In the first round of the MAAC playoffs, Marist comfortably beat the Manhattan Jaspers 3-0, thanks to two goals and an assist from graduate midfielder Kyle Galloway.
Normally, Galloway would be playing on the left wing. However, with senior #10 Skylar Conway set to miss the rest of the season, Galloway filled his role in the middle.
Head coach Matt Viggiano confirmed Conway would most likely not play the rest of the season through injury, and talked about Galloway going forward.“They kinda mirror each other in their athleticism and their quickness, as well as their ability to put teams under pressure both defensively and offensively,” Viggiano said.
Galloway added, “In the middle of the park I get to play on both sides of the ball, use my left and my right foot, I also get the chance to set my teammates up as well.”
The opening 15 minutes consisted of just two shots, both from Marist and both off-target, as it seemed that both teams were wary of conceding too early.
Even top goalscorer junior midfielder Stefan Copetti was held until the 20th minute for his first shot, which didn’t trouble the keeper.
Copetti nearly got through on goal but he was edged out by a defender right before he could take a shot from five yards out. At half an hour in, there were still no big chances yet.
Two minutes before the end of the half, junior midfielder Henrique Cruz had his close-range header saved by Manhattan’s goalkeeper Danny DiMarco.
In the opening 45, neither team was able to find their rhythm, Manhattan had yet to attempt a shot, while Marist had taken nine with only three on target, and possession was in Marist’s favor 58-42.
“It was a typical playoff game in the first half. It was kinda tight. The teams were just trying to figure each other out,” said Viggiano. “We felt that towards the end of the first half we were wearing them down. We felt that if we just continued to do what we were doing and pick up the intensity, then we were gonna find success.”
50 minutes into the match, Galloway scored his first of two. He got on the end of a loose ball right in front of Manhattan’s goal and was able to score his close-range effort to make it 1-0 Marist.
Just five minutes later Marist nearly capitalized on Manhattan’s inability to clear the ball, as freshman defender Andre Cutler-DeJesus glanced a header just narrowly past the post.
At this point, Marist was pouring on the pressure with no return by Manhattan. Copetti was sent through on goal by Galloway for a 1-on-1, but he fired his shot wide of the post.
Frustration and fear were coming to the surface point for Manhattan. Redshirt junior defender Demarre Mountoute tripped Manhattan’s Brandon Joseph-Buadi. This was a foul that would have produced a yellow card, yet Joseph-Buadi responded with a shove on Mountoute and was brandished the yellow card instead.
In the 58th minute, Galloway would have his second. Right after the foul on Joseph-Buadi, Marist launched a devastating counterattack led by junior midfielder Joe Mac, who found Galloway on an underlapping run and he was able to make it 2-0 Marist.
20 minutes later, junior midfielder Liam Salmon would put the game to bed. Galloway broke free on the left wing and crossed the ball into an open space in the penalty area where Salmon was the first to it, sneaking his finish in the bottom-right corner.
Marist was able to see out the rest of the match and advance to the next round with a 3-0 win over Manhattan. Marist had a total of 26 shots with 11 on goal, while Manhattan had seven shots with only two on goal.
“They don’t really have a ton of guys that can get in behind so we felt if we just got numbers behind the ball and were organized then it would be tough for them to break us down,” said Viggiano.
Viggiano also revealed what he said to the players at halftime.
“The seven, six, and five seeds all won today. So in some respects, it put our guys on heightened alert. We’ve also had a couple of games this year where we felt we were the better team but didn’t come out on the right end of things,” said Viggiano. “We talked about it at halftime. Don’t get countered. Don’t give away cheap set pieces, and we felt like we would score and thankfully we got three.”
“We’re at the highest of confidence and we think we can play with anyone in the country,” Galloway said. “Coach has been saying that since the beginning of the season.”
Marist will host their semi-final matchup against the #7 seed, Monmouth University, who they beat 1-0 away from home back on October 20th.
Edited by Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kinane