Marist Defeats Rider In Coach Viggiano’s 100th Win

In Head Coach Matt Viggiano’s 100 career win, Marist defeated Rider University 4-2 at Tenney Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

The visitors’ played an hour with 10-men when their graduate student defender Tyrrell Moore was given a direct red card for attempting to stop a Marist counter-attack. From there, Marist would see out the game dominating possession with little pressure from Rider, and holding onto the win.

Before the majority of the fans could find their seats, Marist had the opening goal. In just the second minute, Freshman striker Richard Morel found the back of the net, assisted by Senior midfielder Skylar Conway.

His strike partner Junior Stefan Copetti nearly fashioned out a chance for himself when he squeezed through two Rider defenders, but he was closed out at the last second before the ball fell to Rider junior goalkeeper Guillaume Veinante.

Coach Matt Viggiano would line Marist up in a 4-3-1-2 formation with Morel and Copetti in a two-pronged attack. 

“We’ve been at it for a couple games now and we link up really good.” Morel said about their partnership. “He moves off me, I move off him and we always feed off of eachother.”

Coach Viggiano continued, saying that, “when we can get them [Morel and Copetti] isolated on people, we have success.”

25 minutes into the match, Rider had their first shot on goal. Graduate student Taner Bay saw his weak effort easily saved by Senior Goalkeeper Sam Ilin.

But just minutes later, Ilin’s blunder would allow Rider to have their equalizer, as senior Zaki Alibou tapped the ball into an empty net to level the game at 1-1.

At the other end, Richard Morel forced a diving stop from Veinante as the Argentine striker attempted to get his second goal of the night with a curling effort from outside the box.

In the 31st minute,  Freshman defender Andre Cutler-DeJesus nearly had his first career goal incorrectly ruled out for offside when he scored from a tight angle after his initial shot was deflected by a Rider defender, but Tenney Stadium let out a collective sigh of relief after the goal was given to the Red Foxes to make it 2-1.

Just a minute later, Rider were down to 10-men. Off a corner kick for Rider, Marist launched a counterattack that had the away side outnumbered. Moore fouled to stop the breakaway, to his surprise and eventual temper tantrum, the referee brandished a red card. 

Rider would not change their formation, just replace the red-carded defender with another from the bench, and take off a striker to make it a 4-4-1.

At halftime, Marist led the visitors in every statistical category, including players on the pitch. Marist had eight shots with five on goal, while Rider had just four shots with just two on goal. Marist also led in possession 55%-45%.

At halftime, Coach Viggiano would switch Marist’s formation to the 4-2-3-1 that they use often.

“We wanted to protect our center-backs. Our right center-back and our right back both had yellow cards and their #9 likes to float out wide so I wanted to make sure we had protection for them,” said Coach Viggiano. “It was also about preserving the status quo and hitting them on the counter, which I think we’re pretty good at.” 

In the 50th minute, Copetti doubled Marist’s lead with a slick finish off a cross from Junior defender Henrique Cruz.  

Five minutes later, Rider would cut the deficit in half. Off a long throw, the ball would bounce out to junior Lenny Cidolit, who hit the ball on the half volley and made it 3-2. 

Copetti nearly had his second goal of the night but after a long spell of Marist possession and a through ball that sent him 1-on-1 with Rider’s goalkeeper, the linesman’s flag went up and his goal was ruled out for offside.

In the 68th minute, Senior midfielder Jacob Schulman finished off a well-executed counter attack to make it 4-2 to Marist and secure the victory. His goal was assisted by Morel.

The rest of the match was dominated by Marist possession, just trying to see out the game and keep their lead. They ended the 90’ with 72 percent possession and 14 total shots and nine on target. While Rider had nine shots total and six on target. 

Coach Viggiano said, “We felt that our best defense in a lot of ways was to keep the ball. When you’re down a man for that long we just felt like eventually they would crack and I think the scoreboard shows that.”

“They’re a talented team and their #9 is probably the best player in the conference for my money.”

The counter-attack was Viggiano’s key to breaking through Rider’s defense. “We’re athletic and we have the ability, especially with the way they play we knew if we just kept our shape and clogged the passing lanes, and when they gave it up then hit them.”

Marist (6-6-1) will now move onto their next game, where they host Manhattan College (2-6-2) on Saturday, Oct. 16th at 7 P.M, which will be broadcasted live on ESPN 3.

Edited by Mackenzie Meaney

Photo courtesy of Bridget Reilly

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