Cergol’s Second Half Goal Secures Victory Over Fordham in Home Opener

The Marist women’s soccer team overcame adversity in their 2-1 win over Fordham on Thursday night. It marked the first game in 669 days at Tenney Stadium for the Red Foxes. The win was Head Coach Brittany Kolmel’s first in her Marist tenure.

  For the first 25 minutes, both teams maintained spells of possession, but neither was able to produce a quality chance. Marist was quick to regain possession after losing the ball, and they stayed connected defensively. Junior defender Samantha Sturno was excellent for the Red Foxes as she was making timely defensive plays. 

“Sturno has been a rock for us, she is one of our leaders and captains. She’s just doing a phenomenal job,” said Head Coach Brittany Kolmel.

The first half intensity picked up in the final 10 minutes after Fordham’s graduate transfer Hope Baisley picked up a yellow card. As halftime was approaching, junior forward Caitlin Kennedy opened the scoring for Fordham in the 45th minute. Kennedy dribbled past a defender into the box and placed her shot into the bottom corner past Marist senior goalkeeper Natalie Kelchner. 

Marist responded immediately with 30 seconds left in the half when senior defender Riley Abate finished a Bridget Dudziec cross. Abate controlled the ball and fired a strike that struck the crossbar and came down over the line. Abate’s goal was the Red Foxes’ first of the season. 

“A big thing that we have been stressing is character, process, and result, and the character that we showed getting scored on, and then within 20 seconds scoring, set the tone for us moving forward,” Kolmel said. 

Marist controlled the second half and the majority of the possession. The Red Foxes were unable to score despite creating good chances. Marist eventually broke through in the 68th minute when junior forward Brooke Cergol finished a pass from Deanna Lomino. The grad student played in a perfect through ball, and Cergol fought off the defender to poke the shot through the legs of Fordham sophomore goalkeeper Serena Mensah. 

“It was such a team goal, it started all the way in the back and I couldn’t have done it without the team. It was a great feeling,” said Cergol. 

Marist held onto the lead the rest of the way as their defense remained strong and senior goalkeeper Natalie Kelchner made key saves. Kelchner made a big save on a free kick in the 89th minute to secure the victory for the Red Foxes.

The victory is Marist’s first of the season, and it is their sixth straight victory in home openers. The victory is also Marist’s first over Fordham since 2012, and it is their first win over an A-10 opponent since 2018.

“I think it’s a great step in the right direction, I still think there are always things that you have to evaluate and work on, but I do think that this team truly has something special,” Kolmel said.

Marist will have 10 days off before their final non-conference game of the season against Maine on Sunday, September 12th at 1 p.m.

Edited by Jonathan Kinane

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