Vidale won MAAC Coach of the Year.
“It’s all about these young women and I’m just super proud of them and everything they have done throughout this crazy pandemic season,” Vidale said. “I know it has been tough on the whole campus, but just being able to see the joy on everyone’s faces right now makes this all worth it.”
Marist began with possession of the ball and within 30 seconds of gameplay, Marist’s Kathryn McCullough found the back of the goal. VMI eventually answered with a Genevieve Petrassi score that tied the game at 1.
After Marist got possession and missed a shot on the net, Petrassi found the back of the cage again, giving VMI a one-point lead. Red Fox Myriam Lizotte soon tied the game scoring a goal with the assist from Justine Castro, making the score 2-2. VMI got called on a penalty and Marist took the lead as Lizotte found the back of the cage for a second time, assisted by Fallon Burnworth.
“It was definitely a team success and I was very happy about what I did and what the team did,” Lizotte said. “We finally made it after all these efforts and it just feels good to finally win it. Going into next week, we just have to take it one practice at a time and do what we do.”
VMI took three shots on the net, but couldn’t find the back of the net while Marina Hyham came up with the stop. Castro found Burnworth, who put it in the back of the net, making the game 4-2 Marist.
“Today I had to step up and I just went for it,” Burnworth said. “I am really proud of my team and myself. I am excited to go to NCAA’s, especially for our graduate students on the team that finally got the MAAC ring.”
An exclusion was called on Burnworth, and VMI had a man advantage with seconds left in the first period. VMI’s Kiara Anguiano beat the goalie and put it in the net with help from Maddie Berry. The Red Foxes led 4-3 after the first period.
“I could not be happier at this moment, it has been a really challenging year for us, and I think the fact that we were able to do this makes it so much sweeter,” Kaylee Brard said. “As a freshman, I will carry this with me for the next four years and try to carry on the legacy created this year. I think this week will be a good moment for me to learn how to play with the other girls and start improving my skills as an individual.”
At the beginning of the second period, VMI got an exclusion call against them, giving Marist a one-man advantage. With an extra attacker, Marist’s Shinae Carrington found the back of the net to make it 5-3.
“Yesterday, we kind of freaked out when the game was close, but today we just took it and told ourselves that this was our game to win,” Goalie Marina Hyham said. “Every championship game I have ever played has not gone my way, so it just feels so good to have this game go my way.”
With just over three minutes left in the third period, Marist took a timeout. After multiple turnovers from VMI, the Red Foxes put pressure on the Keydets’ defense. Marist’s Sawyer Alter hit the back of the cage on a penalty shot, giving Marist a 6-4 lead.
“This means everything at the end of my four years,” Captain Katelin Harris said. “To finally get to the NCAA’s in my last year is amazing. Our team is so talented, every single one of us, it’s just so amazing. I’m looking forward to going home to my home state of California and for the team to showcase our talents on a national stage.”
VMI got the ball back but missed their shots, and an exclusion was called on VMI’s Caragh Osbourne. With another man advantage, the Red Foxes drove to the net, and Castro beat the goalie and put it in the net. The Red Foxes entered the third period with a 7-4 lead.
At the start of the third period, Marist took the first goal as Kathryn McCullough scored with a man advantage. VMI was not ready to go away just yet. They began putting pressure on the net and scored with a shot from Sydney Shettleroe. Only minutes later, VMI scored again by a shot from Rachel Ahumada, making the game 8-6 for Marist.
With a little over five minutes left in the third period, Marist’s Viktoria Orlova shot and scored. After two Marist turnovers that led to no VMI goals, the Red Foxes got the ball back, and Lizotte dented the twine with help from Justine Castro, giving Marist a 10-6 lead.
After two missed shots by VMI, the head coach called a timeout, and the team huddled up. Carrington drew the attention of the official and was whistled for an exclusion. With a man advantage, VMI’s Petrassi scored a goal with help from Makenna Moore. With one minute left on the third period time clock, VMI’s McKenna Imset made a shot in the net, cutting it to a 10-8 lead for Marist as the teams entered the fourth period.
The fourth period of the game began with turnovers from both teams. The Red Foxes got possession of the ball, and Lizotte scored with an assist from Castro with an extra attacker. Marist took a three-point lead with a score of 11-8.
After missed shots from the Red Foxes and multiple turnovers, Caragh Osbourne found the back of the net for VMI. With only three minutes left in the last period, Orlova was whistled for an exclusion. With only a few minutes left in the game and Marist winning 11-9, VMI took a full timeout to rest and regroup.
After the timeout with a one-man advantage, VMI’s Imset found the back of the net to make it a one-goal game. After an exclusion for VMI, Orlova came through, depositing a shot in the net on the five-meter penalty shot, giving Marist a 12-10 lead.
With only one minute left on the clock, Marist holds possession of the ball and tries to run out the clock. With a shot from the middle of the pool, Castro hit the back of the net on the game-icing goal.
When time ran out, the Red Foxes jumped in the McCann pool and celebrated their victory as they continued to the NCAA Tournament next week in California.
“I definitely had tears of joy at the end of this game,” Justine Castro said. “After having everything taken away from us last year without being able to play out our season was rough, but we came back, and we won it, so we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Marist Athletics