In their second home game in two days Marist was held to a draw on Saturday night at Tenney Stadium to Bryant University, finishing 1-1 after a wonder goal from Marist junior defender Henrique Cruz was cancelled out by an equalizer from Ben Williams off a corner kick.
In this match, Marist would play a 3-5-2 formation, with wing-backs junior Bernardo Gracindo and senior Justin Sharf being pushed up very high. “I’ve been toying with looking at a 3-5-2 just to kind of mirror them.” said head coach Matt Viggiano. “Something I wanted to have moving into the conference because we’ve been playing a 4-3-3 most of the time.”
The Red Foxes would be without senior goalkeeper Sam Ilin and junior goalkeeper Dylan McDermott would start in goal for Marist.
“Sam’s been having a nagging hip injury since our game, he told me he was having some hip discomfort coming into New Hampshire.” McDermott said while Ilin was dealing with the injury for a while, his appearance in this game was touch-and-go before game day. “I found out yesterday but it was finalized yesterday, when my time comes I just gotta be ready.”
Marist had the first shot on goal in the match following a long spell of possession outside of Bryant’s penalty area. Junior midfielder Antek Sienkel fired his long range effort right at Bryant’s graduate student goalkeeper Jack Bacon.
Marist kept the pressure on when junior midfielder Stefan Copetti found himself in a good area to get a shot on goal, and forced Bryant’s goalkeeper into an impressive diving stop.
15 minutes into the game, Marist made it 1-0 when Cruz sent a 25-yard shot scorching into the top right hand corner. The goal of the season nominee was Cruz’s first career goal and came with an assist from Copetti.
Marist nearly had their second goal in as many minutes when freshman forward Richard Morel fired a curling effort towards the bottom right corner, but Bacon was able to stretch across and deny him.
Later, McDermott rushed out to collapse on a loose ball outside his 6-yard box, the first real danger he dealt with on the night. He was called upon again, coming up equal to a free kick from Bryant’s junior forward Nick Awada just outside the penalty area.
Bryant saw a cross across goal hit the hand of a Marist defender, but their penalty claims were void after the offside flag went up following the set-piece routine.
With five minutes to go in the half Bryant found their equalizer after midfielder Williams capitalized on a ball that Marist failed to get clear off the visitor’s corner kick, and made it 1-1.
Despite being level 1-1 at the half, Marist had the better half with seven shots in their favor with six on goal, and just four shots for Bryant and two on goal. Possession was roughly even at 51 percent to 49 percent in favor of Marist.
In the opening ten minutes of the second half, Marist and Bryant traded misfired shots and one on target a piece, with the one coming from Copetti but was no trouble to Bacon.
Marist were a fraction away from taking the lead when Morel was sent through on goal but Bacon was there to sweep up the danger before the striker could get anything on it.
Marist had begun utilizing the width of the pitch, and gave its players more room to run at the opposition defence. In the 69th minute an overlapping run resulted in a ball into the box that found Copetti in front of goal, but his first-time shot ballooned over the crossbar.
Cruz found himself with the best chance in the second half when his quick turn outside the box saw him face the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes, but his shot found the white of the goalkeeper’s gloves.
At the end of regulation, Marist and Bryant were tied at 1-1, the hosts had the majority of the shots but lacked many clear-cut chances.
The opening 90, offensively, was about combinations within the front two and the onrushing midfield. In buildup play, the ball was played directly to the feet of Copetti who would try and lay it off to a midfielder, with his strike partner making a third-man run in behind the defense.
By the 100th minute of the match, exhaustion began to creep in for the home side playing their second game the past five days, with six outfield players playing over 95 minutes.
With three minutes to go, redshirt junior defender Demarre Montoute saw his looping header caught by a backtracking Bacon, and Bryant answered with a chance of their own when they had an opportunity inside Marist’s half, but the play was ruled offside.
The match would end after overtime at 1-1, with the players on their last legs not being able to break the deficit on the night.
Viggiano commented on the energy levels towards the end of the match “We’ve played six tough games and then we haven’t played in two years, I think the guys are still trying to find their sea legs.”
Viggiano would get more in detail with the instructions he gave to his offense.“We want our #10 [Skylar Conway] to connect in that formation, he’s gotta be playing with the two guys up top. I think they’re very talented players so that was the idea to get him more forward.”
Marist (3-3-1) will now have a week without a game to recover before traveling to Ithaca to play Cornell (1-5-2) on Saturday, September 25th.
Edited by Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: Bridget Reilly